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Genesis - Abacab CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

2.61 | 1292 ratings

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2 stars For reasons lost in the hazy passage of time and money, Genesis finally simplified their art into straightforward, banal pop rock on 'Abacab', taking the weaker moments from 'Duke' and creating almost an entire album of the same poor vision. Evolution itself is not the issue - the band, of course, had always advanced their sound with each successive release, but with this record the sense of the worldly, the adventurous and the contemplative - what made them special - was lost, never to truly return. Only Banks is (somehow) still able to sound on form, but even his synth mastery and new strident playing could not lift the material here. The sound of what Genesis used to stand for can be heard fleetingly in the track 'Me And Sarah-Jane', with its ambient opening and range of firm melodies, the latter half of 'Abacab' and at certain points in 'Dodo'. Unfortunately, while instrumentally interesting, at times quite affecting and hypnotic, the lyrics of those latter two pieces sound like mere wordplay of the most insignificant kind, and in the end seem to be at odds with the music and express nothing.

At this point the band were writing mostly from group improvisations, born I fear from little more than an aim of 'getting a new record out', and so they ended up with many jams which probably felt good but are unfortunately dull, and no indication of what these three world-class talents were capable of. In tandem, the free-style of the previously mentioned lyrics does not manage to attain the level of poetry in the way that Yes' or Crimson's Adrian Belew's would, resulting instead in random lines that do not stand up to even a passing scan. The other pieces on the album have more palatable words but their impact barely registers, and would pass easily as either Phil Collins radio formula-pop ('No Reply at All', 'Man On The Corner') or ridiculous experiments ('Who Dunnit?' - a contender for the worst track the band ever produced). I hail Genesis as one of the most important music acts of all time, but as much as 'Abacab' may still be an above-average album in some respects, I could never honestly recommend it as an album worth the time and effort of those looking for something significant. And it was only going to get worse...

ThulŽatan | 2/5 |


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