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Genesis - Archive #2 1976-1992 CD (album) cover

ARCHIVE #2 1976-1992



Symphonic Prog

3.01 | 166 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars There are some 12 inchers here, but you won't listen to them as a rule!

The second of the "Archive" box sets covers the post-Gabriel period which saw Genesis gradually move away from the fine progressive rock they had created while he was on board. Like it or not though, it also covers the most commercially successful period for the band, and thus this collection will therefore probably have a far wider appeal than volume one. The only album recorded after the period covered by this set was the 1997 Album "Calling all stations", and of course by that time Collins too had left.

It is unfortunate that the compilers chose not to present the tracks here chronologically, as it would have been significant to hear the way their sound mutated from "A trick of the tail" to "Abacab" and "Invisible touch" before the more reassuring finale with "We can't dance". What we end up with is an eclectic mix of previously unreleased recordings, non-album tracks, early studio versions, remixes, and live versions.

The rejects include those studio tracks included on the fourth side of some releases of "Three sides live", with the exception of "Me and Virgil", which was deemed by the band members even now to be unworthy of inclusion. Also included is the excellent "Inside and out" from the "Spot the pigeons" EP, but interestingly not "Match of the day" from that EP, which the band also considered sub-standard, even for this collection! "Inside and out" was recorded early in the life of the Gabriel-less Genesis, and would have fitted in well on either "Trick of the tail" or "Wind and wuthering". The first two tracks on this collection are from the "We can't dance" sessions. "On the shoreline" is a slightly faster "Mama", while "Hearts on fire" is throw away funky pop. We then jump about between 1980 and 1986. While "Evidence of autumn" is a "Duke" outtake, it would have been very much at home on "And then there were three". It is one of the few highlights of disc 1. Why on earth the reasonable instrumental "Submarine" was left off the dire "Abacab" album is a real mystery. At worst, it would have made for a reassuring instrumental break during one of the mediocre songs on that album.

The second disc consists entirely of live performances recorded between 1976 and 1992, the tracks having all originally appeared in studio format on the albums from that period. It is perhaps easy to forget that Genesis did not turn their backs on their prog roots the minute Gabriel left (in fact, it could be said that he was the first to turn). "A trick of the tail" and "Wind and Wuthering" have many fine prog tracks, and even after that, "And then there were three" and "Duke" had their moments. The live versions of "Ripples", "Duke's travels", "Burning rope", and "Entangled" which are included here, are fine reminders of that golden age. "Dreaming while you sleep" from "We can't dance" also shows how they came full circle (or at least 270 degrees!) on their final Collins era album. Steve Hackett is only present on one of the live tracks, "Ripples" (which also features Bill Bruford on drums), and only a couple of the studio tracks are from the time when he was still in the band.

There are several 12" single versions of more familiar tracks, such as "I can't dance", "Invisible touch" and "Tonight ,tonight, tonight". These add nothing to the pop driven originals, only serving to remind us of the depths this once great band sank to. It could be argued that the fact that these tracks lend themselves so readily to the 12" remix treatment is evidence enough of how far they strayed.

Apart from three of these 12" versions, disc 3 has a further three entirely disposable live tracks from 1980-81 and some older, much more interesting outtakes. "Pigeons" was the other track on the aforementioned "Match of the day" EP. "Open door" is a Mike Rutherford song very much in the vein of "Your own special way", while "The day the light went out" is a rather striking Banks composition from the "ATTW3" sessions. The excitement of finding an outtake from the "Trick of the tail" sessions rapidly evaporates as it becomes clear why "It's yourself" was omitted from the album. It is not entirely without value though, as part of the latter half went on to become the intro to "Los Endos".

The final track is a "Work in progress" version of "Mama". The lyrics had yet to be written, so Collins is improvising sounds where the vocals will eventually go. The track is interesting in that it gives an insight into how Genesis went about developing their music, but at nearly 11 minutes, it becomes tedious.

The two Genesis Archives sets are split neatly between the Gabriel and Collins led eras, thus this second volume takes us from the first post Gabriel album "A trick of the tail", up to Collin's swansong "We can't dance". Neither this, not volume one should be mistaken for anthologies as neither contains any studio material which has previously appeared on the band's official albums. They are therefore intended for fans/collectors, and not for those who are new to the music of this once seminal band.

Easy Livin | 3/5 |


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