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Genesis - Abacab CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

2.61 | 1292 ratings

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3 stars "Abacab" is the 11th full-length studio album by UK pop/(progressive) rock act Genesis. The album was released through Charisma Records in September 1981. Genesis spend most of 1980 touring in support of "Duke (1980)", and after a short break in activities they purchased the Fisher Lane Farm in Chiddingfold, Surrey in November 1980, and began remodelling the farm into a recording studio. The advantages of owning their own studio in the UK (the three previous albums had been recorded outside the UK) where they had time to work, sparked the creativity of the band, who wrote enough material for a double album (most tracks on the album were written by all three members of the band). At this point in their career Genesis were very conscious of what they wanted though, and they discarded all material they felt sounded too much like their past material. Some of the tracks which were left off "Abacab" appeared as B-sides to the album singles, and some of the tracks would appear on the studio side of the "Three Sides Live" live/studio album from 1982.

While there had been songs here and there on previous releases by Genesis, which had a more accessible pop/rock sound, it was "Duke (1980)", that the band more fully committed to that direction. On "Abacab" they take a step further in a more commercially oriented pop/rock direction, and youīll have to dig a bit to hear that they were once a groundbreaking progressive rock act. Theyīve consciously stripped the structures of the tracks down to "regular" vers/chorus formats with strong hook laden choruses, and tracks like "No Reply at All", "Man on the Corner", and parts of the title track are very accessible material. When that is said tracks like "Keep It Dark" and "Dodo/Lurker" features progressive sensibilities, that may not sound anything like the 70s version of Genesis (or at least very little), but still signal that they were more than "just" another 80s commercial pop/rock act.

Tony Banks use of contemporary keyboards/synths do pull in that direction, as well as the at times rather simple rhythms played by Phil Collins, but there is still a sophistication to the arrangements that is at times semi-progressive. If not in compositional structure then in the songwriting ideas and in the subtility of the arrangements. "Abacab" is an album which has a bit of it all. Great humour, sweet melancholy, and a couple of epic moments (the chorus to "Keep It Dark" is for example absolutely stunning). The album features a sound production which varies between organic and more cold and clinical (electronic effects have a great impact on the latter). Sometimes it works well and sometimes it sounds a bit "empty".

So upon conclusion "Abacab" is not Genesis strongest release and itīs not their most groundbreaking release either, but it features a couple of really strong tracks and a nice alternative way of composing accessible pop/rock, which at itīs core is quite clever. Itīs a relatively varied release too, so itīs for the listener who can appreciate stylistic diversity over consistency. A 3.5 star (70%) rating is deserved.

UMUR | 3/5 |


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