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CALLING ALL STATIONS

Genesis

Symphonic Prog


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2 stars Listen to it a few times through before making a decision. About 60% is poor but the remaining 40% is enjoyable, The Dividing Line is good and the title track has a great emotional vocal and melody. Not recognisable as Genesis, should have gone under a different name. If you're curious, buy it but don't pay much for it, this way it would have value.
Report this review (#10697)
Posted Tuesday, December 30, 2003 | Review Permalink
3 stars Pay no attention to the men behind the curtain!

If the moniker on the sleeve said something other than "GENESIS", maybe this wouldn't get such a bad rap. Of course, it DOES say "GENESIS"-- and that's probably why many of us gave it a listen to begin with. Either way, it's essentially moody melodic keyboard-driven Prog-Pop...comparable to some Genesis material from "And Then There Were Three", "Abacab" and "We Can' t Dance"... only a bit darker.

The CD runs too long (like most CDs made in the last decade) and could've used some selective editing...but it's an overall decent album nonetheless. Actually...If you simply program the CD tracks 1, 2, 7, 8, 10, and 11 only, you'll get a very enjoyable (and succinct) neo-prog album with quality production, wide use of synths, strong vocals, and some nice tunes.

Oh...and Ray Wilson even has a warm gravelly voice that sometimes resembles later Peter Gabriel. Coincidence?

2 stars on the Prog-ometer.

4 stars on the Personal Taste Meter.

Report this review (#10698)
Posted Monday, January 5, 2004 | Review Permalink
william.niema
5 stars As an authorized "Genesis Freak", I liked it. Nir Z's work on Dividing Line is legendary and the fact that he an Nick D. share the credit for Alien Afternoon is genius on behalf of Tony and Mike. One Man's Fool is to date, my favorite practice song (I am a drummer). I am amazed how so many so-called "music critics" can shrug off the proven experience of Banks and Rutherford by poo-pooing this great work.
Report this review (#10699)
Posted Sunday, January 25, 2004 | Review Permalink
The Owl
PROG REVIEWER
1 stars Why did they even bother?

Funny thing is, Ray Wilson actually has a good voice, but it would've been better utilized elsewhere. The songs are so generic and uninspired, not mention quite forgettable.

Pass

Report this review (#10695)
Posted Monday, January 26, 2004 | Review Permalink
Sean Trane
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Folk
2 stars As Phil M. says: why did they bother , I answer : why did we bother? This is no better than Abacab but really did we gave them a chance . Actually , the saddest thing about this album is that even Collins proved to be expandable for them to make a mediocre album. To be quite fair , there are a few numbers that intrigued me at the time , so I did get a few listen in , so i guess I did bother. A sad end to a long carreer where the second part was not up to our tastes .
Report this review (#10713)
Posted Friday, February 27, 2004 | Review Permalink
Marcelo
PROG REVIEWER
1 stars Not much to say about this Genesis (???) album. I just remember when a friend told me that "Calling All Stations" would be the Genesis return to his progressive roots. Well, I wasn't too much optimistic, so my disappointment wasn't too much when I listened it. Ray Wilson's voice wasn't too bad, Nir Z's drummer wasn't too bad... but, positively, I reconfirmed once again the Genesis' death in 1978. This album? The homonymous song is good, "The Dividing Line" is very good and "Congo" is just a FM radio hit. The others are boring tracks, there are not surprises nor really progressive music. I wonder why once great Genesis name was used here again...
Report this review (#10701)
Posted Monday, March 1, 2004 | Review Permalink
3 stars Didn't even know this album was coming out. Heard Congo on the radio and was immediately curious. Found out it was Genesis and off to the record store I went. For those that dismiss this album out of hand, you still haven't caught on to what this band does. Title track ,Calling all stations, should get you right off the bat. Alien afternoon. listen to it. Vintage Genesis there. Dividing line. A cooker. A Day Of Uncertain Weather sent shivers down my spine. This is Seven Stones 30 years on.

I long for the glory days too but this album is filled with mood and well worth being in the collection.

Report this review (#10702)
Posted Tuesday, March 2, 2004 | Review Permalink
3 stars some compositions are good (though so often influenced by Rutherford's Mechanic songwriting), Ray Wilson has a good voice and... Tony BANKS mild keyboards and Rutherford whose only plays good guitar in acoustic should have put more vintage sounding arrangements to get the best from Ray's PG's touch as shown live... they wanted airplays, sadiums etc... they killed Genesis or what remained of it after the MTVCollins era... so why giving 3 stars ? because it's a good prog pop album and that the only real problem here is the name GENESIS on the cover...
Report this review (#10703)
Posted Friday, March 19, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars ...there are many reasons to critizise this album...but gentlemen... I regret to say that CAS is another masterpiece , first it´s obvious that the election of the material and its order in the album did´nt work out ...furthermore there were many brilliant songs that were rejected or left to a second place in CD singles release like Anything now ,two instrumental songs gems...and many more that are actually unavailable...all those songs make CAS an outstanding piece of prog rock.
Report this review (#10705)
Posted Tuesday, March 23, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars Personally, I think this is their best album since 'Duke' 'Calling All Stations' is a very strong first track and although it sounds like nothing they've ever done before, I still think it's very good. I also think 'Not About Us' is the best love-ballad they've ever done. I would've loved to hear 'The Dividing Line' live and 'One Man's Fool' is the album's strongest track. I wish they put out at least one more album with Ray because I think it could've been great. (Wishfull thinking, probably.)
Report this review (#10706)
Posted Friday, March 26, 2004 | Review Permalink
maniacodepres
4 stars Well its not the best album. Too many fade out on songs that have a great ending! I'm looking for live recordings from those songs...anyway, I like the signer's voice a lot. I love his lyrics on calling all stations song.

To think that everything that's dear to me And is always in my heart Could so easily be taken And it's tearing me apart Going over and over in my mind I relive it one second at a time

Just incredible, has a signer, it makes me cry when i sing it along... Sadly a couple of pop songs are not memorable but the good ones are better than a lot of older Genesis songs. Don't blame me i'm 23! :P

Report this review (#10707)
Posted Monday, April 5, 2004 | Review Permalink
Proghead
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars I never thought there came a day where I didn't really miss Phil COLLINS departure from GENESIS, but came that day in 1996, maybe GENESIS would find someone to bring the band on track. Not quite, but they wanted a GABRIEL soundalike, so they found a Scotsman by the name of Ray Wilson. Then for a drummer, they found some guy with a weird name (I presume Armenian) which I can't remember his name, and for extra help, they get in another drummer, an American who went by the name of Nick D'Virgilio, a guy who has earned his fame through SPOCK'S BEARD, one of the biggest names of modern prog rock.

"Calling All Stations" is really a mixed bag. There are songs that still sound like '80s pop, which is real odd for a 1997 recording, but true. "Congo" is that example, which got play on MTV and VH-1 for maybe just one week. There are some ballads I can't stand like "Shipwrecked" and "If That's What it Takes". "Small Talk" and "Not About Us" can be also thrown out the window. But "Alien Afternoon" is the band's attempt to return to prog rock, but actually it sounds more like a neo-prog band trying to sound like GENESIS (even though this is GENESIS). Actually a pretty good song. There are a couple of good songs here as well, but there is a lot of questionable material, it's little wonder why this album bombed. Not essential by any stretch of the imagination, but could've been worse.

Report this review (#10709)
Posted Sunday, May 2, 2004 | Review Permalink
Hibou
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars And then there were two? Indeed, remaining BANKS and RUTHERFORD have enlisted a new vocalist in RAY WILSON. This man is certainly not a bad singer but his gravelly voice does not exactly enhance the GENESIS sound. This being said, I might very well have considered buying "Calling All Stations" is even if I didn't know it was a G album. There are some fine moments on it, among which "The Dividing Line" ranks as my personal favourite - a tight progger where NIR ZIDKYAHU's drum play manages to eclipse any old memories of PHIL COLLINS. Although some tracks such as"Calling All Stations" and "Congo" have TONY BANKS' signature all over them, most sound a little forced. Even the last track, "One Man's Fool" reminds me of a less successful version of "Fading Lights" (ah, just can't avoid those comparisons...). Many tracks sound a bit stuffed up, making the album a little hard to digest at times. By no means is this a bad album; I do pick it up every so often, especially when I'm in need of a quick TONY BANKS fix.
Report this review (#10710)
Posted Sunday, May 2, 2004 | Review Permalink
Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Don't blame the singer

Let's accept straight away that the only reason this album bears the name "Genesis" was to guarantee it a much bigger audience than it would otherwise have gained. Only Rutherford and Banks are still present, joined by ex-Stiltskin singer Ray Wilson. Given the similarities between the voices of Gabriel and Collins, this is therefore the only Genesis album which really doesn't really sound like them vocally. Yes, the music on some of their later albums was somewhat different to what might have been expected, but the voices and instruments still had the Genesis sound. Wilson is a good rock singer though, and he plays his part well.

With the departure of Collins, it was to be hoped that the band would move back towards their prog roots, but the ghost of Collins is still there with ballads such as "Not about us" and funkier tracks like "Congo". There's very little sign of prog at all on the album, and indeed the lack of any meaty instrumentals is particularly disappointing. Surely this was a golden opportunity for Rutherford, and Banks especially, to use the extra space they had to develop their basic songs into something substantially more. Instead we get Mike and the Mechanics type songs.

I am however letting my frustrations dominate a review of an album which still has much to praise. The title track builds superbly until Wilson sounds so uplifted by the music that he has to be unknowingly carried away. "Shipwrecked" has some lovely keyboard work by Banks, particularly on the powerful intro. "Uncertain weather" is a lovely exercise in suggesting a moving story behind an old photograph. once again sung to great effect by Wilson. The problem is, it's all just straight forward songs. Even the longer tracks such as the last track, which stretches to almost 9 minutes, have nothing more that a basic structure.

In summary, an opportunity missed.

Report this review (#10711)
Posted Sunday, May 23, 2004 | Review Permalink
aguilar_julio
4 stars When i heard that genesis recorded this album, thought that maybe they return to prog roots...i was wrong! the songs are good (just 2 boring songs) but The Collins' past is too strong yet . Ray Wilson has a great voice (Calling ...Congo...Not One and some old genesis live songs sounds great ) but the US audience don't like this album! so...bye bye genesis

Not a bad album...not an excelent album...it's just a good album

Report this review (#10714)
Posted Friday, June 4, 2004 | Review Permalink
3 stars Ok..OK...now..hold your horses...i really like Ray Wilsons voice...he´s extremely talented (i love his second solo outing!!)...and ...im gonna get the reviewers beating on this.... i really do like this album...the style is there...the voice..and the music arent all that bad!! Com´on you guys..it really isnt that awful..the music.....after a few spins..i rather like this outing.....see through the barrier of " Those guys were grand at one point in time!" This album really isnt that bad!!Mr. Banks and Mr. Rutherford did make an effort. So here goes...i rate it...........wait for it..........3 stars!!! Why??...Because Ray Wilson are a great vocalist...and the remaining Genesis guys are really capapable of (still)composing some intriguing music!! Whats..that??? Oh..YES..............why should they not call themselves GENESIS..after all they were there when it all started!!! I really DO mean that this is a better album,than critics would have!!!!! HEY:::Genesis.. you´re not what you were.....but still capable!! Have a nice summer!!

Report this review (#10716)
Posted Saturday, June 12, 2004 | Review Permalink
3 stars This album has a glove of personal life-experiance built into lhe lyrics. It is never easy to do this but Genesis has always been able to wright songs width that kind of content. A song like "Uncertain Weather" is a very good exsample of the ability to make small obsevations and to put them into the right melody-context. Dont mention my spelling....I am danish...
Report this review (#10717)
Posted Thursday, June 17, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars I really cannot understand what all the negative fuss is about! So what if Collins isn't there? Wilson more than makes up for it and so do all the songs. This is Genesis at its best! The more you listen to it, the more you start to realise that this CD kicks a real fine ass! There's power, melody, rhythm, atmosphere, variety, passion and not necessarily in that order. Please stop judging a CD by the pre- or absence of some seminal member or by blindly following the fashionable slagging-off comments! Listen with your ears and heart, not with your head and misplaced sense of musical history and ENJOY!
Report this review (#10718)
Posted Thursday, June 17, 2004 | Review Permalink
3 stars I thought this was a reasonably consistent album with a few really good tracks esp. Alien Afternoon which I really felt could have grown to be a classic. What surprised me was the official reason for their splitting up after this "lack of radio play". With nothing under 4 minutes it was hardly likely to get much airplay. After listening to this I would certainly have liked to have heard one more from the guys.....
Report this review (#10719)
Posted Monday, July 5, 2004 | Review Permalink
Chris S
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars The title track is excellent, Ray Wilson is OK as a vocalist but missing that unique sound that both Gabriel and Collins possessed. Therefore much of the album slips into a ' comfortable' bracket. Alien Afternoon is also a great track and Dividing Line but overall you can see why they did not manage another album with the same line up. they had to canel the USA tour after poor ticket sales in 1998. I was fortunate to see them in Cardiff and what was great to watch was Ray Wilson's best endeavors to mirror the originals. It would be great to see them get together one last time i.e Collins, Rutherford, Banks and Hackett. Gabriel is no doubt spending 20 years on his next great album!
Report this review (#10720)
Posted Wednesday, July 7, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars This album is better than the last one, We Can't Dance. It's tighter, stronger and leaner than the one before. It has two terrific songs (One Man's Fool and Alien afternoon). Congo and the title track Calling all stations are strong. Even the requisite love song Not About Us is good. I am angry over the decision to stop with Ray Wilson because a second or third album showed promise based on this one. The reason for the disbanding was not enough strong sales in North America. I heard that in Europe CAS did very well that should have been enough. This is a great album and One Man's Fool is up there with the best of Genesis.
Report this review (#10721)
Posted Friday, July 16, 2004 | Review Permalink
www.jaakkosoi
3 stars Good song writing at times but the production is just boooooring. Ray does well on every track and the drummers play just as much as they are payed for(where are the fills!!!). The real problem is that Banks and Rutherford are both too old to write any fresh material or come up with any fresh guitar or keyboard sounds (same problem on we can´t dance) Genesis didn´t understand that it was the 90´s not the 80´s, but this is a deasant genesis album thanks to Ray Willsons strong vocal performance and the title track.
Report this review (#10725)
Posted Wednesday, August 25, 2004 | Review Permalink
1 stars Before buying this CD, be sure to check out our handy dandy GENESIS LEAD SINGER GUIDE!

(Track one) Ray Wilson (Track two) Peter Gabriel (Track three) Phil Collins (Track four) John Cleese (Track five) George Wendt (Track six) Russell Crowe (Track seven) Gerard Depardieu (Track eight) Amber (Track nine) Tim Curry (Track ten) The guy who played Mr. Humphries on "Are You Being Served?" (Track eleven) To be honest, somebody lost the sign-up sheet and we're not even sure!

**************

Yes, Calling All Stations is really that bad!

While it is supposed to be a return to the prog sound that made the band famous, Ray Wilson is no Peter Gabriel. He's not even a Phil Collins! Plus, what's the point in joining this band when you were experienced in a post-punk band, trying to be the next Kurt Cobain?!? He does have a nice, smooth voice, but it wears thin over the whole course of an album.

Even worse is the fact that Mike and Tony had already written the songs BEFORE they hired Ray. As a result, the whole recording process was rushed and disastrous.

Sadly, Mike and Tony couldn't make matters any better. They retained the producer, Nick Davis, from their previous album (the stunningly beautiful We Can't Dance), but the somewhat skin-crawling dark sound on WCD got darker. The album really sounds more like what you would want to listen to when you're feeling down and out and don't feel like listening to anything better. The guitar intro at the beginning of the title track sounds heavy metallish and kind of sets the tone for the entire album. Such a shame to blacken the good name of Genesis this way! I guess Phil Collins saw this coming and he wanted to escape before it got worse.

I give this album 1 star because I feel if you love any artist beyond imagination, you must own the darkpoint of their careers. For the Beatles, it's the junk they recorded in Hamburg with Tony Sheridan. For Zappa, it's Francesco Zappa. For Pink Floyd...well, there isn't one actually. And, for Genesis, it's this album. I own it...but I've seldom listened to it (if ever).

I also understand that Ray Wilson left the group after the album and its supporting tour got panned by the critics. Unless Mike and Tony willing to let John Cleese or George Wendt lead the group, Genesis is gone.

Report this review (#10727)
Posted Friday, August 27, 2004 | Review Permalink
3 stars "Calling All Stations" is a hark back to the darker material of the Genesis we all knew and loved. While the best line-up was the 5 (Gabriel-Hackett-Banks-Collins-Rutherford), "3" remains my favorite. "Stations" is easily one of the best since then.

Before I continue, I rated this only 3 stars because it is not a Prog Rock production. This is a Prog Rock band who evolved, to a degree, to the present. No problem experimenting, but personally, I would have liked to see them go back to the 70s style. Steve Hackett remains the only true Genesis guy.

Second stipulation is that most of the reviewers are Pink Floyd fans (gimme a break, talk about boring and uninspired!).

Ray Wilson lends a monochromatic, dark tone to the recording. His raspy, somewhat throaty voice is more commercial than Gabriel, but harsher than Collins, both of whom lend a throatier tone. Wilson is a great departure, and a pleasant selection by Banks and Rutherford.

The drumming is a bit dry, although, technically, it is very good. I miss Phil's drumming the most.

