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Genesis - Calling All Stations CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

2.49 | 1014 ratings

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3 stars This release of Genesis with new drummers Nir Zidkyahu and Nick D'Virgilio and singer Ray Wilson is a strange combination of a return to their old, or relatively older sound, and a slight watering down of their current ballad style. About half of the music isn't really all that intersting, and half of the lyrics aren't really all that inspired, but usually not at the same time. The ballads are for the most part nothing new, but Ray Wilson has a great, expressive voice that is able to carry them inspite of the lyrics or mundaneness, and that is one of the things that saves the album. There is a dark, depressing vibe pretty much all the way through, and even though I can be in the mood for an album like that every once in a while, the vocals help raise that to a more than just every once in a while occurance. A good example of this album's varied-quality nature is the ballad "If That's What You Need", a song of fairly unoriginal, cliched lyrics, not too bad music, and even very beatiful keyboards with some nice powerful guitar fills, and absolutely gorgeous vocals that pull me into the song making me wish it to last at least twice as long. There are many other instances of this equation, or its sum, throughout, but there are also a few real standouts that I always look forward to. The title track is debatably the best, an extremely sorrowful lament over lost love that's pulled off so well - Mike Rutherford sets the tone immediately with a heavier than usual for him riff that gives way to suspenseful keyboard chords reminiscent of the Duke through Genesis ('83) period and just as the chords reach an almost Watcher of the Skies level of intensity, Ray starts singing a melody that is so deeply sad and emotional, I get goose bumps just thinking about it. After a few verses, Tony starts playing very simple but just right percussive keyboard sounds, then Mike tears in with a guitar solo that's just as emotional and expressive as the vocal line, and is probably in my top 3 of favorite solos of his. Seriously, I can feel all of the mourning and loss that are in the lyrics in this solo alone. After the solo, the vocals come back in and just build and build to a point of almost unbelieveable expression of hurt and longing that is both heartwrenching and healing. If you want an example of how music can tap into the most locked away parts of your soul, this song is a great one. Another high point is the last track, "One Man's Fool", a very progressive piece with some of their more profound lyrics with a perspective that I think many could learn a lot from, and a very spirited coda, ending the album on a triumphant note. "The Dividing Line" also has some very intelligent, philosophical lyrics and some of the better music of the album, boasting a great keyboard hook and showcasing Nir Zidkyahu's playing skill and his effective use of using a different series for each cymbal. "Uncertain Weather" isn't too bad, with some intereting lyrics about musing on a picture of a POW/MIA, but elsewhere the album falls flat, with "Alien Afternoon" being the low point, a lyrical rewrite of "Mad Man Moon" with music that's not even half as interesting, not even being saved by the vocals. I do, however, like the keyboards at the end of the song. There were two singles released from this album, and "Congo" is okay, but I like the other single, "Small Talk" better, mainly because of the great lyrics. If the high points occurred more often, Calling All Stations would be a very good to great album, but as is, it's not the best place to start, but still recommended.
7headedchicken | 3/5 |


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