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Genesis - Abacab CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

2.61 | 1292 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
2 stars If the definition of 'sell-out' is an attempt to simplfy music to make it appeal to a broader audience, then GENESIS' 'Abacab' is a sell-out.

What it is not, however, is a pop album. There are a couple of pop tracks on it, but the majority of the album consists of rock music. The progressive sensibility temporarily deserts the band (actually, it's most likely been deliberately laid aside) and the album exists in an uncomfortable half-way house.

The production is so beautiful one could weep, that it should be wasted on some of the material on offer here. Crisp, balanced, with real depth; if I could be granted a Christmas wish, it would be to apply these values to the GENESIS back catalogue.

There are a couple of longer tracks, but nothing extended that measures up to what the band had achieved - and would achieve again. Instead, the value in this album is found in the shorter tracks, and an absolutely sublime vocal performance from PHIL COLLINS. Between 'Duke' and 'Abacab' PHIL had begun an extraordinarily successful solo career, and the fruits of his self-confidence are to be enjoyed here. Sure, most of what he's singing isn't up to much, but he does sing it well. His expression is unparalleled in progressive music, his enunciation is superb and his control outstanding. Contrast this with the diffident voice on 'More Fool Me'.

I admire (but don't personally like) what the band were doing on 'No Reply at All', and enjoy 'Me and Sarah Jane' and 'Keep it Dark.' 'Who Dunnit' makes me scratch my head, but I don't hate it. It's just a short piss- take, that's all. The rest of the record tails off, with the strangely popular 'Man on the Corner' the most memorable of the remainder.

Because of PHIL COLLINS' influences, from soul to BRAND X's jazziness, this album sounds little like previous albums. A change of direction, sure, but not a sell-out. Had they wanted to sell out, they could have made 'Face Value II'. I become irritated with those who argue that in this period GENESIS was a PHIL COLLINS solo project. To me it's simple: the turn of the decade saw COLLINS change his personal direction, and now that he was a third of the band, not a fifth or a fourth, his influence was bound to be felt more strongly.

russellk | 2/5 |


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