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Genesis - Calling All Stations CD (album) cover

CALLING ALL STATIONS

Genesis

 

Symphonic Prog

2.49 | 1014 ratings

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FalconBleck
3 stars #15 Review (Updated 27-4-2020)

I updated this 3 times already, yet the original review had no remedy so i remade it from scratch, this is the real version that should last after extensive hearing and a better understanding of this underated album.

1.- Calling All Stations 7/10 The title track that presents the album as something more dark and sinister, while also presenting itself as something somewhat lazy and not that very good sounding. I think that the overall idea displayed here works, it realizes its vision. With a better developed sound-font and drumming, this could've been better, everything else is well done, Ray's voice shines the most here.

2.- Congo 7/10 I always skip that introduction even though it adds something a little different to the band's history, aside from that, this is a solid single, with some weird odd mixes here and there, like you can hear Ray spitting, that's one of my problems with Nick Davis, he likes to hear people spitting in the microphone for some reason. This single is very catchy, i really like the chords and chorus here, this even has a little solo near the end, i really like how everything flows naturally in this song, aside from skipping the intro, whenever i hear this song i have to hear it in its entirety, the entire thing just works.

3.- Shipwrecked 5/10 So far the album has been great, and now we have a ballad type of song and its not as good as any other ballad song that Genesis has done, and also not that interesting to be in this album, the lyrics don't help either (well, many on this album don't), the small change that this song has, features a recurring riff through the whole album. It's an ok song, nothing to hate here, its just a little boring, that's all.

4.- Alien Afternoon 8/10 OMG that atmospheric introduction! After that a similar riff to the used in the change of the previous song appears, is the weirdest reggae sounding instrumental ever that tries to convey the rutine of a normal human and then the sky turns a deeper blue, this song tells a really nice story and the instrumentation compliments it perfectly, as Genesis does, this is probably the most Genesis-like song in this album, because it is Genesis! I think that aside from that repeating reggae riff, and the over-exagerated ending, this is an aweosome song that any prog fan should give a chance.

5.- Not About Us 6/10 The better ballad in this album, it works as an accoustic piece and in this version i really like the chords on the synths, yet what i don't like is the drumming... again, a recurring problem in 90s music, too static drumming, i know this is a soft song and Genesis has done better in this department. Also, what's up with that small instrumental part near the end, it gives me the impression that something else could've been developed there.

6.- If That's What You Need 4/10 Following a Ballad with another one, this time the Keyboards takes the lead on the mixing, i really like those chords and other than that, the guitar does compliment the chords sometimes near the end and there's another really small "synth solo" that sounds pretty, other than that nothing else interesting is happening in this song and it even repeats so i think that this song its doing over-time. 7.- The Dividing Line 8/10 I have to say this first, this song is insane live and i extremilly recommend that version over this studio version to any prog-fan. I call this song "The Spy", it gives of those vibes and its for the most part an instrumental piece, with the most technical drum playing in the entire album, the live version includes some nice guitar solos in the mix, and that's only the begining. After that there comes an strong vocal performance and some strong chords that accompany it as well, while the drumming is still doing its nice thing... Even though this is something that's kind of epic, the lyrics take care of not doing in that with lines like "Take in your hands a little ray of light, and turn it into a beam that pierces the darkness of the night" for me this is literally the worst line ever written in Genesis history, i don't care much about lyrics but this, this just crossed the line for me, and for the first time i'll be substracting a point because of bad lyrics, if the song was average, i would hate it because of the lyrics, yet this song its aweosome and deserves respect, just ignore the lyrics, please.

And also, this is the only song in the album without a Fade-Out.

8.- Uncertain Weather 6/10 The atmosphere done in this song is amazing, i get the impression of a constant wind that moves the sky and of a deserted place, this song is kind of a surprise because of how simple it is, yet so special. Also, another instance of the worst lyrics ever written by this band "Someone who cast a shadow, maybe just a lazy man, doesn't make much difference now, its true" that's so dumb, but atleast i feel that it doesn't impact the song that much.

