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GENESIS

Genesis

 

Symphonic Prog

2.71 | 889 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Mr. Gone
2 stars I gave "Abacab" four stars because I truthfully feel that the contempt leveled at it is somewhat unfounded. I don't hate the "shapes" album either, but it's just not as good. "Abacab" truthfully probably deserved three stars, so you can see where I'm going with this.

The major problem for me on this disc is that the "masterpiece" at the center of it, "Home by the Sea/Second Home by the Sea", does *nothing* for me. Having to hear it as part of every tour going forward was not exactly a pleasant experience for me either. The first part is an unremarkable pop/rock tune, the second a wash of synthesizer noodlings over a repetitive beat. And the bass - the bass is played right on top of the electronic drums, adding no counterpoint or variety at all to the proceedings. The lack of interest Mike Rutherford seemed to have in the bass on the post-"Abacab" material left me almost as cold as the overuse of drum machines. And this song as a whole is just nothing that interesting - even if it's trying to be progressive, it's not memorable or enjoyable.

"Illegal Alien" has been rightfully excoriated by many on here. I'll only say this - the prevailing social climate in the '80's made many of us somewhat insensitive. I'm sure the band as a whole wishes that one had stayed safely in a can in a vault (dunno why a live version appeared on "Archive Vol. 2" while "Say It's Alright Joe" or "Down and Out" stayed omitted).

As for the rest of the album - not necessarily bad. "Mama" has a menacing tone, but the end suffers from the same bass problems as "Second Home by the Sea" (though for a much shorter period). "That's All" is a catchy pop song and is quite honestly the first Genesis track I remember hearing (being old enough at that point to be able to identify musicians and their songs). "Taking It All too Hard" is a better troubled ballad than "Throwing It All Away" or "Never a Time", "Just a Job to Do" churns along as a decent rock song (good bass playing, too), and "Silver Rainbow", though marred (again) by some pedestrian bass playing, has a nice savage tone. The real standout for me is the closer, "It's Gonna Get Better", with a thoroughly catchy bass line (good effort at redemption, Rutherford!) and some fine drumming from Phil Collins.

So, that all sounds pretty good. Why two stars? Because while the remainder of the album, outside those three tracks I mention as not caring for, is pleasant enough on a song-by-song basis, it just doesn't hold up as a whole. There's little of the new wave distinctiveness "Abacab" frequently showed - just a fairly good collection of pop/rock songs which sound pretty good by themselves but end up wearing thin when strung together. Add in the horror of "Illegal Alien" and the failed attempt of the "Home by the Sea" suite, and the album seems fragmentary and somewhat unsubstantial. I can't give 2.5 stars (probably the truest reflection of my feelings), and I can't rate it as highly as "Abacab's" "true" rating for me (which is really closer to three stars), so it gets two stars.

Mr. Gone | 2/5 |

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