The title track is, without question, the best on the set. The rest of side one is rather commercial. 'Alien Afternoon' gets going after a slow first half, the intro, however, is somewhat reminiscent of 'Watcher of the Skies.'

Side 2 starts off with 'Dividing Line,' which produces excellent jamming by the band, but still falls far short of the old Hackett-Banks-Collins-Rutherford fusion. 'Uncertain Weather' sounds like it could have easily taken a spot on "3." This is easily the most reminiscent of days gone by, Genesis of the 70s. The Squeeze-inspired 'Small Talk' displays Wilson's remarkable ability to morph between his own voice and that of Paul Carrack. Don't believe me? Listen well, and imagine Carrack at the mic. 'There Must Be Some Other Way' sounds like a sermon for Collins, who just can't seem to keep a wife. This is a good song, however, a very true anthem to modern day relationship problems. This is a far cry from storybook compositions of Genesis' past. Finally, 'One Man's Fool' reminds me of something from the "Abacab" and "Genesis" (1981 and 1983) era, especially the opening. The song starts off a bit awkwardly, but once it gets going, it really is a banger of a song. I was not a fan of this song at first, but it grew on me so much that I feel it is one of the finest of the set, and it is a decent set.

All in all, and overall, this album really is a great departure, new lead singer, and a new, fresher, darker sound, compared to the 1980-91 productions. To this day, however, everything pre-"Duke" is the best from the boys. But "Stations" is a very pleasant surprise, and one of my favorites.

"Stations" did well in Europe, but not in the US. It is tough to compete with the trashy junk us Americans are so into buying nowadays. Really, give me a break you guys. Genesis remain masters. I really miss Banks' piano playing.

Report this review (#10728)
Posted Thursday, September 23, 2004 | Review Permalink
3 stars Genesis has always been Rutherford/Banks's band. Genesis will always be Genesis as long as these guys are together. CAS is in no way as bad as 'three'. On that occasion the band struggled to find their musical feet after Hacket. The album they produced was a real stinker but it had enough hints and teases of what could be. We forgave them and they responded with some of the best music they ever did.(Duke) CAS was another of these 'teasers' and I am sure that if they had recieved the right encouragement they would of gone on to produce something even better. Saying that who doesn't air guitar to the opening rif of the title track? And Banks solo efforts on 'other way' would get a corpse humming.

So don't write CAS off as two old guys trying desperetly trying to hang on to what they had, listen closley and you will hear the seeds of a great album to come being planted.

Report this review (#10730)
Posted Monday, October 11, 2004 | Review Permalink
Guillermo
PROG REVIEWER
1 stars I don`t consider this album as their "worst", as I consider their "Genesis" album from 1983 as their "worst" album. So maybe this album deserves 1 and a half stars. The main responsibilities of the quality of this album fell to Banks and Rutherford, who composed almost all the songs (with 2 or 3 songs with Ray Wilson`s colaborations) before they chose the new singer. Maybe the main problem with this album is that is a "Dark" album from start to finish, including the cover design. Ray Wilson is a good singer, but I think that his voice wasn`t right for GENESIS. Banks and Rutherford did a "brave move" with this album, but unfortunately, the songs are almost with the same "colours", I mean, "Dark". The quality of the recording of this album is very good, and both drummers played very good too. There are some good songs:tracks 1 to 6 (particularly "Alien Afternoon" and "If That`s What You Need", a very good song which could have been sung very well by Phil Collins, and it could have been a hit if they released this song as a single instead of "Congo"). "One Man`s Fool" is another interesting song, one of the best. The rest of the songs also have some interesting things, but sometimes they are too long, or have some sections which are repetitive, or even some keyboard solos similar as on previous albums (like the synth solo in "There Must Be Some Other Way", which seems played very similar as the solo in "Home by the Sea/Second Home by the Sea" from the "Genesis" album of 1983, almost with the same synth sound). This album was successful mainly in the U.K. and Europe, but unfortunately for GENESIS it wasn`t successful in North America and in other parts of the world. So, their North American tour was canceled, and the album went out of print in the U.S. some years ago. Another thing which didn`t help GENESIS was their "DarK" image in the promotional photos and in the video for "Congo". Also, Wilson is younger several years than Banks and Rutherford, maybe too much younger. Maybe they should have chosen a singer more of their own age, in my opinion.It seems that there were plans for more albums with Wilson as singer, but in the mid of the year 2000, it was announced that Wilson wasn`t anymore their singer, and in September 2000 Collins appeared with Banks and Rutherford (and Daryl Stuermer) in a special almost acoustic mini-concert dedicated to their manager Tony Smith, who won an award as manager. It seems that it was a "one-off" concert, and since then there have been many rumours about GENESIS reforming with Collins and also sometimes with Gabriel and Hackett.Chester Thompson said in one interview that he approached Banks and Rutherford (when he learned that Collins have left the band) and asked them about becoming GENESIS`s official member and drummer, but they said "no" to Thompson.
Report this review (#10731)
Posted Tuesday, October 12, 2004 | Review Permalink
3 stars Well - listened to it, beeing sometimes surprised, sometimes disappointed, sometimes bored...understand this as a missunderstanding of what a band as genesis can be - or better said shouldn´t be: back to the roots without motherearth under the feets cannot be done! I like the old stuff, especially foxtrot, in second place trespass and selling england, in third the lamb lies down on broadway, and i hoped to find some of theese her on this album. Yes, I was searching for musical essentials of peter gabriel or some of the lyricals of rutherford or collins - uh collins, like him or not, he´s a grat musician, even though he is more and more the buisenessman, and also boring in musical manners today. I searched and I found: A playground of typical passages from the middle of all, drums played nearly as they´ve been played by collins, banks arrangements and ruttherfords styles from duke and abacab, only a idea of what they did during the seventies, but all this doesn´t fix together. As long as we forget this is genesis, it is a nice little record (just as the record, marillion did after fish was gone) nothing more, nothing less...but don´t look on the cover, this is GENESIS. GENESIS? ...from Genesis to retaliation...

Maybe, after a little while, after hearing it again, after understanding the meaning and the essentials, I will like it - but in fact this never will be one of my favorites...

Report this review (#10734)
Posted Friday, October 22, 2004 | Review Permalink
2 stars Collectors and fans, indeed...the target audience for this record was certainly not the ambivalent public. In the USA, i think i heard "Congo" on the radio just once, and the album was in discount bins in a few weeks, given the lack of promotion and the eventual cancellation of the supporting tour.

So, about the album: The first few moments will surprise you...a blast of guitar and a moody keyboard atmosphere on the title track suggest a rocking, dark album like the early notes of "Abacab" some 16 years prior. A new turn for Genesis, away from adult- pop of the 80's-90's? Ray Wilson's vocal on this track suggests so...he's gritty, powerful, and able to showcase his range. THis youthful image and the fact that his raspiness doesn't sound too dissimilar to Peter Gabriel couldn't hurt. But the musical choices for the rest of the album sure do!

Take "Uncertain Weather"...i'm sure this was hanging around in the Mike and the Mechanics discard pile. "Small Talk" is as cheezy as the synth bassline that runs through it. Even "Alien Afternoon", a longish track with a supposedly-"prog" theme of alien abduction is labored by silly and trite rhymes, and melodies that you've surely heard before, perhaps on "we Can't Dance", maybe on a Tony Banks solo LP, but surely nothing new, and nothing progressive. The "radio single" , called "Congo" is a mess, thanks to nonsense lyrics and a weird, tacked-on fade-out...you get the sense that the boys were too excited to use the African drumsounds and chants, but forgot about ideas of what makes a good- structured song.

Still, it's not all bad or unlistenable: "Shipwrecked" is quite nice for a ballad, with some pretty guitar and swirling keys. "The Dividing Line" and "One Man's Fool" both have excellent rock build-ups, showcasing Mike Rutherford's guitarwork and the heavy percussive sounds of Nir Z. Either track wouldn't have felt too out of place on "Abacab", especially the former, while the latter could be a heavier follow-up to some tracks on "We Can't Dance".

So, "Calling All Stations" is disappointing in the sense that you wish the two remaining members of Genesis (so long considered primary writers) could have done better, because their past work is proof positive of their potential. And, you wish that Ray Wilson could step out of Phil Collins' shadow by being given decent lyrics to sing.

Report this review (#10737)
Posted Monday, December 6, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars I had to get over the shock of Ray Wilson as lead vocalist, but I have. If there never had been a Peter Gabriel or Phil Collins fronting this group, I'd accept Ray as lead without a second thought. CAS has grown on me. I like it better than anything since Wind and Wuthering. My favorite stuff is everything they did from 1970 to 1977. That said, I like much of their later stuff well enough. What's it mean to be Prog? Back to the 70's? I hope not! But that seems to be what some reviewers want. Doesn't Progressive mean change and development? I see that in CAS. It seems to me that Mike and Tony have come full circle, back to the cross-roads they were at with the completion of Duke; and whereas Phil took them (ahem) south in a pop direction, this time they set off due north from Duke. The music is full of confidence; after all, Mike and Tony have plenty of experience, and it shows. The lyrics are flabby here and there ... but underneath the fat is meat!... unlike the generally spare, shallow stuff on Invisible Touch and Genesis-self-titled. The title track announces the new direction although it gives a musical nod to Invisible Touch. Musically, Congo has reminiscences of Brazil from IT, as well as Peter Gabriel's Biko and his No Self Control; I can detect some seeds from Los Endos and Your Own Special Way too. Shipwrecked's feely shlop lyrics and music remind me of Duke. Alien Afternoon does start slow, but is reminiscent of Three, Wind, and Trick; I love the texturing and rich keyboards at the end. Not About Us sounds less like Genesis than anything else on the CD; and (ouch) Wilson sounds like Eddie Money(!); I noticed a trace of Entangled in a brief instrumental. If That's What You Feel seems like a mature man's recap of Follow You Follow Me. The Dividing Line ranks up there with the best stuff Genesis ever did; the lyrics are hardhitting and direct, and the music is strong and the drums are awe inspiring; Wilson even sounds like Gabriel! I was disconcerted that the guitar initially sounded like Alan Parson's Stereotomy (no bad thing I suppose). Uncertain Weather sounds like Snowbound off of Three, or something off of Duke. Small Talk reminds of Mike & the Mechanics' Give Me the Simple Life; Wilson like Carrack? More like Gabriel. There Must Be Some Other Way is moody and intense lyrically and musically; it's good as Genesis gets. One Man's Fool reminds me first of Three, then Mike & Mechanics in the chorus, and finally moves and celebrates like the ending of Firth of Fifth. So maybe it ain't 70's prog, but it's great music. I have to knock it down a little for unevenness from song to song, but the music is always creative, listenable, and richly textured.
Report this review (#10742)
Posted Friday, February 11, 2005 | Review Permalink
2 stars This is Genesis by name only. The band name was used to sell albums. In a way it is a shame about this album. Ray is a good singer but the problem lies with the songs. Calling all stations is a good track but the rest of the album is dull and lifeless. It is a band going through the motions and not really trying. I don't hate this album ( i have played it a few times) but is a shame to see a once great band reduced to making such un-inspired music. A wasted time in the studio really. Such a shame
Report this review (#10744)
Posted Wednesday, March 9, 2005 | Review Permalink
slipperman
PROG REVIEWER
1 stars I hope Genesis never records again, but if they did it wouldn't be hard to come up with a better career cap than 'Calling All Stations'. Genesis limped to the finish line with this thing. Though it was far from perfect, 'We Can't Dance' would've been a more satisfying finish. And it's not that Phil Collins is gone. In fact, that was a welcome exit, considering he was bringing way too many Collins-solo type songs to the Genesis table - he forgot he was a great drummer along the way too. No, it's that 1) these songs are weak, and 2) vocalist Ray Wilson is no good for this legendary band. I know it's impossible to live up to his predecessors Collins and Peter Gabriel, but all he does is give this watered-down material an even thinner veneer with vocals that are total smooth-guy AOR wimp-o-rama. Sorry, I'm not a big Corey Hart or Kenny Loggins fan.

The guitar sound is possibly worse than on 'Invisible Touch', like it's been stretched through a million washings in the great digital washing machine that ruined so much prog in the '80s. The keyboards have a bit of warmth, but they lack in size, washing out all around the rest of the sounds. Most songs fail the memorability test, with "Congo", "Shipwrecked", "Not About Us" and "Small Talk" being memorable only because they're particularly awful. I'm an adult, but I feel insulted when a favorite band gives us what can be called Adult AOR Pop. a frustrating trait of post-prog (ie. over the hill) prog bands (King Crimson most definitely NOT included here). Give me something challenging, inspiring, exciting, illuminating.anything but this easy-listening dross. I do find solace in a few songs, most of which carry a darker, more brooding thread, like "Uncertain Weather", "The Dividing Line" and "One Man's Fool". But the sonic canvas throughout the album is a flat line, nothing popping out or climaxing, barely any true dynamics occurring, making things feel a bit lifeless. It's only opener and title track "Calling All Stations" that offers some real drama, a good bit of tension with some gorgeous atmospheres, as well as an emotive vocal performance from Wilson. It's easy to have high expectations about the rest of the album after this song hits, but it never happens. Drab and depressing, 'Calling All Stations' is only for the most dedicated (ie. foolish) diehard.

Report this review (#10745)
Posted Friday, April 1, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars As stated in several previous reviews, this album was a serious of opportunities missed. First of all, I have thought since hearing of the departure of Phil Collins in 1996, that if Genesis wanted to continue, the remaining members should have gotten back to their prog roots. I feel that had they enlisted an already established singer such as Fish (who had already worked with Tony Banks a few times in the past), or even an older singer such as John Wetton, the group would have had much more credibitlity. This also would have been an excellent opportunity to enlist Chester Thompson as a full time member, rather than using two different drummers here. In all honesty, parts of this album seem like Mike and Tony with a group of studio musicians. The fact that Ray Wilson only co-wrote a couple of tunes here also takes away from the "group feel" that was always evident in the past. That being said, Ray Wilson is an excellent singer, although at times on this album, his voice seems a bit flat. There are moments on this CD that remind the listener of certain Genesis albums, in particular "Genesis", "We Can't Dance" , and "Invisible Touch", with a sprinkling of some "Mike and The Mechanics". There are also some very interesting darker moments here that I really enjoyed, particularly the title track, "The Dividing Line", and "Uncertain Weather". Overall, this album has some very good, but not great moments, and some that are a bit flat. The arrangement of the album is a bit too sparse, and I don't feel that Ray Wilson was given the right environment to flex his vocal muscles. So I guess I would say that this CD is good, and definately worth listening to, but it certainly isn't great, even though I would say it was their best album since "Genesis" in 1983.
Report this review (#10746)
Posted Wednesday, April 13, 2005 | Review Permalink
RobertPetrone
3 stars Containing a few good songs that *could* be Genesis songs, such as the title track and "Not About Us," this album is essentially half of a Tony Banks solo album fused with half of a Mike Rutherford solo album, proving once and for all that between the years of 1974 and 1996, Phil Collins *was* Genesis.
Report this review (#10747)
Posted Monday, April 18, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars Despite the bad opinions this is a good album. Ray Wilson is a great singer, and the album contains some good songs (dividing line, calling all stations, not about us...) ok, ok, the album also contains boring songs but in general is a good experiment. I don`t understand why the Genesis trio with Banks-Rutherford-Wilson just made this CD. It had been good to listen other works after 1997.
Report this review (#10748)
Posted Monday, April 18, 2005 | Review Permalink
1 stars There is nothing I like in this album. Perhaps a little part here and there in "alien afternoon" and "one man's fool"...but the singer, the lyrics are weak, the melodies are flat. "Congo" is even worse than "I can't dance", because I think "I can't dance" was fun and quite original. Many uninteresting ballads fill this album ("Shipwrecked", "not about us")...I don't like Phil Collins solo work very much but I must say he is better for ballads ! What can be left to do with a band that has lost everything ?
Report this review (#10750)
Posted Thursday, April 21, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars Never thought I'd be giving this album a favorable review, but here I am, giving it a favorable review - 3.5. Nearly eight years after its release, I decided to give it a spin, and I was very pleasantly surprised indeed. This album may be lame compared to early Genesis, but it should not be compared with that. If you compared it with the terrible "We Can't Dance", then it is vastly superior in every way, including singing, where Ray Wilson really shines. And it's bull[&*!#] that he sounds like Phil Collins, he does not. The album has Tony Banks written all over it, and can be regarded as his solo project. Another way of looking at it is as a Neo-prog album. If you listen to bands like Pendragon and recent Marillion, you will find many parallels in the song structure, style and especially vocals. It's ironic that Genesis has gone full circle - they've inspired the Neo-progressive movement, and have joined it in the end. Sure, the music on this album leans toward pop, but if all pop was this good, then my radio would be on most of the time, instead of gathering dust... There are plenty of thick keyboard textures and Banks puts in some tasty solos here and there. Don't expect "Colony Of Slippermen/In The Rapids" though, and you won't be disappointed. Just take it for what it is - a solid pop-rock/Neo-prog album, better written and performed that recent Marillion stuff. A keeper as far as I am concerned.
Report this review (#10751)
Posted Wednesday, May 4, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars When i heard (back in 1996), that Genesis are doing a new record without Collins, i was very happy, a couple of days later i watched the first audience on MTV or VH1 and it sounds good. Wilson was no Gabriel and no Collins, right, but his voice seemed to be right one for most of the Gabriel era and even some newer stuff. Compared to their last, sometimes really weak but successfull, recordings, CAS was a big step ahead. Sad for me that Banks & Rutherford decieded to stop further recordings with Wilson. It would have been good if Wilson has the chance to put some of his own songs in the G thing, on CAS he only co- wrote the lyrics for 3 songs CAS is no really prog, although some songs even have prog elements within, it's a little dark but athmopheric album, even the "hit" songs for radio are sounding a little dark. In my opinion it's the best G album since Duke!
Report this review (#36939)
Posted Sunday, June 19, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars I listen to this album and actually feel sorry for Tony Banks and Michael Rutherford. This disc carries with it the weight of the history of Genesis. Ant, Peter, Steve, Phil - all gone, but their shadows remain. Frankly, this is the album's greatest problem.

