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Genesis - Abacab CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

2.61 | 1292 ratings

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Cygnus X-2
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars After Duke Genesis were becoming increasingly popular in the pop rock circles and this album solidified their stance in that genre of music. Abacab is often regarded along with Invisible Touch and the self-titled album as the worst Genesis album by the narrow-minded progressive rock fans, but that's solely because they weren't trying to relive the past and were moving forward rather than backward. Anyway, the first thing that should be said about this album is there is nothing terribly progressive about the album, sure they get close with the opener and Dodo/Lurker, but nothing really has that epic feel that even songs on Duke had. And when it comes right down to it, the album has no songs (except maybe one or two) that make you get a tear in your eye just for the sheer brilliance of it, it feels more like a by the numbers album that had little to no inspiration behind it despite a few very good pieces.

From the get go you can hear a more overtly commercial approach, with soft synthesizers and a droning main rhythm. The synthesizers do sound a bit dated and even a bit cheap at times but on the whole the 7 minute open Abacab opens off the album pretty well, as it is one of the better pieces on it. No Reply at All is one of the only pieces that I could have done without as it's so dire and very un-Genesis. With uninspired horn sections and rather simplistic arrangements this definitely is my least favorite piece on the album and it doesn't really offer anything interesting to the table. Me and Sarah Jane has some nice keyboard lines intertwined with a solid bass performance from Rutherford and some precision drumming from Collins, but it does go on a bit longer than it should have (just a tad over 6 minutes). Keep it Dark is another piece that I liked, with it's nice gutiar motif and some interesting synthesizer fills. Dodo/Lurker in a way can be considered along with the title track the most progressive song on the album, although in the end it isn't really that progressive. The forbidding synthesizer riffs and the precision instrumentation from all fronts of the sound is quite nice and there's even a Star Wars reference in there. One of the better songs in my opinion along with Keep it Dark and Abacab.

Who Dunnit?, well what can be said about this song? Well, I don't think it's nearly as bad as everyone says, but it isn't really that strong a track. The terribly simplistic lyrics and vocals mold fine with the simplistic drumming and musicianship but it's got a cheesy and tacky feel to go along with it. Man on the Corner, though, is a vast improvement over the previous song. Some don't like the song because of Banks' synthesizer sound but I love the heartfelt and passionate vocals from Collins and the morose feel of the song. It's actually one of my favorite Genesis songs from the 80s it's that strong a piece in my eyes. Like It or Not has a dated feel and is probably the most AORish song on the album. It isn't terribly awful, but nothing particularly special. The album ends the piece Another Record, and from the opening seconds you think there's going to be something special because of the great guitar line and some subtle what I think to be mellotron. After about a minute, though, the song loses its mysterious flare and becomes a more upbeat piece that has nothing to do with the introduction. It ends the album well but like most of the other pieces it's nothing that I would call spectacular.

In the end, Abacab would ultimately be my least favorite Genesis album thus far (I haven't really formulated an opinion on any of their studio albums that came out after this). Fans of old Genesis will want to steer clear of this album entirely as there is absolutely no connection with that sound that the group solidified around 10 years earlier. If you're a fan of the early albums with Collins as a vocalist you may like this album, but I won't make any guarantees. It's not a terribly bad album, it's just not terribly good, though. 2.5/5.

Cygnus X-2 | 2/5 |


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