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Genesis - Abacab CD (album) cover

ABACAB

Genesis

 

Symphonic Prog

2.61 | 1292 ratings

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patrickq
Prog Reviewer
3 stars There's a bit of a debate as to when Genesis "sold out" or "went pop." A few fans would say it happened right after The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway, when Peter Gabriel left; many put it after Wind & Wuthering, with Steve Hackett's departure. But there are more than a few who feel the band was still progressive for another album or two - - or three. 

But I suspect that most fans of 1970s Genesis would say the that the band's progressive heyday was definitely over by the time Abacab was released. As someone who's liked Genesis music for decades, but who isn't a Genesis expert, I think the band still had something to offer fans of progressive rock in 1981.

The best songs here are opening numbers of each side of the vinyl: "Abacab" and "Dodo / Lurker." They're also the longest and most "progressive" tracks. In my opinion, they represent something close to an ideal marriage of prog-rock and early-1980s new-wave -  - and on these songs Genesis seems to meld the two styles effortlessly. 

The effort seems more laborious on three others songs on Abacab, "Keep it Dark," "Who Dunnit?," and "Me and Sarah Jane." Each is a reasonably good song to which some progressiveness has been added. In particular, I sense a great three-minute pop song lurking in "Me and Sarah Jane." On the other hand, "No Reply at All," "Like it or Not," and "Another Record" - - the poppiest songs here - - are played without much pretense, and while "Another Record" is little more than filler, the other two, especially "No Reply," benefit from being played straight. 

The hardest song to classify along these lines in "Man on the Corner." It is a new-wavish pop song, but it's art-pop, and like "Abacab" and "Dodo / Lurker," no undue effort seems to have been made to force "Man in the Corner" to sound progressive.

I'm erring on the side of conservatism in assigning Abacab three stars; it's probably the band's best three-star album, but doesn't quite rise to the level of, say, A Trick of the Tail. Nonetheless, it's a solid album.

patrickq | 3/5 |

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