The best thing that happened to "And Then There were Three" was that the band had a chance to find it's legs - again. No such luck this time. Ray Wilson suffered for sounding like Peter Gabriel (I also hear Greg Lake.). Yes, I'm aware that lies at the feet of Mike & Tony, but it is what it is. But there was potential here. I think this band would have done OK, perhaps even well, if not for the storied history it carried on it's back.

Favorite tracks: Congo, The Dividing Line, Uncertain Weather, There must be some other way, If that's what You Need (I'm a romantic at heart.), One Man's Fool.

Lousy track: Small Talk.

Why Four Stars? Listen, and hear what might have been.

Report this review (#38514)
Posted Monday, July 4, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars If this album wasn't under the name of Genesis, then it would quite possibly have received a better review from many a critic. True, it hardly sounds like Genesis with Ray Wilson's vocals, perhaps the only thing defining it as Genesis being Tony Banks' omnipresent keyboard sound. However, as an album it is an excellent piece of work.

I discovered this one by accident pretty much, among a bunch of Genesis CDs that I'd decided to rifle through. I'd not heard of Calling All Stations before, but I thought I'd definitely check it out (the price was very agreeable). Looking at the booklet, I saw Ray Wilson as the vocalist, and the two drummers. Naturally I was very curious as to how it would sound.

It was a pleasant surprise in fact. There is a consistent display of moody atmosphere throughout, adding some depth to what are, doubtlessly in more than one instance, purely average songs. It was a return to better form though, at long last sacrificing the mindless torrent of weak pop tunes forced out under the Collins regime. Phil was great I thought; a quality drummer and a superb frontman with style and charisma, and a singer with a good, distinctive voice. Unfortunately, the songs written had proved to have no room for Phil's once-great drum skills as he churned out the constant stream of commercial love songs and the so-called Genesis "hits". Gone were the days of the atmospheric instrumental as we were bombarded with the weak chord sequences of songs such as In Too Deep. For me, Calling All Stations is the best album to bear Genesis' name since And Then There Were Three, albeit a considerable departure from sounding anything like Genesis (but then, as you listen to Invisible Touch do you see the magic of the Peter Gabriel era?).

Ray Wilson as far as I'm concerned gives a solid vocal performance with some great emotional delivery at times (though the closing track lacks any real interest from any of the musicians involved with the exception of perhaps the drums). Unfortunately, poor Ray was going to get a lot of flak for not being called Peter Gabriel or Phil Collins, and true his voice lacks the unique qualities of his predecessors. But it's not always about the voice, it's about what you do with it. Tony Banks' keyboard sound is stamped all over CAS, enriching it with its dark atmosphere and is the closest thing to defining anything as Genesis. Mike Rutherford could never be accused of overplaying and as always the guitar takes the back seat to allow the synth to blend so well with Wilson's voice, occasionally contributing some good stuff. Unfortunately, at no points in the album do we get quality progressive instrumental sections, we are instead treated to mediocre keyboard outings that just take the song along rather than taking it to new heights. Fortunately, none of the tracks can be described as "bad" in any way, some are simply dull and uninspired and it is clear which are the standout efforts.

To fully appreciate this work, I think it's sometimes necessary to forget that it's a Genesis album and let the prejudice against the new sound lie. It's a definite grower if you just put aside that this is no longer "glory days" Genesis. A stellar album, if not mind blowing. Consistent and atmospheric, often in sound reminding me of the band ARCHIVE. Best cuts: Alien Afternoon, Not About Us, The Dividing Line, Uncertain Weather, There Must Be Some Other Way and the title track, all of which I daresay surpass much of the more recent Genesis catalogue.

Report this review (#39222)
Posted Tuesday, July 12, 2005 | Review Permalink
1 stars This album has no business with the Genesis name any more than "Rubber Riff" or "Land of Cockayne" has being Soft Machine albums! Ray Wilson is no Gabriel or Collins and it was stupid of him to sign up with the band in the first place. Ray wasn't even BORN when Genesis began. Yet if you look inside the booklet, there all three of them are, wearing sunglasses and looking like idiots. To add insult to injury, they have Mike and Tony in the back of the picture and Ray way up front.

Now about the music. Ray sounds like he's struggling to get the words out and the lyrics are just so AOR boring. Another problem is that Mike and Tony are stuck in the 80's with that wall of synth and drum machine sound. Mike's guitar sounds boring too--as if ANY generic 80's guitarist could play it. This is a 1997 recording guys. Get your heads out of the synth-pop 80's and try something else. THIS is one of the reasons the album didn't do anything here in America. Another reason was, by 1991, the final tour was sold as "Phil Collins AND Genesis." Getting some unknown like Ray Wilson was a stupid thing to do. Van Halen tried that with Gary Cherone and the "Van Halen 3" album. Look at what THAT album did. My point exactly--on the way to the cutout bins. Van Halen had David Lee Roth back in 1996 for two cuts but Eddie Van Halen screwed that up, didn't he? But I digress..

I read an interview with Ray Wilson and he said that Mike and Tony called him in 1998 and told him "We're not continuing because the market doesn't want us." Of course it doesn't want them. The music world has changed and they still live in the "synthesizer 80's"? That won't do anymore. So this is for hardcore fans only.

Report this review (#40879)
Posted Friday, July 29, 2005 | Review Permalink
2 stars I think a long time before to write a review of this last Genesis cd...I think it will have been better for them to get on the road with Ray Wilson first and see their reaction of the people who love Genesis and give the fans a chance to create a new reaction with the new songs they had write.Going on the road will have refresh the song with the new singer and the new musicians they had on this cd...but they chose to get the cd first and It was a big flop.If you get a chance to hear Ray Wilson with Genesis live It will easier to listen to their new stuff.I give 2 stars because Tony Banks is still the best keyboards player in the world ,some songs are good but not great at all(CONGO-SHIPWRECKED-NOT ABOUT US).so if you are a big fan of Genesis like me you will buy this in sale only to have all theirs cd.
Report this review (#42397)
Posted Wednesday, August 10, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars I've seen enough of this album getting bashed. Calling All Stations, If That's What You Need, and There Must Some Other Way are excellent songs. The latter in particular has a fine Tony Banks interlude. Ther are other nice ones too. Ray Wilson isn't the problem here and does a fine job. Actually has more Gabrielan voice than Collins. I wish the band had shown more patience and continued with this lineup rather than toss the whole thing overboard and quit.
Report this review (#42482)
Posted Thursday, August 11, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars Partially because I'm such a long time fan of this band, and partially because I actually liked some of the material on this album. I'm giving it 3 stars. The major issue with this album is clearly the fact that Ray Wilson, though talented, does not fit the style of music Genesis produces... even in it's weakest form.

Most of the songs are not bad songs, just dated. Still there are some strengths."There must be some other way" is an example that if nothing else, Mike and Tony are capable of putting together music that is enjoyable and powerful. The same can be said of " The dividing line" and " One man's fool." To call it Genesis is an issue I'd care not to delve into but Mike and Tony still had some considerable chops at the time. The mixed bag of material did cause a " segmented " effect and disrupted the continuity of the album. Even better than the CD are the B - sides on the singles they released. Had most of those songs (including the brilliant instrumental 7/8 ) replaced some of the total drag songs like " Shipwrecked " and " Congo ", this album could have been more successful.

Out of loyalty to my favorite band in all of music, I retain this CD for the sake of having a complete Genesis collection. It is almost as new as the day of purchase due to the lack of rotation in the ol' CD player. I cannot in good conscience, however, give it a better rating than I have and truth be told... it may not deserve that much.

Report this review (#42649)
Posted Friday, August 12, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars i am a large fan of Genesis in all here the periods.The peoples are hard with the albums after 1977 because are only or almost ear-phones of music right of progressif.When you criticize an album, is necessary that you look at which style of music that it is and not always compared with old the period.For me Calling All Stations is the best album studio since wind and withering of 1976.Duke is good but not in all sound together. It ya of large the songs and others is weak like man our time, turn it one again. Me I am not right progressive a fan, i like rock, pop, and im able to listen good music and difference styles and of analysed.The progressive music has a goal, the pop music has another goal. Not to oblige to make complex music for it is good and people here do not stop speaking about the period of gabriel.I like very much the old period but i like the albums after 1977, the difference not enough guitars and maybe too pop not enough rock.Phil Collins is not rock guy,is a nice guy who likes sings pops and longs tracks instrumental songs but the pops songs are good.Mama, No Son of mine, are great and is not progressive music.The worst track of genesis is who dunnit and is not a serious song. The genesis of collins is good also and I am agree some songs very ordinary but it has much of it which are very good.Phil Collins was better live like voice than Peter gabriel and ray Wilson is excellent as singer into live.Genesis with Wilson woud be could to go more far. Just a album with the young wilson is not enough.He was perfect for the band.Is much darker this album and mike is good as lead guitar.I like the keyboards of tony banks.

is not a prog album, the rating is 3.5 to 4 for that album

gabriel period was amazing but is a style that'it

gabriel has great voice, but in live in the time of genesis for his voice in live is not always amazing, better in solo works for live concerts

collins was a great singer in live, same voice in studio and live

ray wilson young man with beautiful voice

Report this review (#50210)
Posted Wednesday, October 5, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Genallica? Metalisis? (You'll see where I'm going with this in a minute.)

While it's true that Genesis suffered a blow when Phil jumped ship, IMO, Collins' shtick was to water down Banks' and Rutherford's prog tendencies. This reached an undeniable nadir with "Invisible Touch", which was one of the most awesomely bad pieces of garbage to ever reach these ears. Things picked up substanially with "We Can't Dance", which, though I have yet to review it, is stunning.

I digress. The point I'm trying to make is this: apples and oranges, people. Why compare them? Face it: The 70's are LONG gone! They ain't comin' back, and for Genesis to attempt an album along the lines of SEBTP or FOXTROT would have been a disaster. No; that cannot happen. Instead, Banks & Rutherford decided to pour their energies into this 67-minute neo-prog-pop workout.

Typically, I can tell what's on a Genesis disc by looking at the cover art. I was expecting something dark, but not this. This is BLACK dark, and 100 shades of angry. It's heavy too, and at times I'm reminded of James Hetfield singing on TLLDOB. (See my first comment.)

From the opening tirade of guitar on the title track to the last note of "One Man's Fool", I discovered that this is a metallic blast. Dunno if it was apropos, but I found myself headbanging during most of it. Nir and Nick's drumming is tasty and complex. Ray's voice is rich and throaty, and Tony's keys are EVERYFRICKINWHERE! Yes! Hot d$#%! But what really blew me away was Mike. He unleashed a display of chops here to make my head spin and eyes water. Nothing polite or subtle about his playing, or any of the playing here. This is a dark, brutally heavy, and mind-numbingly complex disc, and for that alone...my rating...wait for it...

FIVE VERY-DESERVED STARS. No apologies.

Report this review (#56465)
Posted Tuesday, November 15, 2005 | Review Permalink
2 stars This album doesn't deserve to be called a Genesis album. And people said this album would be their "Return to progressive roots". What a joke. The melodies (much like the lyrics) are boring, and uninspired. The album as a whole is bland and distasteful. They should have just quit when Phil left. Unlike some people, I think that when Phil left the band, is when Genesis died, not when Steve left. I would much rather listen to an album like "Invisible Touch" or "We Can't Dance" than Calling All Stations. (Then again, i would listen to ALMOST anything if this album were the alternative.) I think Ray Wilson has a great voice. Alot of people expected too much of him because of Genesis' history. People tend to talk about how bad he is, because they compare him to Peter Gabriel or Phil Collins. But in my opinion, without comparing him to Peter or Phil, i still don't think he did his best on the album, and as William Sheppard said in his review of this album, Mike and Tony were still in a "Synth-Pop 80's" state of mind, which didn't help the album at all. This album is for hardcore fans only. (who else would want to listen to it?)
Report this review (#70098)
Posted Monday, February 20, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars When the album was first announced, the band stated that Stations was going to be "darker" and more reminiscent of old Genesis. Banks and Rutherford cited that new singer Ray Wilson's voice was very similar to that of Peter Gabriel, and that the departure of Phil Collins led to a less pop radio-orientated style of song writing. At the time, most fans rejoiced at the prospect of a Genesis album in the vein of an darker ominous album like And Then There Were Three or maybe even Trespass or Nursery Cryme! Fans from around the world posted praise for the group's seemingly blatant disregard for commercial popularity in exchange for a sound that the die-hard fans would adore and an eagerness to buy the new album. Sadly, neither turned out to be the case. First of all, Calling All Stations is really not a dark album. In fact, I think Collins era albums like Abacab and Genesis have much darker moments (with songs like "Dodo", "Keep It Dark", "Home By The Sea", "Mama" and "Silver Rainbow") than Stations could ever have. Calling All Stations is much less commercial than it's recent predecessors, but using the term "darker" was very misleading. The mislabeling left die-hard fans feeling disappointed since they had false expectations, and left casual radio listeners disenchanted with the album's general lack of commercial appeal. The overall result led to poor sales, a cancelled US tour, and the eventual decision to stop making new Genesis albums. People often say that Phil's departure killed the band, and on a commercially successful level, that might have some truth. I do, however, think Ray Wilson was a good choice for the group. Vocally speaking, I thought he did a great job on the album, but short of bringing Peter Gabriel back, there was just no way that anyone could have stepped into Phil's shoes and made this album sell. I really enjoyed several tracks on Stations, especially the title track, "The Dividing Line", "There Must Be Some Other Way" and "Not About Us." Unfortunately, a couple of songs like "Shipwrecked" (which sounded a great deal like ELO's "Can't Get It Out of My Head") and "Alien Afternoon" seemed a tad weak for a Genesis album. Other tracks seemed like they would have fit better on a Tony Banks solo album or a Mechanics' project. All in all, I enjoyed Stations, but it takes more than a handful of record sales to make an album go gold or platinum. Hence, the death of a great band.
Report this review (#79069)
Posted Tuesday, May 23, 2006 | Review Permalink
Slartibartfast
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars I added this album to my collection in 2004. Was actually unaware of its existence as I had lost interest in keeping up with Genesis after Invisible Touch. Not likely for me to go back and add any CDs to my collection between this one and Abacab. It was quickly overshadowed by my discovery of Djam Karet at the time. Since I decided to keep it in my collection it does show up periodically in my rotation scheme. I decided to give it another listen before I reviewed it. (Ok, I did skip over the more pop oriented numbers.) I'm not the harsh critic of prog that many are and as such have no problem with this being called a Genesis album. Rutherford and Banks do come across as stuck in the '80's with this one and trying to have pop success while throwing a few bones to fans of the old stuff. From what I heard, when it didn't work out, they gave it up. Probably a good thing. A quick internet search indicates R and B have quit making any new music since. With all the income coming in from the '80's stuff, I'm sure they can afford to. Here's hoping that they take the opportunity to do something more creative in the future. Hackett has occasionally ventured into pop territory but recently has put out some inspired prog (To Watch the Storms). For my tastes they will have a hard time ever topping their work from the '70's. I'd have to rate One Man's Fool as the best track here. Probably the only one to depart from the '80's sound. Also the longest track, go figure.
Report this review (#85075)
Posted Saturday, July 29, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars That's one-star Genesis (because it isn't) and four stars for whatever it is.

This is where the star-rating system breaks down.

I came upon this when reviewing my youth and finding myself irritatingly completionist. I'm glad I found it. I could only wish I had not found it while seeking out Genesis. It's like sitting down to a meal in anticipation of meat and two veg and being served a fruit salad. I like fruit salad, but...

I confess to a naff side. Many years ago I sneaked off to a record shop in disguise to buy Dollar's 'Videotheque' (or however it's spelt), and I have bought specially-padded headphones so I can lurk in toilet cubicles with my mp3 player and listen to Pat Benatar's 'Love is a Battlefield'. Okay, now you know where I'm coming from and even if you know me I can't be identified in here so I'm safe.

'Calling All Stations' appeals to that naff side of me. If you have a secret naff side that mirrors my own and a pair of specially-padded headphones you may well like it; if you don't, don't bother.

It was utterly daft putting this out as a Genesis 'back-to-our-roots' album. For all the generosity of some reviewers in saying 'But really, they tried, they did, they tried', no... sorry, they didn't. What they did was put out something entirely different, valid of itself and for the target audience they should have sought out, but decidedly not Genesis.

Result? The people who may have liked this never bothered listening because it was Genesis, and Genesis are naff. The people who liked Genesis to whom it was sold listened to it and didn't like it because it wasn't Genesis, so it was naff. Farewell Genesis and whatever this line-up might have been better labelled if they'd not sold themselves as Genesis in the first place and concentrated instead on a more appropriate target audience.

You're good, CAS. But you don't belong here. Go away, find the place you're supposed to be and stop being silly. Genesis! Heavens...

