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Genesis - Abacab CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

2.61 | 1292 ratings

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1 stars Insufferable 80s kitsch on "Abacab"''. so Whodunnit?

Genesis kills off their prog roots officially and without fanfare with this pungent release. I'd like to say that there is at least one decent track that saves this from the expensive CD coaster category. I'd like to, but I cant. This is simply the worst album of Genesis with nothing much to recommend. It is as good as ELP's abysmal 'Love Beach', also a sell out in its own right. Phil Collins croons with his trademark ballad and occasionally sounds okay such as on melody driven Abacab, the Banks-penned Me and Sarah Jane (surely the best track if any) or No Reply at All.

Occasionally, there is a spark of genius such as on the intro to the weird Another Record, with swathes of synths and piano, but is doesn't last. Soon the whispered Collins balladeering returns, and the crystalline antiseptic cheesy synths. The melody on the title track is okay for example but is ruined by those awful machinations of cymbal heavy drums and silly harmonies. The album stinks for many reasons, not the least being its girly dancey beats that perhaps blasted inside many teenybopper's bedrooms and you can imagine them singing along and grooving in their pleated skirts and boofed out permed hair. This is genuine throwaway pop, designed to get girls dancing on their beds while dreaming of a date with Collins, as they plastered on strawberry scented lip gloss. Perhaps it typifies the 80s throwaway culture, like a disassembled Rubik's Cube, and that new synth soaked sound that dripped like honey out of every amplifier in every bedroom. The stylus crackled on the record player and the synths competed with every crackle absolutely dominating over all guitars, and bass is given a minor role; Rutherford virtually has disappeared on 'Abacab'.

Check out that horned synth solo in Abacab; a real waste of talent with a 4/4 beat that never deviates. Keep It Dark has a cool riff but is destroyed with the overall structure that is repeated. It is incredible coming from a band that used time sig changes so readily in the past; none of that seems to matter here. Reggae rhythms dominates, bright and friendly retro synth, and some awful Earth Wind and Fire rip off sounds. Disco meets 80s kitsch throughout and it is not a pretty sight. Even the album cover looks like Picasso vomited on it.

Man on the Corner is a ballad sounding like a Collins solo album with those derivative effects on the vocals, melodic synth, awful handclaps and Latin inspired rhythms. It sounds like something you could create on a cheap synth rather than a virtuoso band.

Me and Sarah Jane is one that grabs you, written by Banks featuring a time sig change! Interestingly, despite the more proggy touches, it is still as sugary as the rest thanks to some romantically focused lyrics; no signs of any Hogweeds or Slippermen here!

Dodo / Lurker is once again okay but ruined with little variation and too much emphasis on chiming synths. It begins really well but soon inundates with that annoying egomaniac humour of Collins; 'Meanwhile lurking by a stone in the mud, Two eyes looked to see what I was and Then something spoke and this is what It said to me........' This is followed by silly retro synth solos, that are just there to fill in space rather than impress.

The track Whodunit can only be described as that closing line in Edgar Allan Poe's 'The Facts in the Case of M Valdemar'; 'a nearly liquid mass of loathsome'of detestable putrescence'. The lyrics are 'Was it you or was it me? Or was it he or she? Was it A or was it B? Or was it X or Z?' It repeats ad nauseum 'I didn't, I, I didn't do it.... Oh but we know, we know, we know, we know, we know, we know, we know, we know, we know, we know, we know, we know, we know, we know, we know, we know, we know, we know, we know, we know, we know, we know, we know, we know, we know, we know, we know, we know, we know, we know, we know, we know, we know.' Repeat another 500 times. How could Genesis and management think people would actually like this?

I could go on, but I am running out of words to describe 'appalling'. There is not a shred of symphonic prog on this and if it contains any style of prog it surely must be hidden under layers of dull 4/4 time sigs, monstrous thick 80s synths and syrupy radio friendliness. 1 star is too generous for this saccharine trash. Perhaps the lyrics of Like it Or Not sum up my feelings on this album; 'Ooh, like it or not, You have done it this time, And like it or not, I've had enough.'

AtomicCrimsonRush | 1/5 |


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