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CALLING ALL STATIONS

Genesis

 

Symphonic Prog

2.54 | 683 ratings

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Mr. Gone
2 stars This album is somewhat hard for me to fully quantify. When I first purchased it, I considered it to be a fair improvement over the bands previous two studio releases. However, it has not aged particularly well for me. It's hard to put a finger on exactly why this is the case - it just is.

To be sure, there are some excellent songs on here. "Congo" is a fun take on escaping a relationship where one is no longer wanted; "Alien Afternoon" shuffles through its beginning before a rather ethereal second section with dual guitars and fuzzy synths; "Uncertain Weather" harkens back to "Heathaze" with its smoky, lush vibe; "There Must Be Some Other Way" has a nice "tension and relief" formula (something this album has much more of than most of the material on the previous two albums), a nice keyboard solo and some very good drumming; and "One Man's Fool" tackles the notion of terrorism with a melody that is not epic but still highly listenable, especially in its conclusion.

However, there's also a lot of filler. I never cared much for the title track, for whatever reason - somewhat sad for me, given the fact that it's the only one that truly has a guitar solo; "Shipwrecked", "Not About Us" and "If That's What You Need" are pleasant but largely forgettable ballads"; "Small Talk" is not as unlistenable as some might argue (it's actually not bad to my ears) but it's not terribly substantial; and while many laud "The Dividing Line" as something truly remarkable, I've never cared for that track. Given that it's one of the longer ones on the album, that's rather unfortunate.

I will also readily admit that I'm partial to the "early-Collins" period ("Trick of the Tail" thru "Three Sides Live"), and while Ray Wilson is not a terrible vocalist he certainly seems to lack some of the dynamicism and range that the band's first two vocalists possessed. I've mentioned "There Must Be Some Other Way" as a track I like - but I can't help but wonder how it would've sounded with Phil Collins singing lead. With as many divorces as the man has been through, one can't help but think there would have been an extra edge, an extra mournfulness, that he could have expressed in the vocals that Wilson simply doesn't seem to be able to. He sounds pretty much the same on every song - and with prog, that just doesn't work very well.

As something of a side note - many of the "fade outs" on this album seem rather abrupt and rushed. Not a major nit by any stretch, but they're still a bit disconcerting even after numerous listens.

In sum total - do I prefer it to "Invisible Touch" and "We Can't Dance"? Absolutely (especially the former). Do I listen to it more than I do those other two (which is to say, "not much at all")? Not really. Two stars.

Mr. Gone | 2/5 |

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