Report this review (#88159)
Posted Friday, August 25, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars Different ideas about this album up here. I can understand, of course. Phil Collins is gone, a yet unknown singer joins and the powerful drums are gone.. However, for fans of the older days this album won't be a bad one. I'm one of those. The chords of Banks are very dark and dramatic on most of the songs and Rutherford's guitarwork sounds as usual. I think Wilson did a good job singing on the album. At some moments he reminds me of Gabriel's warm voice. Of course, this album does not contain very surprising or exciting moments that were included in the older songs. It's all 4/4 and in usual song-structure. But the songs are doing good and the composition is fine. It's an album I like very much and in my opinion it's better and more adventurous than 'We Can't Dance' from 1991. What a pity they did not record a second album in this line-up. The people (and radio) did not gave them that chance. I truly believe the power of Genesis still hasn't died. Let's wait for that reunion the older members are talking about..
Report this review (#90254)
Posted Tuesday, September 19, 2006 | Review Permalink
ZowieZiggy
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Seventeen years of hard times for the old Genesis fan since they produced "Duke" which was their last good effort (IMO). I saw the supporting live tour for it (1999) and I must reckon that it brought me back sometimes to "my" Genesis. They even played an accoustic set sitting on the edge of the stage (like Led Zep) and interpreting bits of "Supper's", "Moonlit" amongst others, just to give you the shiver ... but let's go back to this album. A major change in the line-up of course since Phil left some time ago to continue/ start his (very successful) solo career. Ray Wilson replaces him in the lead vocals and does a pretty good job. He is not a very well known singer though. He used to be the leader of the British band Stiltskin which produced a CD in 1994 ("The Mind's Eye). After his Genesis adventure, he will re-from the band and they will issue another CD in 2006 "She". As he said during the tour while he was introducing the acoustic medley : he was on "old" Genesis fan (although he was born in 1968) being only five while they produced "Supper's Ready" ! He will contribute to three songs : "Not About Us", "Small Talk" and "There Must Be Some Other World". On the drums, Genesis will enroll two drummers : Nir Zidkyahu who is an Israeli session drummer. He will be playing on several songs and will join them for the supporting tour. The other drummer is Nick Di Virgilio from Spock's Beard. Surprisingly enough, he will have the same itinerary as Phil. After the departure of their leader (composer, singer and keyboard player) Neal Morse, he replaced him in the lead vocal together while staying on the drums !

The title track of the album is a good song : very few since 1978 have reached this level even if it is quite FM oriented (like "Congo"). "Shipwrecked" is a nice and melodious ballad : could have been released on some of their earlier efforts ("And Then there Three" sounds the best reference for it). "Alien Afternoon" start quite like a poppy tune but turns out in one of their very few prog song of the last sixteen years. Very nice. "Not About Us" is another wonderful song (a bit similar to "Shipwrecked") : great melody, full of emotion "Uncertain Weather" is of the same vein. It goes on with "If That's What You Need", which again is a great emotional ballad. PG is not far away... Ray will also tell during the live set : "I was a kid when I was listening to Genesis. I had never dreamed to be the singer of this band". And he achieved it! "The Dividing Line" has its weaks (the intro), but still it is better than their previous average stuff. The finale is just great though : good keys and drumming (hey man, I must be dreaming) ! Of course, there are no epics, nor memorable songs for the future to come on this album; but there are almost no poor tracks either : only "Small Talk" and "There Must Be Some Other World". It will reach number two in the UK charts which is not too bad (in the US though the album only reached Nr. 54). I really belive that this album deserves three stars.

Report this review (#105030)
Posted Sunday, December 31, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars First of all, I would like to note that I highly disagree with the opinion that many people seem to have about this record of being so terrible. I think it was a step back from the good moments the last records with Phil Collins provided, but this record is better than Abacab or Genesis at any time of the day.

One proof of this statement is the strong drum work present here, which has nothing to envy to Phil Collin's in his good days (before he decided to rely his work on electronic percussion).

Another proof is that Tony Banks still seems to be capable of providing good atmospheres on the songs, not the best ones he has provided but not also the worst whatsoever.

However, I agree with the fact that this album has problems.

The first one is the new vocalist. First of all, I would like to make clear that I think that Ray Wilson is an excellent vocalist. Really. But his vocal style doesn't seem to fit with Genesis, specially considering that this band had gone through more than twenty years of career with two vocalist with similar vocal tones, and then, when they change again, they bring someone with a completely different style, pretty good and not suitable in this case.

And, in general terms, this album doesn't seem to add anything special to what we had listened previously, either from this band, or any other similar one. The style is also a bit outdated and there are some weak and unoriginal songs, although others are quite remarkable.

Then again, I would consider this record as an average, and sometimes a bit mediocre record from Genesis, but certainly a better one than their most unfortunate efforts.

Report this review (#108805)
Posted Thursday, January 25, 2007 | Review Permalink
1 stars I kinda trusted Banks and Rutherford's compositional abilities before listening to this album, so I my attitude towards the album was much less hostile than I could have been... and then again, by the time I'd heard the album enough times, it became obvious: it's just... not good.

And it's a pity, because I love the title track, for instance. And yet it fades out when it still had things to "say". And that happens again with many tracks, they seem to be building towards someplace and... they fade out. What the hell is that??? I had no problem with Ray Wilson's voice, but when he has to sing such uneventful songs, there's not much to do.

In any case, apart from the first song, a couple of ballads like Not About Us (very nice chorus) and maybe the closer "One Man's Fool", this album is mediocre at best.

Report this review (#112331)
Posted Friday, February 16, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars This really isn't a bad album at all. As other reviewers have said, if we didn't associate it with the Holy Genesis brand name, we'd be a little less harsh in our appraisal. It's well produced, Ray Wilson's voice is considerably better and less irritating than Phil Collins', and several of the songs are well constructed, solid tracks. It isn't really prog, more of another Mike and the Mechanics album, so probably shouldn't get more than three stars, and I really think that Rutherford should stop pretending to be a lead guitarist and get somebody decent, but basically a worthy addition to your music collection. Shame there are so many fade-outs though...
Report this review (#124924)
Posted Wednesday, June 6, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars In comparison to other Genesis works this is regular.But in comparison to prog rock of the ninetees this one is very good.

Here you can find very beautiful songs and RayWilson´s vocals helps a lot.

Ballads are gorgeous and the arrengements of all the songs are very creative.

This is a combination of neo prog and prog related very well done.

Production was excellent.

It´s a pitty that this combination of musicians could´nt or did not wanted to continue (knowing that PC was decided not to return).

Well,we still have to mantain the illusion of a new album.

4 stars

Report this review (#125545)
Posted Tuesday, June 12, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars One short comment- Alien Afternoon is very good and Congo, the hit-that-never-was is decent. You should download them from some service or site, or if your made of money, get the album for them. If you enjoy latter-day Genesis then it would make sense to own Calling All Stations. If you enjoy the better half of latter-day Genesis as I do, perhaps look into the album without purchasing it because it is interesting to hear Ray Wilson in the Peter and Phil role. It would be inappropriate not to sample this CD as a Genesis fan because Calling of Stations is perhaps the best indication of what (Then There Were Three) Genesis may look like if they do another album, along with the obvious and much feared solo work of Phil Collins since We Can't Dance.
Report this review (#127315)
Posted Monday, July 2, 2007 | Review Permalink
progaardvark
PROG REVIEWER
1 stars Tony Banks and Mike Rutherford decided to continue the Genesis name without Phil Collins. They brought into the fold a new singer named Ray Wilson who has a smooth, almost husky sounding voice. His voice is nice, but very different for Genesis-style music. The result of all this was the 1997 release of Calling All Stations.

Banks and Rutherford didn't return Genesis to their progressive rock roots (as was rumored at the time), nor did they continue in the exact same direction Collins had taken the group. They sort of took a new angle to pop rock with ever-so-slight prog tendencies. Unfortunately, the result did not fare well among pop rock fans, prog rock fans, or any fans in general. For me, Genesis now sounded like it had more in common with Alan Parsons (without the Project) in musical style. Basically pop rock songs (that sometimes went on longer than they should), with uninspired keyboard atmospherics (rather than the melodic playing we all loved from Banks), and uninspired drumming (I know some reviewers will disagree with that, but it really is uninspired). Why they didn't take advantage of the skills of Nick D'Virgilio (Spock's Beard) is beyond me. I'm sure Nick enjoyed playing with Tony and Mike, but I have to wonder if he ever thought in the back of his mind that this was some really boring stuff. At least it was good for his resumé (I think?).

For all practical purposes, this shouldn't even be considered a Genesis album. It has the feel of a collaborative project that Banks and Rutherford were a part of and lacks the cohesiveness of prior Genesis albums, even the bad ones. I've had this album for 10 years now and still wonder why I have it. Every time I try to give it another chance, I find myself skipping midway through every song. That has its advantages of course. I can listen to the whole album now in 15 minutes or less depending on how much brain degradation I'm willing to put up with. One star.

Report this review (#127425)
Posted Tuesday, July 3, 2007 | Review Permalink
1800iareyay
PROG REVIEWER
1 stars I must be losing my mind. I never thought I'd wish for the Collins-led Genesis. Calling All Stations deserves a mention simply because Rutherford and Banks mustered up the cajones to make an album without Collins. Sadly, that is all it deserves a mention for. Wilson's vocals are good, and Nick D'Virgilio's kit work is some of the best drumming on a Genesis album since Collins' golden days. However, Collins' bile summoning lyrics seem like Dylan-esque fits of brilliance when they rub up against these banal tunes. Rumors abounded that the band would take the lineup change as an excuse to return to their progressive roots. Instead, they venture further into pop territory than ever before, and set an all new low, which is in a way impressive.

Wilson's vocals do not match the lyrics or sound at all. As a member of the post-punk scene, he sounds woefully out of place on a pop album that teases fans with promises of prog. I wonder why he even accepted. I suppose the money was good. Rutherford's riffs and Banks' keyboards are excruciatingly mediocre. This album is so bad it makes Invisible touch and We Can't Dance look better by comparison. It is yet another blunder in the once proud band's career and should be avoided at all costs, because it rather hard to put an ice pack on your soul, which aches tremendously after listening to this.

Grade: F

Report this review (#132881)
Posted Sunday, August 12, 2007 | Review Permalink
Tarcisio Moura
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars NOt as bad as I initially thought it would be, nor the ´return´ to their prog roots as I read somewhere. In fact, it has some decent pop rock songs in it: Congo, It´s Not About Us and others. And even some interesting prog pop tunes like Alien Afternoon But there are also lame stuff like Shipwerecked. Ray Wilson´s voice is fine, but sounds nothing like Gabriel or Collins, so I really did not see the point of calling this a Genesis album. Rutherford-Banks Project? That would be more fitting, I guess. No wonder this album was not a success. And I am no too sad we did not see a follow up.

Still, it is done with the usual profissionalism and has a good production. If you like pop rock songs you´ll find some good tunes here. But, please, don´t look for anything that sounds like Genesis. Not even 80´s Genesis. It does not!

Two stars. For (hardcore) fans, collectors and completionists. And for pop rock lovers in general.

Report this review (#141470)
Posted Tuesday, October 2, 2007 | Review Permalink
UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars "Calling All Stations" is the 15th full-length studio album by UK pop/rock act Genesis. The album was released through Virgin Records in the UK and through Atlantic Records in The United States in September 1997. It´s the successor to "We Can't Dance" from 1991 and features one lineup change as lead vocalist/drummer Phil Collins left Genesis in 1996. He is replaced here by Ray Wilson (Stiltskin). Banks and Rutherford auditioned several singers but ultimately Wilson was chosen in close competition with David Longdon (later of Big Big Train). Wilson joined Genesis well into the writing sessions for "Calling All Stations", but did receive a couple of writing credits on the album. The drums on the album were recorded by the two session drummers Nir Zidkyahu and Nick D'Virgilio.

Changing lead vocalist was always going to be difficult for a big act like Genesis, but they had done it once before in the 70s when Collins took over from Peter Gabriel, and that change was arguably successful (at least meassured on album sales and popularity), but by 1996 Collins had been the lead vocalist in Genesis for 20 years, and having simoultaniously been greatly successful as a solo artist, his voice had become almost synonymous with the sound of Genesis...which is probably why Wilson never seemed to be fully accepted as the new lead vocalist in Genesis. "Calling All Stations" was a fairly successful release in Europe where the band also toured in support of the album, but they had to cancel their planned US tour, as a consequence of poor ticket sales, and subsequently Banks and Rutherford decided to discontinue the band.

It´s a bit of a shame really, because Wilson has a strong voice and a pleasant delivery, although he doesn´t have the most distinct sounding voice or vocal style. "Calling All Stations" is still unmistakably the sound of Genesis, featuring omnipresent keyboards by Banks and some intricate guitars/bass by Rutherford. But Wilson´s voice does make "Calling All Stations" an album which stands out as unique in the band´s discography.

The album features 11 tracks and a total playing time of 67:25, which is pretty long for an album, and "Calling All Stations" unfortunately isn´t devoid of less remarkable tracks/filler material and it could have prospered from being a little shorter/having a couple of tracks cut from the tracklist. There are some pretty strong compositions on the album like the opening title track, the "hit" single "Congo", "Alien Afternoon", and "The Dividing Line", but it is an album where many of the songs seem a little too long and sound a bit the same. It´s a production issue too, because the keyboard heavy production gives the music a massive atmosphere, which doesn´t suit some of the tracks. It´s a dark, melancholic, and pleasant listening experience, but some of the tracks scream for a more bright and less keyboard heavy production.

"Calling All Stations" is not a bad release by any means, but it´s not one of the better albums in the band´s discography either, and should the change on the singer position have worked in a longer perspective, there are simply too many features on the album which don´t work as well as they could. You can´t put a finger on the musical performances, but the songwriting and the sound production choices (the choice to fade-out most tracks is for example intensely annoying) aren´t up to par with the band´s usual standards. Still a 3 - 3.5 star (65%) rating is warranted.

Report this review (#159427)
Posted Monday, January 21, 2008 | Review Permalink
The T
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars This album is nowhere near half as bad as I expected it to be. Actually, at times it can be a very entertaining record. The biggest problem here lies not with the music, but with our conceptions due to a band name.

When one takes 3 members out of a 5-men formation, it will be quite difficult for the end results to be satisfactory, especially when what has been removed is pure talent. So, under that light, it's quite obvious that this album bears the GENESIS name only because the two founding members of that band decided against using a different, unknown and hence less commercial band name. Musically, this has little relation with what Banks and Rutherford achieved in conjunction with Gabriel, Hackett, and Collins.

This is not symphonic prog. Probably this is not progressive rock at all (even though songs tend to be longer than the average rock track, and even though there's a strong feeling of atmosphere in most of them), but just good old rock, maybe art rock in a way. So, the biggest error a person can make is coming into this disc trying to find the new "Supper's Ready" or another "A Trick of the Tail." Anybody who buys this album with those expectations in mind will be really, really disappointed.

But for those of us who weren't expecting old GENESIS and who discovered this record long after the band's career was over, it's quite a surprise to find a very enjoyable album. Yes, it's simple, it's not symphonic, but at times it's good, good rock.

Obviously, the musicianship is never even close to what was found in earlier records. Not because of lack of actual ability (I'm pretty sure Banks and Rutherford were even more technically proficient in 1997 than in the previous two decades), but because the music is absolutely far less demanding than in all the preceding albums, and also because some great talent was not there anymore. Banks' keys and Rutherford's bass are OK, simple and effective, never virtuosic. The drummers (both of them) are as accomplished as Phil Collins, yet the music of course doesn't demand much of them, especially when compared with, say, "Robbery Assault and Battery".

The vocals and guitars are the real victims here. Let's not bring Gabriel into the equation as he was history long before this album was released. But compared with Collins, Ray Wilson just has no magic to his voice. Maybe he's actually a better singer than Collins, but his style doesn't fit the music perfectly all the time. And in the guitar front, even though Rutherford as a guitarist never reached the peaks he reached as a bassist, in earlier albums he had to do more. Here the demands imposed on him are minimal (again, bringing Hackett into the conversation would be useless).

The music, as said before, is rock, light rock, maybe art rock. At times it takes the character of hard rock, at times it's radio-friendly rock. It has a little bit of ASIA, a little bit of AOR bands, a lot of 80's flavor (even though the album dates from well into the 90's), and for those who haven't heard old classics but are knowledgeable on new bands, a good comparison would be 4-men Spock's Beard, all the way down to D'Virgilio vocals who have some relation to Wilson's (curiously, D'Virgilio plays drums in 4 tracks on this record).

The best song is, without a doubt, the title track. Atmospheric, melancholic, it has a good melody and is memorable. Other good tracks are "The Dividing Line" (the most progressive and hard of the lot) and "There must be some other way". Most of the rest of the tracks are average in quality, enjoyable if forgettable. Maybe the worst is the most famous one, "Congo", especially for its atrocious lyrics.

In the end, an enjoyable disc that suffers because of the name of the "band" that released it. Really, this isn't GENESIS. This is another band, which plays decent rock music, and that happens to share with that legendary outfit the same keyboardist and bassist. I give it 2.5 stars, and as always, the round-up brings us up to 3.

