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Genesis - Abacab CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

2.61 | 1292 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars Clearly, looking at previous reviews, this is the one LP where prog fans shout out SELL OUT and desert the band in the same fashion most people would treat a leper colony. But is it really that bad? No, although I have no hesitation in awarding it only three stars because of two tracks and two utter mistakes. No Reply At All is the first one - Phil should have left the horns on his solo efforts, and the other two should have stayed off the booze when he persuaded them to have them on - it's not that it's a bad song in itself, it just sounds so out of place on an English symphonic prog bands album as to be beyond quirky - and, of course, it was never meant to be quirky. The other is, of course, the utter mess that is WhoDunnit, a track so God awfully bad that it would shame a Take That album, let alone Genesis - what they were thinking of is beyond me, and it's a mess that probably deserves the removal of two stars in itself. However, I am trying to present a different slant and a charitable one to the Collins era, so I'll only take one star away.

Because, the rest of this LP is actually very good. Abacab is a continuation of the great pop/prog mixture that they had perfected. Ruthford's grinding guitars match Banks' dark keyboards perfectly, and Collins continues to demonstrate what a great drummer he is. The full length version is deservedly still a live favourite, and the instrumental section fairly rocks along.

Me and Sarah Jane is one of my favourite Genesis songs of all time. The subject matter, of the aftermath of a rape, is sensitively and delicately told, whilst the playing is superb - of course, this is a Banks song, and he takes the keyboard feel from Duke to this very well.

Keep it Dark is ordinary, but Dodo/Lurker is sheer symphonic prog genius. This is the key to these later albums - although there is a lot of commercial stuff, there are also a lot of excellent elements and progressive stuff that shines out. Banks creates a massive wall of sound, and the other two play along as if their lives depended upon it, especially Collins who proves how versatile a drum machine actually can be.

Man on the Corner, Like it or Not, and Another Record continue the vein seen in Duke - they are not progressive songs as such, but they are commercial songs with a very progressive flavour, and are all very enjoyable. The thing, of course, that separates them from the average Collins solo record (and, yes, aside from Face Value, they were all exceptionally average) is Banks & Rutherford, who retain that idealistic sense of musicianship and writing to turn an ordinary proposition into something quite a lot more.

Three stars for this. Not the finest Genesis LP by any stretch of the mark, but still enough to keep fans and newcomers to their music interested enough to stay on the journey.

lazland | 3/5 |


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