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Genesis - Invisible Touch CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

2.47 | 1247 ratings

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Prog Leviathan
Prog Reviewer
4 stars Invisible Touch must be one of the most hated albums in Genesis' library... maybe one of the most hated albums in the entirety of Prog Archives. I've listened to this album many times, and I don't understand where that hate comes from. It's a crisp, smart, hook-filled pop-rock release that is as classy as it is memorable. It's stuck with me more than almost any other Genesis album.

As a "prog" album it gets below-average marks: it's squeaky clean, occasionally schmaltzy, and definitely playing for the masses. This has got to be one of the reasons for the hatred that Invisible Touch gets. As a pop album, it's first rate, and has a lot of artistry going on behind the scenes, but it doesn't have layers of lyrical depth or 10-minute instrumental passages, so it gets blasted by prog heads by default.

I don't have any sort of nostolgic tie to Genesis, but I know that a lot of readers here on the archives do. I can imagine what seeing your favorite fringe art-rock group go mainstream would be like... it would kind of suck. Fans like us hate the thing we love when it becomes the "it" thing. This is a natural response, but one that doesn't allow a person to be objective.This is reason enough to be leery of the album's poor rating.

Reason number two is that many reviewers are saying things like, "avoid if you like prog," or "not for prog fans," or similar things. This is a juvenile argument, and one that I think many musicians would roll their eyes at. We like our prog because of certain traits, but it's silly to trash music by default because it doesn't have each of those traits. I realize that defining music as "good" or "bad" is incredibly subjective, but recognizing that this is a natural response will help you be honest and come to a more reasonable and honest opinion of a release.

So without digressing further, here's what I hear happening on Invisible Touch.

The title track is 100% killer. It hooks you in right away with creative drumming, memorable synth hits, and great bass riffing. It's incredibly catchy, and Phil Collins hits a home run with his vocals. I'm not going to say that it's especially creative, but it's entirely effective.

"Tonight, Tonight, Tonight" is a keyboard effects driven tapestry, with dense layers by Banks. In fact, he has an almost 2-minute stretch of atmospheric improvization that builds to great crescendo with a guitar solo finale. Again, very effective.

The next song is probably one of the band's best single tracks. "Land of Confusion" simply rocks. It's upbeat, catchy, passionately executed and practically pulls you in to the performance. Great, great stuff, and one of my favorite Genesis songs.

The schmaltz kicks in with "In Too Deep," which is probably where most of the prog purists will roll their eyes in disgust and press 'Stop.' Well I can't really blame them, because this is pure exploitative radio-play balladry. But, again, a good love song (break up song, really), and it nails the delivery. I for one like indulging in this sort of schmaltz every once and I while; it's like going to a dive bar. It makes listening to "Supper's Ready" that much more enjoyable.

I'm amazed that "Domino" isn't talked about more. First off, this track is better than almost anything the great prog bands produced in '80's (Discipline being the exception). It's richly nuanced and ambitiously written while remaining its energy and appeal. It contains three passages, each with a distinct identity and feel, transitioning with dynamic performances and style. Its an old style prog song performed with the slick technology of the (then) new decade. I think it qualifies as one of the best prog songs of the '80's.

"Throwing it All Away" dips back into the FM balladry, but listen closer and you'll hear the impeccable energy the band produces by blending a heavy back-beat, synth textures, and guitar effects.

Finally, we get an instrumental closer with moody and energetic keyboards and a guitar solo overdub. Not too shabby, even if it does feel like the sound track from Miami Vice.

So in the end I'm going to be generous and give Invisible Touch four solid stars. No it's not "prog" in the pure sense, but it is an exceptionally polished and elegant pop-rock album that is so artistic and well done that, without the Genesis legacy attached to it, would probably rate much higher on this website.

Give it a try if you're interested in hearing some nuanced pop-rock, and especially if you're a Genesis fan ready to let go of your decade's old hate.

Songwriting: 3 - Instrumental Performances: 4 - Lyrics/Vocals: 3 - Style/Emotion/Replay: 4

Prog Leviathan | 4/5 |


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