Report this review (#176560)
Posted Friday, July 11, 2008 | Review Permalink
poslednijat_colobar
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars The last Genesis' studio album to date!The most underrated Genesis' album,too!And I don't know what's the reason for that.This is the most progressive album for Genesis in more than 17 years and the best album in 17 years(since 1980's Duke).And it is without Phil Collins.The new vocalist Ray Wilson gives some fresh ideas to the band.And we have some really good songs like Calling All Stations,Congo,Not About Us,The Dividing Line and Small Talk.Of course,far from the quality of the classic albums from 70s,but it's perfect album for relax without any complications in sound.Slightly better than its predecessor it is 3.3 stars,not enough for 3.5!It is good album for the standards of the dark 90s.I hope it is not the last album by Genesis and I believe they can return to form again!
Report this review (#179573)
Posted Thursday, August 14, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars A very good album indeed. It is very important that one does not listen to the tracks with a closed mind, expecting to hear a Genesis album from the 70s era. Life has moved on since then and the band's music evolved with the times. Production has changed and the approach to song writing has changed.

This is the album that Banks and Rutherford composed following the departure of Collins. A brilliant promising singer was brought it - RAY WILSON - and he immediately gives the album a darker orientation than usual - the opening track Calling All Stations makes this obvious from the start. There is a good mixture of compositions on the album, as customary of Genesis over the past years, and the musicianship is first class - including the drumming from Nir Z (an amazing powerful and skilled drummer). Listen to THE DIVIDING LINE and ONE MAN'S FOOL for great longish tracks with lots of instrumental interludes. CALLING ALL STATIONS and THERE MUST BE SOME OTHER WAY showcase Wilson's voice and hint at the hidden potential of this Scottish singer should GENESIS have proceeded to receord a follow-up album.

Repeated listenings is advised to really get into the feel of this album - artificial one or two listenings will not do. Perhaps one could relate this album to DUKE of 1980 - i see a similar style of writing with a bridge between the old and the new styles of this wonderful band. WILSON has a very unique rock voice that immediately commands one's attention - try out his solo albums, there is lots to discover there.

Report this review (#190464)
Posted Tuesday, November 25, 2008 | Review Permalink
lazland
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Like other recent reviewers of this LP, I, too, have come back to this after quite a long lay off, and it is not nearly as bad as some reviewers would have.

Sure, it deserves no more than 3 stars, but, having said that, for fans of Genesis since the old days, no LP since Duke has, with most of us hanging on to longer Banks inspired tracks and the odd gem of a single such as No Son of Mine.

I like Ray Wilson's voice, and I saw them live on this tour. I thought that Wilson was somewhat hard done by.

The title track is excellent, and I also like the atmosphere in Alienm Afternoon. One Man's Fool is a good bookend to the opener, and I quite like the quirky humour in Alien Afternoon.

Yes, Congo is awful, but the remaining tracks are certainly not out of synch with other later Genesis LPs and at least they tried something different rather than a Collins clone.

All Genesis fans retain their love for Gabriel and the earlier Collins era prog records. However, the later LPs all have their moments, and this one is no different.

Report this review (#190706)
Posted Friday, November 28, 2008 | Review Permalink
SouthSideoftheSky
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Symphonic Team
3 stars The dividing line

Calling All Stations is the last Genesis album to date and the sole Genesis album to feature vocalist Ray Wilson. It does not sound very much like any previous Genesis album, but that is to be expected with a new lead vocalist on board replacing such a distinctive voice as that of Phil Collins. Different might be a good thing though, and in this case it is! Personally, I think this is enormously much better than the weak Invisible Touch or Abacab albums and up to par with the good but uneven We Can't Dance. From a Prog perspective, there is no individual track on Calling All Stations that is as good as the very best songs from We Can't Dance (like the great Fading Lights), but there is also nothing here that is even remotely as bad as the worst songs from that same album (like Jesus He Knows Me or I Can't Dance). Calling All Stations is very even and consistent.

The new vocalist Ray Wilson does an excellent job, and I am very happy that they choose to work with someone with his own voice rather than someone who tried to sound like Collins/Gabriel. Indeed, it was wise and brave to make something different for once. It is hard to compare the music with other bands; maybe Hogarth-era Marillion and the David Gilmour-led Pink Floyd give some idea, but not quite still.

The songs are all emotional and melodic. And I like most of them. Yes, I even like Congo a lot as well as Shipwrecked! The instrumental work could be better - or rather, there could be more of it. The Dividing Line, though, has some very good keyboards and even a short drum solo!

Recommended for Genesis fans with an open mind.

Report this review (#191669)
Posted Wednesday, December 3, 2008 | Review Permalink
b_olariu
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars First, this is not the best album Genesis did since Then there were three, Duke is better by miles, and second this is not a weak album at all like 80% of the reviewers said here. Realy this Calling all stations from 1997 is not a bad album, of course is no more a Genesis album is more like a Rutherford/Banks album but as a whole is ok. Well is not among their best for sure but has some fine moments and good keys. Now, the voice of Ray Wilson is not bad at all, but is damn usual for Genesis, realy, with all that there are some fine vocal parts in this album like:Calling All Stations, If That's What You Need and Small Talk, the rest of the pieces are ok. The founding memebers of Genesis Banks and Rutherford are not shining here thats clear, but they've tried to do something decent, and most of the time they succeded. They've invited on drums the famous Nick D'Virgilio who has many contributions with bands like Tears for Fears, Spock's Beard, etc. So, the music and the atmosphere has sometimes a dark mood but also is very melodic aswell- ex Calling all statation, but as whole is not bad at all. The music is of course no longer the one that we know from the golden era, that is for sure, time are changeing, and Genesis did with Calling all stations a good job, nothing special but nevertheless an enjoyble album all the way. 3 stars for this little album in Genesiis career.
Report this review (#192613)
Posted Thursday, December 11, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars I understand the tendencies of genesis are very different from the seventies to now, so why dont we analyse them from the basis of their new sound. So we know that Peter Gabriel and Phil Collins are not anymore in the band, as a result of this we have a new and cool sound, the songs are more easy to listen,there are a lot of beautiful moments on this album,believe me,try to have an open MIND...forget about the past...listen the first song..Calling all stations...what do you think?and then,comes the voice of ray wilson...telling something different,good voice,is not gabriel,ok??IS NOT Collins,IS RAY WILSON..try to think that this is another band,before you listen to this try to change the name..ok??and enjoy the music.Music is Music,you dont have to wait ,because there not will be another selling england by a pound,so try to understand what music is,really.the chorus,the ballads,there are a lot of people who dont understand very well what is Music, they try to find in each album the music they want to hear.

...try it,listen,focus

Report this review (#197920)
Posted Thursday, January 8, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars First of all..Boo..Boo.. to all the so called Genesis "experts" for knocking down everything they did since Jesus (Peter) Gabriel left. C'mon on, get a grip! They just could not keep on doing what they were doing. Let's face it, everything before ATOTT was good and inspired, but quite medieval, don't you think? You really do have to move on with the times.

Best thing that happened to them is that P.G. left. He's an OK singer but has more of a broadway musical type of voice (and I hate broadway music) rather than a good solid mystical prog voice like Phil Collins has. He just blows Gabriel away on his Seconds Out performance. And Gabriel would not have been able to carry them to such heights on arguably their best album ever...Wind And Wuthering.

Anyways, enough of that! As for 'Calling All Stations ' ...beautiful album, regardless of who created it. If you're like me, you don't bother to read long winded song by song tearing apart parts of reviews All I want to know is kind of what to expect and if it is good or not. The only thing I don't like about this record is the fading out at the end of most songs. The ending is fantastic. Truly a great swansong to a great career. I compare it to the legendary Beatles jam on side 2 of Abbey Road..They know it's the end and are just bringing it to hell and high water. So ya...get it.

P.S. I really do like the P.G. stuff, but also like everything else that they did. You can't call yourself a true Genesis fan if you don't respect all that they have offered us...so there...

Report this review (#211685)
Posted Sunday, April 19, 2009 | Review Permalink
3 stars This, the final release from Genesis (so far, at least it seems), will perhaps remain the most divisive album in the bands' lengthy career. In case anyone is unfamiliar with the controversy, Calling All Stations is the album where Tony Banks and Mike Rutherford carried on as Genesis without it's longtime vocalist/drummer Phil Collins (who had departed the band in the mid-90's). Phil Collins had become such an iconic figure within the band that replacing him would seem an impossible task. The solution? Try something completely different...

Enter Ray Wilson, a singer whose style and range is closer to original Genesis vocalist Peter Gabriel without being an obvious sound-a-like choice. As tiresome as I had become of Genesis' songwriting direction from the pleasant, if unmemorable, We Can't Dance, I still had my doubts about shifts in the songwriting team and anyone stepping into Collin's lead vocalist role. Wilson's voice isn't as versatile as Collins, it's more restrained. Even so, his performance on CAS serves the music just fine.

I've heard some claim that CAS is a return to the bands' progressive roots. I don't find that claim to be accurate. To my ears it's more like a darker, moodier version of a Genesis 80's record (and that's not meant as an insult). Admittedly, when I first heard CAS a few months ago (as part of the 1983-1998 Box Set 5CD/5DVD), I wasn't impressed. It sat on the shelf for a few weeks, until curiosity pushed me towards giving the material another chance. Then, with a couple more spins, it all started to come together for me.

This album is dominated by ballads, conveying a variety of moods that are sometimes sweet ("If That's What You Need"), desperate ("Shipwrecked"), or mournful ("Uncertain Weather"). The title-track is the clear standout for this album; Mike's slicing guitar riffs brush up against Tony's icy keyboard sounds to set an ominous backdrop for Wilson's impassioned vocal performance. Also not to be overlooked is the fantastic drum work of Nick D'Virgilio and Nir Zidkyahu. Listen to the great drum work on the intro for "The Dividing Line", it holds up to any percussion work Collins recorded with the band.

As with the rest of Genesis's discography CAS is remastered with improved sound (although being just released a little over 10 years ago it probably needed the boost the least). On the DVD disc are excellent promotional videos, concert performances, and interviews. Unfortunately, the one item that should be here that isn't are the complete B-sides from this album, of which there were many. Those tracks are only on the bonus disc of the above-mentioned box set, and even there the collection is incomplete.

First impressions are important, and those without patience were probably quick to dismiss the new Genesis without giving the material time to really sink in.

(text copied from my Amazon review)

Report this review (#218114)
Posted Sunday, May 24, 2009 | Review Permalink
3 stars This is the so called "darker album" that Banks and Rutherford promised, but did not follow thru on. There are many problems on Calling All Stations but the biggest was the attraction to the sizable pop/rock audience that was built up over the years. It proved too tough to resist and what was produced was an album with several ballads with a singer who can't sing them. Ray Wilson was great on the rock songs, Dividing Line, Congo etc, but his voice isn't suited for the softer material. Another problem is that while the drumming was not at fault on the album, Chester Thompson wanted to be a full time Genesis member on this recording but Banks and Rutherford turned him down. Chester walked. I believe Daryl Stuermer also wanted in but met the same fate as the long time live drummer. I can't help but think it was one huge missed opportunity after another. The crushing blow was the manager's decision to tour stadiums in the USA and the refusal to scale back the tour and play arenas finished off the great band known as Genesis.

A strong 2 or a weak 3 rating, gets a 2 because of what it could have been.

Two months after the review above, which was a week after a deleted 1 star review, I actually sat down and listened to Calling All Stations for the first time in about 10 years. This time I listened without the expectations of the marketing departments "Return to the glory days" and "the darker album". I wanted to give the album a fair shot and well, I was quite surprised. I still like the rockier songs, I still think they made most all of the mistakes that I mentioned above. What did change is that Ray Wilson is a better singer then I originally gave him credit for. No, his voice would never get the ballads onto pop radio but he does have a style that appeals.

The thing that bothered me this time was the rather basic and plotting bass of several songs. Rutherford usually has something of interest for the followers. Anyway, I enjoyed CAS as never before. Still flawed, but a solid 3 stars.

BTW, On the Platinum Collection, Genesis really blew it again. They decided to fill the 3 disc set in reverse release order, EXCEPT that instead of starting with a song from CAS, they hid it as the last song on the first disk. As if they were embarrassed by it. They should have opened with Dividing Line, drum solo and all, to say we are back, like they did when they released Trick of the Tale with the mighty Dance on a Volcano leading off.

Report this review (#219409)
Posted Monday, June 1, 2009 | Review Permalink
3 stars The virtually forgotten, and woefully under-appreciated tip of the Genesis tail is "Calling All Stations" the bands first and only "post-Phil" studio album. It was an unmitigated commercial flop. A tour promoting the album was 86'd halfway through in Europe and cancelled altogether in the States. That's a real shame, because musically it stands up to some of the best of Genesis. It contains (IMHO) one of the best cuts ever for the band in "Uncertain Weather" a moving song about an unknown soldier in an old photograph. The final cut "One Man's Fool" is an eerie condemnation of terrorism, describing a vivid 9/11 scene. Not so strange, except the album was released in 1997, almost exactly 4 years before the fateful day. If you are American this track will give you chills.

Like "We Can't Dance" "Calling All Stations" features cuts that harken back to the Genesis of old, along with those obviously tagged for radio play (Not About Us, If That's What You Need), as well as the 'Mike and Mechanicsish' "Don't Talk Back" All fine for this Genesis fan, but, in the end, radio audiences failed to embrace the somewhat curious choice of Ray Wilson to replace Phil Collins. That coupled with the even more curious choice of "Shipwrecked" as the first release- arguably the weakest cut on the album, and certainly the least 'Genesis-sounding' track, proved to be a lethal concoction rendering Calling All Stations dead on arrival. The die-hard Genesis fan wonders what the album would have accomplished commercially had Collins handled the vocals, and aided songwriting (and more importantly wonders how much better it would have sounded). Wilson's voice is often stretched, and the limits are obvious. Several of the songs were probably written with the belief Phil would be singing them. In fact, for Ray to cover several of Genesis Phil Collins led songs on tour, they had to be performed in a lower key. It could be, though, that the shadow of "We Can't Dance's" unbelievable multi-platinum commercial success was just too big to emerge from, and that the album was doomed regardless of the quality of the music, or whether or not Phil was at the mic. If you are a Neo-Genesis fan that enjoys the album cuts from We Can't Dance and Invisible Touch and you have not given Calling All Stations a whirl, find it and give it some spins. If you are an old fan that knows what "And Then There Were Three" means, you have the album somewhere so dig it up, blow off the dust, and give it a few dozen run-throughs.

While 'rediscovering' this LP over the last year, I have found that most of the reviews, including many the ones here, simply rehash many of the initial critical analysis, and that there seems to be very little original thought. I wonder if many Genesis fans simply wrote this work off without really ever listening to the album. Since discovering Genesis in the early 80's, I have never fully appreciated an album without many run-throughs. A love for a Genesis album starts with an appreciation and enjoyment for the most approachable tracks, and there are several on Calling All Stations. It ends when you no longer skip "Who Dunnit" while listening to Abacab (never really figured that one out, myself), and you realize how amazing the body of work is. If you read a review 12 years ago, ran through the tracks, said "man, they were right," and then shelved it, shame on you! :-) Give it another shot.

Report this review (#246653)
Posted Tuesday, October 27, 2009 | Review Permalink
3 stars C'mon.."Calling All Stations" is breathtaking with its sweeping foray into the "adult complexities" These songs are mature subject matter. The title track features a hipnotic drum beat that is easy. Bank's leading tones on the synth, c"mon you know you love it. "Congo" is laughable "Alien Afternoon" blows me away when the drums come in. Who"d of thought? But the song is about LOSING IT and wishing you had it all back. And basically this album is about the despair of lost Feelings. Ray Wilson's voice is beautiful on "It's Not About Us". "Dividing Line" tries to confound me (What will you turn to? I know - a drum solo). It's sad, really the album, but it had to be done.; the telling of hurt and loss. When I first played "Calling All Stations", I thought finally an album with words and feelings similar to mine. It moves and grooves but watch out! The dividing line tells, and it hurts. But definetely check it out, it will blow you away. Where Else are you gonna find such a smooth track as "If That's What You Need".? Didn't think so. I'll always Always have a special place in my heart for the Opening song. It is my favorite Bank's sound and I'm always enraptured by it's dark mood.

"Three" stars

Report this review (#249453)
Posted Tuesday, November 10, 2009 | Review Permalink
Marty McFly
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Errors and Omissions Team
2 stars Sad thing that I actually feel sorry for them. What's more important, making good music, making successful music, or making music at all ? And then you have to add 1)for band 2)for casual listeners 3)for musical critics (or their freelance derivative, us, reviewers).

This is normal pop-rock, together with everything it means. It's pleasant music, not as dark as "Genesis", more bright, but also more pop-like. While this albums has rather a lot of melodies, they're mostly not-interesting ones (think shallow, not complicated, intriguing, intelligent). It's not necessarily bad music, the problem is that it's full of nothing. Maybe my expectations were (with intentional finding of prog music) raised, but it only supports my theory that this isn't so much worth listening. There's a lot of better bands.

2(+)

Report this review (#259887)
Posted Friday, January 8, 2010 | Review Permalink
3 stars I don't think the problem is what is there, or who was involved, I think that the biggest problem with this record is who 'wasn't' involved. The songs all have the same Synthesiser sound and 80's/90's pop with a more progressive sound to it. Imagine Phillips and Hackett were back in the band. Now Phillips would give you his acoustic/spanish guitar backdrop, which is what this thing REALLY needs, and Hackett would give you his explosive guitar solos. The year before this came out Hackett released a Genesis covers album and that year Anthony Phillips released 'Dragonfly dreams', a competent album containing acoustic guitar pieces and a few synthesiser solos as well. If these elements came into the Synth-heavy tired-sounding Genesis-pop of 'Calling all stations' then we might have a different animal on our hands. I think that Hackett's Spanish guitars and Phillips' acoustic rhythm section are just what this album needs.

