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Genesis - Seconds Out CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

4.33 | 940 ratings

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3 stars I am not anti-Collins. I like the band's material without Gabriel just as much as I enjoy the Gabriel era. But this, my friends, is a disaster. Honestly! The musicianship, while not outstanding, is absolutely fine. But the things that drag this album down from 5 stars to 2 stars is Collins' really lame vocal performance, and the recording/mixing side of things. Why the hell are the drums right at the front of the mix? Guitar is seldom audible, and Phil's vocals sound distant and indistinct. Let's run through this track by track.

Squonk: 5/5. There is actually nothing wrong with this track, it is mixed quite well and is possibly superior to the studio recording. A very very good start...

The Carpet Crawl(ers?): 2/5. Terrible performance of an already weak song. Keyboard parts just sound like a backing track, and Phil does a sickly R'n'B type voice. Cannot hold ones' interest at all, and it is way too long. Steve Hackett must have got bored during the performance because he just messes around on his guitar at intermittent intervals.

Robbery, Assault & Battery: 2/5. Grim. Like the previous track it is uninteresting and unadventurous. You can even hear the audience clapping along, probably in an attempt to drown it out. I wouldn't blame them. I don't like this song anyway so perhaps I'm biased. But once again the drums are at the front of the mix and Phil's voice is drowned out.

Afterglow: Another example of an inferior rendition. 2/5. Gone is the powerful, rich texture of this magnificent mini-epic, and instead we have a boring, quiet track which fails to get off the ground. Phil's vocals again are underpowered.

Firth Of Fifth: 1/5. The worst botch-job on the album. Absolutely terrible. Where is the breathtakingly beautiful piano intro? Gone. Goes straight into another underpowered, badly mixed track which cannot hold one's interest. Steve Hackett's guitar solo is far too quiet, the bass and drums once again taking the spotlight. Shameful edition, especially as the celestial flute solo is replaced with something like Moog Patch #34357: Steel Drum/Marimba w/ reverb. Sounds abominable, quite frankly.

I Know What I Like: 3/5. Well I think everybody agrees; this song was written for Phil. He performs this one with the style he knows and we love/hate. A good rendition, finally picking up the pace and Phil finally singing something he wants to and is good at. His 'tambourine antics' cannot be appreciated by just listening, it has to be seen; creating a lull in the song from about 3:10 til 4:00. Then when Tony Banks comes in with the synth it's exciting again. I would give this song a 4 out of 5, but it lasts way too long. Something Phil seems to do a lot when performing the big poppy songs (check out Turn It On Again on Genesis: The Way We Walk; it lasts about 12 minutes). Skip the track at about 5:00.

The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway: 2/5. Did Tony buy a different electric piano? Because the intro for this sounds nothing like the intro from the studio version. Another badly mixed track, with uninspired vocals (where is the growling 'Rael Imperial Aerosol Kid'?) which shows that Phil shouldn't be singing such a theatrical Gabriel song. The song is also played way too fast and Mike Rutherford's fuzzy bass fails to shine.

The Musical Box (Closing Section): 4/5. Actually not a bad version of this part of the song. Phil manages it quite well and there is actually some atmosphere during the 'brush back your hair' part. It's just a shame Steve's guitar wasn't better mixed. It wasn't really very well mixed on Nursery Cryme either, but here it's worse. Billy Bruford just drums right over the top of it. The apex of it closes the disc in quite a lovely fashion though. End of Disc 1.

Supper's Ready: 3/5. Well, Phil tries. The rest of the band manage fine, but Phil just doesn't excel himself enough and overall doesn't quite do this epic the justice it got in 1972. Some interesting moments though; The Willow Farm section sounds good. I get the impression that Phil only really wanted to do this track because the audience wanted to hear it. The rest of them handle it with skill and passion though. Espeicially Tony! His organ parts sound like they were just taken right off the studio version! Marvellous organ work from him this time round.

The Cinema Show: 4/5. A surprisingly sophisticated and refined performance of one of my favourite Genesis tracks. Phil's vocals aren't made for this song really as he can't do the gentle thing without sounding like an R'n'B singer. But this isn't really a problem as the vocals are only in about 20% of the song. Steve Hackett gets a brief chance to shine, and comes through quite well. The instrumental section is played passionately and flawlessly, doing the studio version sufficient justice. A highlight.

Dance On A Volcano: 5/5. Finally, an all-round decent track, sounding just as good as the studio version. Phil and Bill's drum duet is especially satisfying, and launches flawlessly into...

Los Endos: 5/5. Another wonderful performance by the boys. With Phil finally back at the drums where he belongs, the album sounds complete! And it is only here that it all falls into place: Phil can't sing old material live! Maybe for some of it, yes, but he's best off behind the drums.

I know I said I was giving it 2 stars, but I'm giving it 3 because the 2nd disc is so solid. Enjoy the second disc!

Publius | 3/5 |


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