9.- Small Talk 5/10 The riff returns and even cheesier than ever, this song is also pretty simple and it doesn't hide it, atleast it doesn't feel that static compared to other songs in this album. I also think that this is the joke song in the album, Genesis always has a song like this in each album and this is probably one of the most passable ones, better than "I Can't Dance" and "Who Dunnit?" in that regard, but also not the better "joke" here, so it ends up being average. In the part with the mixing of all the small voices, there's a laugh that's clearly Tony's, after that the song goes sad and i welcome that change, not much the lyrics in that part though. Also, the lyrics where written in its entirety by Ray Wilson.

10.- There Must Be Some Other Way 6/10 The title that got Ray its place as a Genesis member, i think that the rythm and chords do a good job here, albeit a little repetitive and tiring over time, until it does the slowest Tony Banks solo in Genesis history, it comes out as unimpresive compared to his previous work but its ok for the song. If this song where a little shorter, it probably would've been better, i feel like the build up of intensity could've been faster and that the song could've wasted less of my time, otherwise its fine.

11.- One Man's Fool 7/10 The revenge of the lame guitar riff, yes, Mike managed to use this riff in like 5 songs if you count B-sides, why??? This is going to be a little polemic, but i think that this song has many similitudes with the song Mama, starts with synth-drums, the synth chords are hunting, the voice too and then it gets to the intensity much faster with the gated reverb drum, it gets so much faster there than the previous song and much faster than Mama for that matter, yet that's not all of what the song is doing, after this seamingly repeating part that ocupies half the song, it changes and becomes something else, every part slowly becomes into this new song and that is something that i really like. I recommend this song again, not as much as the others i recommended, and because it has a similar riff to Alien Afternoon, then you should probably listen to this first, because i think that the riff is used better by that song.

Overall this album gets a 63/100, the rest of the review will be about the B-Sides, including the unreleased song Nowhere else to Turn at the end of this complete review.

Non-Album Songs:

1.- Papa He Said (from Congo single) 2/10 The most under-developed song of the CAS sessions, it has a funky sounding riff and a clear estructure that clearly needed more time, doesn't add anything special.

2.- The Banjo Man (from Congo single) 7/10 I think that this one is just as good as anything that it is on the main album, whilst also being interesting that it could stand in its own. I really like the riff, the lyrics and how Tony decorates this song.

3.- Phret (from Shipwrecked single) 7/10 What i found was missing in the CAS album was an instrumental, and here is one, it's kind of a misterious and innocent track with some nice changes here and there but overall most of the song repeats once.

4.- 7/8 (from Shipwrecked single) 8/10 An instrumental and in an odd time signature (also something that i felt was under-used in CAS)? Well, even though its just 7/8 i'm happy, and this for me is probably one of my favorite tracks from the CAS sessions. Sounds like some kind of videogame menu music, and a good one at that.

5.- Run Out of Time (from Not About Us single) 6/10 That brass synth is not pretty, but i really like the melody. The biggest problem in this track is the production, certain sounds should've been changed and the drums are mostly doing nothing special, the only special things here are the melody and the chords. I think that with those changes this would've been perfect for the album and probably an 8/10, also, this song was dropped at the very last minute from this album...

...for SMALL TALK!

6.- Sign Your Life Away (from Not About Us single) 4/10 Nice introduction that slaps, then the rest of the song just exists, the only thing that does something for me here are the keyboards, the rest is too juvenile that it almost makes me cringe, i can see why it was a B-side.

7.- Anything Now (from Not About Us single) 5/10 The melody does the work yet everything else is uninteresting at the begining, and then after that this song has many interesting changes through out, specially the "solo" part, it really did change the song for good, after that it just kind of repeats itself but with weird sounds that are just distracting and not important to the overall music. Fact: This is the only "Naked Piano" sound song of all the CAS sessions.

8.- Nowhere else to Turn (Not B-Side) 5/10 A different take on the song Invisible Touch... yes, i say that for the riff. Probably one of the most radio friendly songs of the CAS sessions, good for a single and for the album, that doesn't mean that i like it, its pretty average and repetitive... normal for a commercial soft rock song.

For all the non-album songs, the entire score is 55/100, 8 points less than the original album, both together make a 59/100 for the entirety of the CAS sessions.

This was a long project (not really, but comparatively, yes), i hope that this review can help people understand this weird time in Genesis history, fans or not, i really think that this album is under-apreciated, but that it also needs to be proceeded with caution.

FalconBleck | 3/5 |

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