That said, I don't think this is a one-star album It is probably a three star album, I like some of the songs; 'Not about us' is a catchy modern pop-song, 'The dividing line' is a cool prog/rock song with great drumming and a hypnotic keyboard riff that carries you for most of the song. 'Alien Afternoon' is a colourfully hazy sounding reggae-groove prog song. Another song with 'hazy' keyboards is 'Uncertain Weather', which has an anthemic chorus and beautiful synthesiser work. The album closer 'One man's fool' starts off slow and keeps building up to a dramatic ending.

As far as this album being 'unsuccessful' it was actually quite popular in Europe. According to 'Wikipedia' this was the first album to chart in 'France' and there are a couple of countries where this was the best charting album for them or best charting in a long time. But anyway since when was prog judged by commercial success?

Anyway I think this album is not one of the best Genesis albums, but I think it is better than 1 star but maybe I have misjudged it. I also think it would have been better if some of the old/other members had been involved. Instead they were struggling to find a new sound.

Report this review (#278637)
Posted Tuesday, April 20, 2010 | Review Permalink
tarkus1980
PROG REVIEWER
1 stars The story of this album began when Phil, finally realizing that he really had no reason to keep up his involvement in Genesis, formally announced his departure in 1996, though he left the door open to work in the context of the band in future projects. He probably assumed that Mike and Tony would just let the band go and not do something like, say, hire a younger replacement and go back into the studio. But, I guess Mike and Tony felt they had something to prove: after all, they had been the core of Genesis since the very beginning, and between them they'd written the bulk of the music in the band's history. Just for that, they certainly had as much right to do what they wanted under the banner of Genesis as Phil did. Plus, Mike and Tony had clearly developed some remorse for the direction the band had taken the last while, because CAS is a much more serious, art-rock- based album (though with a good amount of pop elements thrown in) than the band had done in a very long time. The new vocalist mentioned from before, Ray Wilson, came from a neo-prog band called Stiltskin, and both of the drummers used on the album had prog-rock pedigrees of their own (supposedly Chester Thompson wanted to finally become the band's studio drummer, but he was turned down, much to his chagrin). The path was now clear for Mike and Tony to make the kind of album that they really wanted to make, without having to bend their wills to Phil's increasingly schlocky ideas.

At first glance, on paper, this situation doesn't seem like it should be the breeding ground for such a terrible album as this one turned out to be, but closer inspection makes it seem like this should have been expected all along. Tony and Mike might have had a long history as the core of the band, but by 1997, Invisible Touch was more than a decade old, and that had been the last time they'd been dominant contributors to Genesis. Plus, for all of the random artsy-fartsy trappings they'd thrown into their albums, how long had it been since they'd made an album that was predominantly art-rock? You'd have to go back at least to And Then There Were Three, and probably to Wind and Wuthering, to find a Genesis album that has as much of an art-rock base as this one does, and that had basically been two decades. They probably really thought that they could just pick things back up again from where they left off, but that's an awfully long period for artistic muscles to atrophy, and it probably wasn't reasonable on their parts to assume that they could get back into the swing of things this easily.

When you come down to it, this album has three significant problems: it's unfortunate that those three problems are the vocals, the lyrics, and the music. An elaboration of each now follows:

The vocals: In prepping the world for this album, Tony Banks made a comment that Ray Wilson, in terms of vocal style, reminded him a bit of Peter Gabriel, and I do admit that I can hear it a bit in that Ray has a bit of the same hoarse "smokiness" that Peter did. I've actually heard recordings of Ray doing some of Genesis' older material, and he doesn't sound terrible, so I know that just calling him a bad vocalist is probably an overstatement. On this album, though, he shows a crippling inability or unwillingness to vary the tone and mood of his voice, and it gets on my nerves pretty quickly. I've said it many times in my life, and I'll say it again: Genesis music (especially music written by Tony and Mike) is very dependent on effective vocal performance, requiring interesting shifts in mood and tone, and the kind of singing done on most of this album is simply not going to cut it for music written by them. Plus, there are some moments where I really have to wonder if the part I'm listening to was really the best available take: listen to the way Ray's voice weakens at the end of the verses, before the chorus, in "If That's What You Need," and tell me you don't come away unimpressed.

The lyrics: I get that Tony and Mike wanted to write lyrics that were more mature and more serious than what had dominated the last albums, I do. My issue is that the "maturity" of this album takes a form that I find incredibly obvious and hackish. Pretty much every song on this album is about regret at decisions made in life (basically continuations of "Fading Lights"), or about failed relationships, or of unhappiness at the passage of time and the loss of youth, or similar things. It further hurts that these topics are mostly handled in straightforward, didactic manners, with only limited use of metaphor of lighthearted moments to spice things up a bit. I'm fine with creating a centralized mood through a consistent lyrical theme, but I don't want to feel like I'm listening to the middle-age equivalent of bad teenage poetry when I put on an album. For all of the faults of WCD, that album had "Jesus He Knows Me" and "I Can't Dance" to throw off the monotony, and such diversions are badly wanted here.

The music: Monotonous vocals and dull, oppressive lyrics are one thing, but they're made all the worse when combined with dull, oppressive music. As expected, the dominant instrument on this album is Tony's keyboards, and they're much more focused on setting a big important mood than on doing anything especially interesting. There are a lot of passages that are based around keyboard solos, but those solos are generally duller than anything Tony had done before, and they don't do the album any favors. Mike's guitars vary between uninspired acoustic playing, bits of playing reminsicient of his 80's style, and even some horrific moments where he decides to try and pull off something resembling grunge (grungey guitars and BANKSYNTHS??!!!). Except for parts of the last couple of minutes of the last track, the tempos never take a step beyond mid-tempo, and this goes a long way to making the album a pain to listen to. And finally, the drums mostly plod along in a simplistic way, except for a few "artsier" moments where they clang aggressively and make a racket, without much good effect.

Amidst all of the badness of the album, I have to admit there's a three-track bit near the beginning that, had it been released as a separate EP, would have at least mustered a mediocre grade. "Congo," if nothing else, has that 40-second introduction, featuring a Latin- style instrumental passage that differs from everything else on the album. Plus, it has a chorus that's memorable without being gross, and those two features combined are enough to make me forgive the fact that the rest of the song has the same arrangement problems as the rest of the album (that rising synth line in the chorus is just really tacky). "Shipwrecked" wouldn't have been one of the best tracks on WCD, but wouldn't have been one of the worst either, and there's something kinda sweet about the chorus and the accompanying synth line (the verses are forgettable, but hey, I"m trying to be positive here). And finally, "Alien Afternoon" is really the one instance on the album where a lengthy piece follows the Genesis tradition of lengthy songs that actually have multiple decent ideas and that bother to go somewhere. It's nothing spectactular, but I genuinely enjoy moments like the "gotta get to work on time" lines in the first half (with a decently busy bass-and-drum pattern chugging in the background), and the encoded "we are home" backing vocals in the second half actually work as a nice enough emotional climax. It might not be a diamond in the rough, but it sure isn't dirt, either.

The other eight songs, though, are abysmal. A few of them have decent enough ideas, but the main problem is that they all feel like they'd do better belonging to other songs. "Uncertain Weather," for instance, has a nice enough emotional climax in the "long agoooooooooooo ...." vocal lines, but there's not really any kind of build up to it to justify it, and certainly nothing especially interesting in the rest of the song. "Dividing Line" has a decent enough synth-line (similar to the kind of synth line you'd find on Abacab), but it's certainly not enough to carry the overblown, noisy tunelessness of a track that lasts almost eight minutes. Oh, and the very end of "One Man's Fool," the aforementioned last track, does have a nice bit of exhiliration to it; too bad the rest of the track doesn't.

The rest of the album is irredeemable. The title track is so bad that I find it fascinating: the combination of the synths (set on "shock and awe" mode), and the metallic guitar sounds, and the plodding drums, and the rambling, virtually non-existent vocal melody, and the uninteresting vocal tone, and the whiny lyrics about regretting decisions made in life, make it almost seem like an experiment in creating the kind of song I'd be guaranteed to hate. "If That's What You Need" would have been on the bottom-rung of the WCD ballads, while "Not About Us" would have better belonged to any one of a thousand generic "alternative" bands. "Small Talk" almost sounds like Genesis trying to make a song in the mode of something the Backstreet Boys would have attempted, except with terrible keyboard parts splattered everywhere, and it's probably the worst Genesis song ever. And finally, "There Must Be Some Other Way" is just a giant eight-minute bombastic bore.

So ok, this isn't the worst album ever made, and I can name more than a few parts I like. The bad parts are so overpowering, though, that I really can't get myself to care about the good ones much. Some Genesis fans have bought into this, but I really don't see myself joining that school of thought any time soon.

Report this review (#279410)
Posted Sunday, April 25, 2010 | Review Permalink
1 stars As Ray Wilson sings it "I've lost all sense of direction". All the horrendous clichés which have dogged Genesis since the 80s appear at the start: metronomic hard drumming, formulaic crying guitars, dull platitudinous 'emotional' lyrics about "it tearing me apart", with a new addition: the tired hoarse vocal style that has sadly become the norm for "expressive" singing. Thus begins the last Genesis album with its forgettable title track. In the past the opening of a Genesis album had been an attention-grabber, an enticement to listen to the rest. Since Invisible Touch at the latest, the opener has been a dreary piece which would have previously been filler if included at all. Much the same applies to "Congo" and "shipwrecked". "Alien Afternoon" starts off as if it will more interesting, but no such luck. This is however the best track on the album. The next couple of tracks follow much the pattern, with bland melodies, and dull arrangements. "The dividing line" is better, at least in terms of the accompaniment. The vocal line is again horrible. Some energetic and imaginative drumming though. "Uncertain weather" has an attractive chord progression. This elicits 'sensitive' vocals from Ray Wilson, where his voice caresses the words. Yuck. And what he is singing is tuneless. "Small Talk" is an awful harder number. More smooth synths and sensitive vocals appear on the 8 minute "There must be some other way". Yes indeed, there must be some other way, genesis boys, like giving up. Another routine emotional chorus. Pounding drums dominate the instrumental central section with a feeble keyboard solo before the sensitive part return with lyrics like "together, forever". This is a long way from the fountain of Salmacis. The final track (hallejuah!) is another 8 minute yawnfest of the familiar ingredients: industrial strength drum sounds, "sensitive" vocals etc. Don't waste your money.
Report this review (#300999)
Posted Thursday, September 30, 2010 | Review Permalink
3 stars Released on the tailend of the bands career, this album tends to be slamed by critics and fans alike. Let's review the positive aspects: - The production is very good, I would even go as far as to say it is one of the best ever for this band; - Brian Wilson's voice can imprint a dark tone to the music of Genesis that neither Phil Collins nor Peter Gabriel could, even though his range is more limited than the singers previously mentioned. - There are a lot of moments on this record that recall the best that they did in the 80's which brings us to the negative aspects: - There are lots of slow tempo songs, not exactly ballads, but still... - Even though Wilson tries very hard he doesn't have de dark magestic personality of Peter Gabriel or the Clownish persona of Phil Collins. That said this record will only be known by many hardcore fans, and loved or even appreciated by only a few. Still a record worth exploring.
Report this review (#308926)
Posted Monday, November 8, 2010 | Review Permalink
3 stars Like many of the early Genesis fans, I had lost interest in the band after the departure of Hackett but for me this also coincided with developing other interests. For about 15 years until the late 1990's I was out of touch with the prog music scene due to other life commitments. I had no record player or CD player and was banned from playing (early) Genesis at home, so I had to resort to cassettes and Walkman.

In the mid 1990's I purchased a PC with CD player and a cheap set of speakers but had not really thought much about music. As my marriage was falling apart, for some reason I found myself thumbing through the sale racks at a local music store. Here was a copy (actually lots of copies) of a Genesis album "Calling All Stations". I had heard nothing about this (through newspapers or radio or TV). And from the cover there was no indication that this was the same band. But for $1.99 it was worth a chance.

Opening up the cover showed that Genesis was now Rutherford and Banks with a new singer Ray Wilson. I did not know of Ray or the other musicians. Most of the songs were quite long (over 5 minutes) but there were no instrumentals and from the lyric sheet these were to be wordy songs.

Of course I had heard the "then there were three" Genesis on the radio and TV in the intervening period. I generally found their music interesting but not really comparable to the early years. Other than the single releases I had not heard any of the Genesis album tracks.

My first impressions of "Calling All Stations" were positive. Clearly not the same band as the 70's but then I am not the same person. Ray has a very good voice and carries more emotion than Phil. I like the laid back style that Ray used.

There are really no bad songs on this CD. It makes for good background listening and I am always surprised by the number of people who actually want to know what is playing and then have gone and bought their own copy later. I would rate most songs as excellent (3-4 stars) as 'Adult-Oriented-Rock (AOR)' but only 2 or 3 stars as Prog.

The longer tracks are all very good and include some nice keyboard or guitar solos and interesting arrangements - Alien Afternoon (7:50), Dividing Line (7:44), There Must Some Other Way (7:53), One Man's Fool (8:45). These would all be at least 3 stars on a prog scale.

Overall, this CD is not as bad as most reviewers have indicated. 30% have given this one star but this is clearly because they are comparing against early Genesis (which was all 5 star material) and not against prog in general.

3 stars - some good (but not outstanding) prog tracks here with superior AOR songs. Recommended but non-essential in a collection.

Report this review (#350122)
Posted Saturday, December 11, 2010 | Review Permalink
2 stars Hmmmm.... While this is an improvement over the god awful release like GENESIS and INVISIBLE TOUCH, it is a pretty small improvement indeed. First: Ray Wilson is no Peter Gabriel and no Phil Collins. He is not bad, just not distinctive. I don't think I could even recognize his voice again on anything else. The music skill is good as usual on any Genesis project, but I do miss Phil's distinctive drumming sound. Good songs?- I like the title track and "The Dividing Line". I can tolerate "Congo" and "Shipwrecked". All else is instantly forgettable. Is it a terrible album? No, not really, but it isn't really that good either. Not much progressive is happening here. 2 stars
Report this review (#436188)
Posted Wednesday, April 20, 2011 | Review Permalink
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.
Report this review (#463034)
Posted Thursday, June 16, 2011 | Review Permalink
2 stars Terminal, no more stations.

Introduction

As someone might have noticed, I'm doing some reviews these days, mostly 'cause I'm changing music on my mp3 and for a bit of grief too: the time pass, and if 9 years ago (at the time I write this) I was a prog newbie now I'm searching for new music to listen, losing much of good albums that were on my mp3 reader without even being listened anymore. The feel with this release is the same: old good friends forgotten, while their directory remain empty cause I'm bored about their music, even if it's a prog milestone!

Main Theme

Gen were my 1st, I've started with them when I was only 14 and I remember how much I liked The Lamb... & In the cage... I remeber too when I've put on Duke and the ''other'' Gen releases... they were not prog, they sounded wrong! This album was released in '97, I've bought it like 6 years later (after the news that Gen were no more), the album looks like a work undone: we get a sub-prog start 'till almost 5th song, this's good if you think about Who dunnit?, but incomparable with even Many too many, really I liked the Wish you were here-like start of Shipwrecked and the ambient start of Alien Afternoon, but then you can jump the poppish Not about us, and you got the same feeling 'till Uncertain weather: nice back drums, decent song, nothing more. Skip track 9 and 10, One man's fool is maybe the best effort from them, again good timing and again some lights, but too weak to consider it 100% prog.

Coda I remeber when was a child looking in my father disks, I remeber a lot the fox in the red dress, the bench, Gabriel's face with no mouth, the witch reflected in the mirror as a young lady and the lonely tree, all milestones (the one I didn't mentioned is my fave... I admit), all good composition and I cannot blame Gen for the others: from Duke they became famous, position #1 after position #1 'till this one, which isn't a good epitaph for those great works. Two stars.

Report this review (#472597)
Posted Thursday, June 30, 2011 | Review Permalink
1 stars Pop rock. The most populated genre of them all. The music scene is overpopulated with pop rock bands. These days, it cost next to nothing to record and release a CD on an indiependent label. The lucky ones even get to play a pub or a club. Mostly working men clubs in England. A dying scene, that is with the introduction of the smoking law which means you have to go out in the bitterly cold rain to smoke cigarettes. That scene is dying and so is the chances for a band to shift out a run of 1000 album (minimum run of a CD). So when a band produce a run of 1000 CDs, they normally ends up with a surplus stock of 950 CDs. Believe me; that is a solid physical volume of unwanted stock which takes up too much space.

Why this disaster ? Most bands cannot write a good song which someone else likes. They believe their songs are great, but the great public avoids the albums like the plague itself. Ditto for the reviewers in the magazines and newspapers. The bands ships out the CDs, but does not get any reviews. The reason is that most reviewers could not be bothered to listen to and reviewing sub standard amateur pop rock albums. Even the pirate websites in Russia and everywhere else avoids these albums like the plague. It is safe to say that this is the least pirated scene in the music world.

All this relates to the final Genesis album Calling All Stations. This album is indeed a pop rock album bereft of any good songs or any decent melody lines. It sold and it sold well on the Genesis name alone. Mostly because the fans wanted to witness this train crash first hand.

The music here is generic pop rock with power ballads vocals from Ray Wilson. I have no issues with his vocals. He is just passenger on this crashed train. And it is a very ugly train crash too. There is nothing here an amateur pop rock could had done worse or better. This is an album all reviewer would had avoided as it was embalmed in putrid acid. The music is horrible, in short.

1 star

Report this review (#561349)
Posted Wednesday, November 2, 2011 | Review Permalink
Chicapah
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars I suspect that when it came time to name this album it was extremely tempting to go with "And then there were two" but fortunately good taste ruled the day and they steered clear of the obvious. Having said that, I would've opted for the more appropriate moniker of "Where the f*** did everyone go?" but then that's just one of a myriad of reasons why I'm just a fan of the group and not a member. While I was late getting to the Genesis party back in '76 I caught up quickly, accumulating the albums I'd missed in short order. They then established for themselves a secure place in the top five list of my favorite bands and, despite several missteps on their part, stayed there for a decade until the blatant commercialism of their "Invisible Touch" LP finally convinced me that the prog monster who'd once possessed them was dead and wasn't coming back to visit. I finally got around to listening to "We Can't Dance" from '91 about 16 years after its release and I found it to be better than expected but it was still a far throw from the jaw-dropping grandeur of records such as "Selling England by the Pound," confirming that I hadn't missed much by ignoring it all that time. I took much the same attitude towards "Calling All Stations" except that it only took me 14 years to give it a hearing.

Say what you will about Phil Collins but after the group bled "We Can't Dance" for all it was worth and his pals Mike Rutherford and Tony Banks started preparing for the manufacture of studio album #15 he politely but firmly said "enough's enough already," curtsied and exited stage left. With that turn of events most folks in Mike and Tony's patent leathers would read the writing on the wall and humbly succumb to the inevitable without resistance. But evidently these two cockeyed optimists were convinced that the golden goose known as Genesis had at least one more viable egg to lay so they took on the arduous task of finding more replacement parts. There were studio drummers aplenty (in this instance Nick D'Virgilio of Spock's Beard and a capable stickman named Nir Zidkyahu) who'd gladly help out but lassoing a front man/vocalist was a much trickier proposition. After approaching almost every available male singer on planet earth (including the likes of Fish and Paul Carrack) with the presumptive carrot that consisted of the "privilege" to audition for the open spot they at last settled on a handsome Scottish lad by the name of Ray Wilson, had some new T-shirts made up and set about making a fresh start as the 2nd three-man version of Genesis.

A heavy beat reminiscent of what Collins laid down for "Mama" establishes a strong, familiar foundation beneath the title cut but when the vocal comes in it immediately ceases to sound like Genesis. It's not that Ray stinks; he's just below average in comparison with those who preceded him, two of rock's most inimitable singers. Rutherford's guitar work is fluid and Banks' keyboards are, as usual, broad and filling but the song never takes off to take you anywhere. "Can anybody tell me/tell me exactly where I am/I've lost all sense of direction," Ray cries (and we now have reason to worry). "Congo" is next, a catchy pop rock tune that avoids being condescending yet, on the other hand, exceptional is not an adjective I would ever attach to it. Strangely, as if the song had an expiration date, the fade out is more like a time-sensitive, abrupt edit than a natural ending. "Shipwrecked" is a ballad sporting a very predictable structure. It comfortably fits into the same mold that produced the band's string of mellow hit singles throughout the 80s and into the early 90s (a trend that constantly eroded their reputation as risk-takers). "Alien Afternoon" is a specimen of their unique but corny quirkiness that popped up from time to time in their post-Hackett catalogue of work. That tactic isn't off-putting in small doses but still decidedly less than satisfying when one considers their rich prog pedigree. "Not About Us" is an acoustic guitar-based ballad that further pushes the album into the dubious category of contemporary rock. Not that there's anything so horrible about that particular genre but progressive it most assuredly ain't. The lyrics of "Nevermore to go wandering/never leaving my world behind" may be a tell-tale glimpse into Mike and Tony's conservative viewpoint for this project. No pain, no gain, fellas.

"If That's What You Need" is a case of the same, only different. It's fair romantic fare and all but sitting through it makes me pine for brighter days when Genesis could charm the corduroys off me with love songs like "Your Own Special Way" that didn't make me feel like a schmuck for liking them. Nir's rolling toms and Mike's gritty guitar dominate the intro to "The Dividing Line," a number that at least owns a pinch of unpredictability in a pseudo-prog way. Speaking of drums, Zidkyahu turns in a fine performance and his tubs are well-tuned for the job assigned to him. The apex of the album is "Uncertain Weather." Tony's silky-smooth synths provide a deep backdrop for this stately composition that showcases some of the revamped group's more admirable traits. Its grand, melodic progression harkens this Genesis fanatic back to their last great record, the excellent "Duke." They follow that with "Small Talk," an example of a trio of Brits trying their damndest to write something funky. Their hearts were in the right place, no doubt, but they inevitably overlooked the crucial ingredient of a solid groove to give it life. In their favor they do inject some interesting dynamics that add color but the tune's just too plain to shine. "There Must be Some Other Way" is more descriptive of this effort than they intended, I'm sure, but it's remarkably representative. The number's cavernous aura is commendable but by now the absence of Phil's creative third opinion and influence becomes a factor as the tunes start to run together sound-wise. It's not helped by Banks' extended instrumental segment that meanders without focus, either. "There's nothing much left to say/we have said it once and said it all again/this time we have gone too far/it could never be the same," Ray sings. Can I get an amen? Yet another subtle, moody beginning is too familiar at this point to make the closer, "One Man's Fool," special. Punchy drums cause it to evolve into a faux rocker yet the central problem is that they never leave the confines of their comfort zone and that's unfortunate. Mike and Tony were in an enviable position. They could've done something radical and/or exploratory but they took the low road and played it safe. Too bad.

"Calling All Stations" climbed to the #2 spot in the UK but consumers stateside weren't impressed at all and it failed to break into the top 50 LPs over here. It was so overlooked, in fact, the band's scheduled US tour had to be scrapped due to wholesale indifference. Albums of this nature that have all the earmarks of being a last-ditch attempt at patching a gaping hole in a once-proud ocean liner's hull rarely achieve significant success and this record was not the exception. Yet there are two things Rutherford, Banks and Wilson can take away from this album. (A) Mediocre as it is, it's still superior to the bottom-feeding, eponymous turd the group squeezed out in '83 and (B) kudos for trying their best to perform CPR on the pulse-deficient body of Genesis, efforts that proved to be in vain. No amount of slick, shiny paint could make this old clunker run again when what it needed most was a tank full of high octane, experimental fuel. Two stars.

Report this review (#592134)
Posted Tuesday, December 20, 2011 | Review Permalink
AtomicCrimsonRush
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Symphonic Team
1 stars "Calling All Stations.... The Genesis Project is a failure.... I repeat, The Genesis Project is a failure..... Over and out!"

Who are these guys? No prog, and now No Collins. Well, without Collins the Rutherford and Banks attack on Genesis reached its pinnacle with this Love Beach of maddening mediocrity and sad sack songs. The main flaw in the album is threefold, the lyrics, the music and the vocals. So there is nothing much left to salvage on this sinking ship. Genesis really hit the iceberg on this one and went unceremoniously glug glug glugging to the bottom of the sea. Interestingly this is the last studio album that I obtained and certainly stunned me for all the wrong reasons. It does not sound like Genesis though tries very hard to maintain a distinct mainstream melodic sound. If this were the main problem it would not be a massive failure, at least in terms of commercial radio airplay success. However unfortunately the radio all but ignored the album and non-Genesis fans would be hard pressed to recall anything from the album. Hardly any of the songs rear their heads on compilation albums for good reason; they are no flaming good! Collins admittedly had his reasons for deserting the Genesis machine and his solo success was unbridled, many people being drawn back to Genesis due to Collins top 10 chart dominations. However if one were to hear this album out of context they may never want to dip their toes into other great Genesis albums such as all the Gabriel era albums and many of the Collins led albums such as Wind and Wuthering.

So what do we have on this album that raises the hackles of the prog community and indeed Genesis addicts? It begins with perhaps the best track, Calling All Stations sounding like a quiet keyboard driven Whitesnake without the teeth. The lyrics symbolise unwittingly the demise of Genesis "Calling all stations, Can anybody tell me, tell me exactly where I am, I've lost all sense of direction, Watching the darkness closing around me, Feeling the cold all through my body, That's why I'm calling all stations, In the hope that someone hears me, A single lonely voice." This fades away after some melancholy lead guitar. Next on the menu is Congo with African tom toms and absolutely horrible vocals that may remind some of Duran Duran.

Moving on, we have Shipwrecked that begins promisingly with a radio switching frequency effect and then the synths chime in. The sugary love sick lyrics meander and succeed in inducing nausea. Banks sounds like he is falling asleep on the keyboards and there is even a retro feel bassline that plods along. The lyrics state "I'm a million miles from anywhere?." And this song is a million miles from progressive Genesis genius.

Alien Afternoon begins with some dreamy spacey ambience that grabbed my attention and then it breaks into horrible percussion and a boring repetitive melody. What a waste as this one had promise, a cool intro and proggy title is thrown out the window to become an absolute throwaway. It runs for almost 8 minutes but is filled with polyfiller repetition and slow Banks synths. It has very messy layered lyrics and too much ad libbing, and frankly should have been trimmed right down. Hit the skip button and move onto Not About Us, a single on the album. It failed on the charts and is a pity really as Ray sounds okay here. Once again though it is not a Genesis sound and it is criminal that they did not simply change the band's name if they were going to go out on a limb with songs like this.

If That's What You Need is a very slow melancholy song that kind of grows on you eventually and is at least catchy enough to be worthwhile. The Dividing Line is another heavy percussion thing with a sombre melody. Ray certainly can sing and proves it here, with a more aggressive approach. The keyboard phrases are pronounced and lock in nicely with a heavier guitar crunch. Uncertain Weather is a very slow Banks dominated synth. It simply flows along like golden syrup; tastes nice for a while and then become sickly sweet.

Don't Talk Back is another awful repetitive thing with buzzing synth and odious lyrics "Say something to me, anything at all, But I want you to mean what you say, I've seen all I want to see, and you mean the world to me, I've lived for each moment to be with you, etc etc etc. Ho hum. Skippeth on to There Must Be Some Other Way and the clonking percussion reminds me that this is the late 90s. Ray sounds the same, crystalline vocals and lovey dovey pain wracked guilt and pain lyrics. Every song is about breaking up or down or out or whatever and it is a far cry from the genius lyrics of 70s Genesis.

One Man's Fool finishes this album as a mercy killing and it is yet another very slow, sombre song. This time the concept is more about questioning the acts of others; "To all who think they know, To everyone that knows that they're right, D'you ever wonder why, D'you never ask the question even in the depths of night?" It is a potent song that drives home the point that perspectives change over time and war can be solved by tolerance and understanding; "One man's joy makes another man weep, Nothing you can do is ever gonna change it, One man's saint is another man's fool, One man's hot is another man's cool, And when the war is over, won, Will there be peace for evermore?" It ends the album on a high point as far as lyrical content, and Banks has a keyboard run at about 3 and a half minutes in, but sadly the album has lost interest for me well before the end. This album suffers from many ailments, Collins, Hackett and Gabriel are distant memories, and unfortunately the mighty Genesis bowed out on a very mediocre note.

Report this review (#599290)
Posted Friday, December 30, 2011 | Review Permalink
3 stars 6/10

One end is not so bad for one of the greatest prog giants.

Well, when Genesis released this album they had already suffered the loss of Phil Collins, who had launched them to stardom in the '80s - and that's one thing I do not have to complain about. But the addition of Ray Wilson was certainly a very positive thing, considering the quality of his voice, which hoarseness reminds me more Gabriel than Collins.

Unfortunately the band does not seem to have more energy and qualiade of yore. Certainly not to blame for Wilson, neither of drummers invited Nir Zidkyahu and Nick D'Virgilio. Rutherford and his guitar and bass play a decent role here, but Banks and their generic keyboards that really disappoint me - for that pitiful thing that is certainly my favorite keyboardist.

This leads me to the conclusion that Calling All Stations album is certainly the weakest of Genesis since 1981, and is also the only discography of the band to which I give a rating of three stars. He certainly does not have a mediocre or From Abacab Genesis to Revelation, but not at all equal to the masterpieces of the '70s as Selling England By The Pound or A Trick of the Tail. While most of the songs seem to sound awfully generic and uninspired few stand out: the title track, the singles Congo (which ends badly), and Not About Us and the grand finale of One Man's Fool.

Report this review (#640108)
Posted Friday, February 24, 2012 | Review Permalink
Gooner
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars And Then There Were Two...

I`m actually new to this album in the year 2013. Simply put, if Big Big Train or Spock`s Beard released this album today if would garner an easy 4 star rating across the board. I`ve hesitated to buy this after reading many bad reviews, but noticed the reviews on progarchives are all over the map. Curmudgeon Genesis Purists vs. The Super Fan. There's a lot to enjoy for both parties. I had never heard the vocals of Ray Wilson, but he fits the music well. For a prog rock fan, this is indeed the best album since `Duke``. The commercial sounding tracks on `Stations` don`t quite go the lengths of those on Duke, however. You won`t find any track simlar to `Turn It On Again``. More like Mike & The Mechanics meets a Tony Banks solo album. Some of this material is quite sparse but engaging at the same time. The track "Alien Afternoon" can stand tall with "Carpet Crawlers" from the early period. It's a classic Genesis track to these ears. A fine vocal performance from Ray Wilson, Collins-like drumming for ND'V and some fine atmospheric guitar from Mr. Rutherford. The rest of the album is just as great. I find that this is the first Genesis album in a long time that didn't make me cringe a-la-We Can't Dance. No dancing, folks...just PROG...and you can buy it for a meagre penny (+ shipping) at Amazon. Take me to the Congo!

Recommended to those who enjoy Tony Banks solo works, Alan Parsons Project, '80s-period Camel, Keats and Squackett.

Report this review (#904267)
Posted Friday, February 1, 2013 | Review Permalink
4 stars I bought Calling All Stations when it was first released and over the last 15 years I've listened to it many times. I remember, at first, being a little disappointed with the album. However something about it kept calling me back to it. Lately I've been playing it continually because it has become obvious to me that it is one of the strongest pieces of work that Genesis has produced. No it's not "Selling England......." or "Trick of the Tail" or "W&W" or "Duke". But it's not meant to be. It is the Genesis sound of 1996/7 and it works well. And it still stands the test of time now in 2013. While each song on the album is a strong composition, in my opinion One Man's Fool and Alien Afternoon are as good as anything that Genesis has ever done. The Dividing Line is also up there with the best. Can I suggest that some of the negative reviewers revisit the album and spend some time with it. When you give it a few more plays, you may find that you'll pick up on things that you hadn't heard in it previously. I know I did. I will continue to listen to Calling All Stations every once in a while and I'm satisfied to give it 4 Stars.
Report this review (#919934)
Posted Tuesday, February 26, 2013 | Review Permalink
4 stars I hadnt heard this CD until 8 years after it was released. I had heard in the past that Collins had left but didnt give it a chance until then. It was great to hear the first chords of Calling All Stations, so raw and heavy. First thing that came to mind was "about time"! Second thing I noticed was no drum machine. Finally a Genesis album without it since ATTWT. Ray's voice is great, earthy and with an emotional punch as well. This CD could have easily been 4.5 stars if they would have left off some tracks, Shipwrecked, If Thats what you need and added Anything Now, Run Out Of Time and Sign Your Life Away. Instead 4 is the max. This isnt cheezy like Invisible Touch and We Cant Dance. Both of which made me loose interest in the band. All the material put out during this time including the B-sides were decent offerings. My only wish is that they continued with Ray and had him in on the writing process from the beginning. Perhaps their next release would have been 4 stars.I absolutely love Ray's solo stuff so could only image what Genesis could have sounded like if Tony and Mike would have given it a chance, the public as well. Finally a good "Rock" album from them and they call it a day. Too bad.
Report this review (#933945)
Posted Friday, March 22, 2013 | Review Permalink
2 stars This album is somewhat hard for me to fully quantify. When I first purchased it, I considered it to be a fair improvement over the bands previous two studio releases. However, it has not aged particularly well for me. It's hard to put a finger on exactly why this is the case - it just is.

To be sure, there are some excellent songs on here. "Congo" is a fun take on escaping a relationship where one is no longer wanted; "Alien Afternoon" shuffles through its beginning before a rather ethereal second section with dual guitars and fuzzy synths; "Uncertain Weather" harkens back to "Heathaze" with its smoky, lush vibe; "There Must Be Some Other Way" has a nice "tension and relief" formula (something this album has much more of than most of the material on the previous two albums), a nice keyboard solo and some very good drumming; and "One Man's Fool" tackles the notion of terrorism with a melody that is not epic but still highly listenable, especially in its conclusion.

However, there's also a lot of filler. I never cared much for the title track, for whatever reason - somewhat sad for me, given the fact that it's the only one that truly has a guitar solo; "Shipwrecked", "Not About Us" and "If That's What You Need" are pleasant but largely forgettable ballads"; "Small Talk" is not as unlistenable as some might argue (it's actually not bad to my ears) but it's not terribly substantial; and while many laud "The Dividing Line" as something truly remarkable, I've never cared for that track. Given that it's one of the longer ones on the album, that's rather unfortunate.

I will also readily admit that I'm partial to the "early-Collins" period ("Trick of the Tail" thru "Three Sides Live"), and while Ray Wilson is not a terrible vocalist he certainly seems to lack some of the dynamicism and range that the band's first two vocalists possessed. I've mentioned "There Must Be Some Other Way" as a track I like - but I can't help but wonder how it would've sounded with Phil Collins singing lead. With as many divorces as the man has been through, one can't help but think there would have been an extra edge, an extra mournfulness, that he could have expressed in the vocals that Wilson simply doesn't seem to be able to. He sounds pretty much the same on every song - and with prog, that just doesn't work very well.

As something of a side note - many of the "fade outs" on this album seem rather abrupt and rushed. Not a major nit by any stretch, but they're still a bit disconcerting even after numerous listens.

In sum total - do I prefer it to "Invisible Touch" and "We Can't Dance"? Absolutely (especially the former). Do I listen to it more than I do those other two (which is to say, "not much at all")? Not really. Two stars.

Report this review (#944877)
Posted Tuesday, April 16, 2013 | Review Permalink
1 stars So - we said goodbye to Phil Collins relating to Genesis. Was that a good or a bad thing? Of the original band line-up only Banks and Rutherford remain here with a bunch of newbies to the Genesis thing.

"Calling all Stations" - this opening track is far more of a rocker than Genesis had previously done. Ray Wilson has a good voice.

"Congo" - Not a bad little rocking track.

"Shipwrecked" - Not a bad track but I don't particularly like it - it lacks depth.

"Alien Afternoon" - quirky track that I don't like at all. Dumb lyrics.

"Not about Us" - I don't mind this track - it has this melancholy reminiscing on life from a distance feel if you ignore the chorus which fits the track poorly.

"If That's what you Need" - Softer track that is just ok.

"The Dividing Line" - poorly constructed longer track - where are the contrasts in the music?

"Uncertain Weather" - nope - don't like this one either. I don't know why this reminds me of Glenn Frey's "Strange Weather" from 1992 which I like a lot more than I like this.

"Small Talk" - I don't like this - weak rock affair.

"There must be some other Way" - Kind of one dimensional longer track.

"One Man's Fool" - I can't call home about this track or about the album - it sends me home from wherever it is playing though.

Why oh why did Rutherford and Banks record this as a Genesis album? They were probably still trying to milk the golden goose (heh heh). I do feel sorry for the new members here seeing as they were really short lived in their glory. This is as bad as it gets for Genesis thankfully. I don't know what on earth posessed the two original members to go with their release of this as it kind of puts a blemish on their past ability. From me a very solid one star release.

Report this review (#946890)
Posted Saturday, April 20, 2013 | Review Permalink
3 stars 3.5 STARS REALLY

I think that this album must be evaluated not comparing it with the others Genesis ones. If I do that it goes down hill, just because Collins is not there. The ausence of Collins implicates three problems: The voice of Genesis is not special anymore (like Gabriel and Collins were), it's just a common voice. The arrangements, Collins is a great arrenger, and Banks and Rutherford, as high level songwritters, always needed an arranger two elevate their creations and Collins (or Hackett before too) always was there. Wilson did a decent job in the album, but live he could not sing well Collins parts, his voice range is too much enclosed (high and low). The other problem is that seems that Rutherford was not enough implicated in the songwritting. When he did it they did the best, as the title song. Finally, as I read once, and agree, seems that the tracks had needed more "cooking", they sound a bit uncooked.

Said that, the album itself is good IMO. Is it essential? I don't know, is just in the border. The prog elements are just there, even in more doses than previous Genesis albums, but maybe with less quality. There are two tracks that are Genesis trademarks, Calling all stations, a hard riff guitar based one with typical Banks keys maitress behind. Wilson fits really well with the vocal and the melody line is great. Dramatic and with much feeling, even with a great but short guitar solo. The best of the album, with Rutherford as the main songwritter. The other is Dividing line, a true prog number with the Banks seal in the instrumental sections. Great track too. The prog feeling appears again in two other long songs. Alien afternoon, in which the second section is outstanding, and There must be some other way, a good track with an instrumental interlude. The rest is some lights and shadows, but nothing special.

Not four stars but more than three IMO. Normally I use 4 stars for 3.5 stars, but in this case I will use 3 stars, cos I can not say that it could be an excellent addition, maybe a good addition for those who want.

Report this review (#1117043)
Posted Monday, January 20, 2014 | Review Permalink
2 stars BEST SONG: Alien Afternoon; WORST SONG: Small Talk Really 1.5 stars, but I'll begrudgingly round it up to 2 on the strength of some of the b-sides.

After Phil Collins' departure from the band, Mike Rutherford and Tony Banks were still unwilling to call it a day, and who could blame them? While they had been members of the band from the beginning and contributed much to its success across multiple decades in genres, they were ignored in favor of a charismatic frontman not once but twice. Tony and Mike had just as much right to the Genesis name, if not more, than Phil did, and I don't hold their decision to continue against them in the least. Unfortunately, I do hold their lack of ability to create a strong album against them.

To create the album, Tony and Mike of course had to choose new collaborators, as one listen to Acting Very Strange or The Fugitive proves that neither was exactly primed to step up to the microphone, and thankfully they brought in human drummers instead of relying on a drum machine. Israeli drummer Nir Zidkyahu and then-Spock's Beard drummer Nick D'Virglio both acquit themselves quite well on the album, although I do have to wonder why the drumming spot was not offered to Chester Thompson. On the vocals, then, is one Ray Wilson, formerly of the band Stiltskin, whom I have not heard. Now, contrary to what some may say, Wilson is far from a bad singer. I've heard live recordings from the subsequent tour, and later recordings he's made of Genesis songs, and feel that he does rather well. Unfortunately, this album does not showcase his talents particularly well, as he alternates between bland, straightforward singing and overemoting. It doesn't help his case that I consider the three songs he cowrote ("Not About Us," "Small Talk," "There Must Be Some Other Way") to be the three worst on the album. However, while Ray's vocals never fully bring a song to life for me (though he has his moments on "Alien Afternoon" and in a couple of other places), they never significantly detract either, so overall I'll call his vocals a wash overall, it's just that he had the misfortune of trying to follow up two singers who could frequently bring mediocre material to life (and I maintain that Collins certainly could at times even to his end with the band).

No, the big problem on the album comes from the songwriting. It's clear that Tony and Mike wanted to steer the band back to art rock, if not full prog, but I must side with Rolling Stone (a rarity for me!) when they say that the album contains some of the worst aspects of both art rock and adult contemporary pop. A huge part of the problem is that neither Tony nor Mike had actually written in a prog style on a regular basis in over a decade and a half, token prog number on latter-day Phil albums notwithstanding. Basically, if We Can't Dance was a Phil Collins album featuring Genesis, then Calling All Stations is a Mike and the Mechanics album featuring Tony Banks, and although some of the more rabid Collins-bashers might castigate me for this I'll take the former every time. For all the issues I have with that album (and believe me, I have them), at least Phil had a sense of humor. "I Can't Dance" or "Jesus He Knows Me" are nothing resembling prog, but they are fun. CAS, on the other hand, sounds like an album made by people who have never had fun with their lives, which is a pretty odd path for Genesis to take. The band had always had a light-hearted, whimsical side even after Gabriel left, and had managed to keep some of that up to the end with Phil, and honestly, closing the nail on that coffin completely squanders any good will that the absence of drum machines and a few proggier ideas might have led to. This album just sounds depressing all the way through, and that's never been a word I've really used to describe Genesis. I guess the band could be respected for trying something new, but I don't consider trading the saccharine "Hold On My Heart" for the overwrought "Not About Us" to be worth anything. I don't know what annoys me the most about the album--the bland lyrics, the incredibly muddy production on the keyboards (although I suppose the guitars sound alright the few times they're featured), or the fact that Tony in particular seems either unwilling or incapable of doing anything even remotely interesting. Regarding the last point, I'm not sure if it's because he was so used to boring background keyboard tones that he didn't consider to do anything more interesting, that he was worried about scaring away "pop Genesis" fans by going too crazy, or that the keyboard work on the album is genuinely the best he was capable of at this point, and I'm not sure which scenario disappoints me the most. Also, they seemingly couldn't figure out how to properly end their songs, so they just had Ray overemote random lines as the songs fade out, which gets annoying fast.

A prime example of the confused nature of the album is "There Must Be Some Other Way," which has the boring synth sounds, uninteresting lyrics, and a sluggish tempo which are the hallmarks of adult contemporary, which would be bad enough as a three and a half minute number to be pumped through the speakers in the grocery store, but the band inexplicably decided to make the damn thing eight minutes long by sticking an interminable Banks keyboard solo into the middle of it. This is no "Cinema Show," in fact, it's not even "Fading Lights." It's "artsy" "prog" for the sake of being artsy prog, but overall I can't even get offended by the song, because I barely remember a thing about it, and the same goes for "If That's What You Need" and "Uncertain Weather." Unfortunately, I can't say the same for the aforementioned "Not About Us" or especially the abominable "Small Talk," which is easily the worst song this fine band's name has ever been attached to. The song tries to "rock," which I'd think would be a relief from all the midtempo sludge, but it does it in the wimpiest way possible and crosses the line from "irrelevant" to "ear-corroding" in a hurry. And the lyrics are terrible, too. A horrendous lapse of judgment on the part of the band. Getting slightly better, "The Dividing Line" has some decent instrumental jamming, although the song itself sucks, and while I don't actually like the song, I'll admit that the ballad "Shipwrecked" is at least well-written, and I wouldn't complain if I occasionally heard it in a store or something. It's better than a lot of the AC dreck, anyway. And to round the whining with the best of the bad songs, "Congo" has that cool "tribal" intro and a fairly melodic chorus even if the verse melody is one of the most underwritten things I've ever heard and Ray way way oversings the outro.

So, now that I've spent over a thousand words doing nothing but complain, I should point out that there are a few things I like about the album! In fact, there are three songs that I have fairly positive feelings for and will actually go out of my way to listen to from time to time. First, the opening title track has a bizarre grunge influence that sounds ridiculous on paper and has nothing to do with Genesis, but I actually find it quite good. Mike actually gets to show some flash on his guitar, and this is the one song on the album where I feel that they were one hundred percent committed to doing something different, and it's much better for it. The song has the dark, moody atmosphere that chokes the rest of the album actually works here, and it helps that although the lyrics aren't brilliant poetry or anything, they still fit the mood of the song quite well. Pity they couldn't figure out how to end it, but it's still a success. "Alien Afternoon" is even better, being an actual multipart honest-to-god prog song that's well-sung, has decent instrumental performances from everybody, and fully deserves its 8 minutes. If you're at all curious about the album, check out "Alien Afternoon," because if you don't like it, the rest of the disc probably isn't going to do much for you. And finally, the closing "One Man's Fool" actually starts out almost as bad as the string of crud leading up to it, but the song has a nice subtle buildup, and you can hear the song getting more and more interesting as it goes along, so when the band finally, mercifully breaks into an actual uptempo groove towards the end the payoff feels deserved and adds some much-needed energy to the album. It helps that, once again, the lyrics are decent and Ray may not be doing a great job, but he's certainly adequate for the job. It's not a great song, but it's certainly good, and seems even better after the preceding half hour or so, and leaves me feeling more positive towards the album as a whole than I otherwise would. There's a lot to be said for starting and ending strong, and for all its faults in between, Calling All Stations does just that.

I've also heard other songs from the album sessions that were released as "b-sides" (read: bonus tracks on the cd singles), and honestly they're not that bad! I wouldn't consider any of them as good as the three good songs on the album, though the riff-rocker(!) "Papa He Said" comes mighty close, even if it's not prog, but none of them are worse than "Shipwrecked." There's even two different instrumentals that are quite enjoyable to listen to. Funnily enough, "Sign Your Life Away" reminds me quite a bit of Spock's Beard, but I'm not sure if D'Virglio drummed on it or not. What this leaves us with, then, is an album that may only have enough good material for a 20-minute EP, but throw on some of the b-sides and, what the heck, throw on "Congo" as a potential single and suddenly you have a decent album that makes me curious about where Wilson-era Genesis would have gone had they had one more album. This is still a pretty sad album for a great band such as Genesis to end their career on, and quite a bit of it does suck, but sometimes I wonder what could have been.

Report this review (#1125424)
Posted Friday, January 31, 2014 | Review Permalink
ProgShine
COLLABORATOR
Errors & Omissions Team
2 stars Nowadays everybody that follows music know about Genesis. The British band that in their heydays was the precursor and one of the best Pprogressive Rock bands out there.

Genesis fans are also very divided, or either you like the 70s or you like the 80s, very few in the middle. They were one of the rare cases of a band that went a completely different way from their initial phase and became huge, a succesful monster.

In 1991 thei released the last studio album with Phil Collins and 6 years later they decided to start again. New vocalist Ray Wilson was hired to fill the singing role while, as usual, Mike Rutherford and Tony Banks provided the songs.

Now, granted, Calling All Stations is not a very bad record but it's not a very good record either. The problem with the album is that it's very average in everything. In therms of sound it's not all that different from the previous studio, We Can't Dance (that is very mediocre). Ray Wilson is not a bad singer but the problem is that he's either trying to sound sound like Phil Collins when Genesis is playing a 80's sounding track or he sounds like Peter Gabriel when the tracks ask for the 70's Genesis.

Songwriter wise the album is not very bad but we don't have any tracks that will stand out, it's just a mixed bag not very carefully thrown together. And that combined with the fact that everything sounds like or Peter Gabriel or Phil Collins makes it a bad record. Calling All Stations shouldn't have been released as a Genesis album it should have been released with another name on the cover. Same lineup but a different name could have given them more time to develope the whole project. Releasing it as a Genesis record has a shot in its own feet. So much so that not even the duo Rutherford/Banks mention this era. Differently from Ray Wilson that pretty much survive on Genesis music since then.

After all we have the worst possible thing for a record in Calling All Stations, which is: you're not very good and you're not very bad, you're just average. And average is the worst thing for any record ever released.

Report this review (#1556869)
Posted Thursday, April 28, 2016 | Review Permalink
rdtprog
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Heavy / RPI / Symphonic Prog Team
3 stars This last Genesis album was written by Mick and Tony before they have completed the line-up with Ray Wilson and Nir Zidkyahu. Because of that, the songs didn't have a proper ending. The band admits that they were missing the presence of Phil Collins to put pressure on them in the songwriting department. The first song "Calling the Stations" is a great song, very melodic showing the most impressive performance of Ray. "Congo" has that exotic vibe with some simple structure, kind of a light dancing song. "Shipwrecked" is another of those series of love song that turning bad, sound like a radio-friendly 80's alternative song. In "Alien Afternoon" there's not much going on except some nice vocals effects in my rear speakers. It seems that the song was about to build the melody to prepare for a guitar solo, but this is not the case with Mick Rutherford on guitar. "If That's What You Need " is an inferior variation of "Follow You Follow Me". "Divided Line" brings something new with a bit of prog and where the band decided to give to the drummer total freedom. So we went wild with some intense playing. Tony Banks playing is also quite good on this song. "Uncertain Weather" is a sad song with a good melody. The rest of the album is a bit boring, filler songs in this 67 minutes album. Because this is not a progressive rock album, I can't give 4 stars, but 3 stars with a couple of strong tracks.
Report this review (#1818231)
Posted Wednesday, November 1, 2017 | Review Permalink
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.

Report this review (#1889452)
Posted Tuesday, February 27, 2018 | Review Permalink
Warthur
PROG REVIEWER
1 stars The Genesis studio album discography is kind of like a reverse [&*!#] sandwich - regardless of whether you prefer their prog or pop phases the run of albums from Trespass to We Can't Dance were all at successful in their own way - some artistically successful, some critically successful, some commercially successful, and some managing two or even all three of those flavours of success.

This run of albums is bookended by two utter turds, however. From Genesis to Revelation's failures can at least in part be put at the door of Jonathan King - he mucked about with the material without the band's knowledge and added strings to everything, for one thing, and for another he pushed them into making the album when in retrospect it seems clear that they weren't ready for that challenge just yet.

Calling All Stations is not an album whose failure can be laid at the feet of anyone other than Genesis. Some point the finger at Ray Wilson, but I think this is staggeringly unfair - what, do you seriously think the new lad on the vocals had a level of artistic control over this project remotely near to the level that remaining cofounders Rutherford and Banks had? No, this was the Banks-Rutherford show compositionally speaking for the vast majority of its runtime, and it's clear that they don't actually have any new ideas.

You can read a lot into the fact that, despite reuniting with Phil for a reasonably successful concert tour in 2007, and and despite the fact that five members of the classic lineup have contributed commentary and thoughts on the band's work over the years for various documentaries and other projects, there hasn't been a new Genesis studio album for over two decades. Not one with Peter and Steve, not one with Phil, not one with Ray, not one with anyone else. If there were anything in the creative well, if Rutherford and Banks or other key movers really had some material they were sitting on which cried out for the Genesis treatment, they'd have surely done a reunion album by now.

But they haven't, because they know they're done. How do they know they're done? They tried to keep the flame going on this and could only produce the most achingly generic poppy alt-rock known to humanity. Prog fans will find no enjoyment here, and fans of Genesis' pop phase will be aghast at the near-total lack of memorable hooks. Quite simply, the album is unlistenable by either metric.

Report this review (#2022362)
Posted Thursday, September 6, 2018 | Review Permalink
patrickq
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Calling All Stations is a neo-prog album released in 1997. I think this group was influenced by Genesis. I mean, no one would confuse the singer for Phil Collins, and the album is darker than any Genesis work in years. But the first half of "Alien Afternoon" reminds me a little of "I Can't Dance," and I can almost imagine Collins singing "Shipwrecked" or "If That's What You Need." Plus, a lot of the drumming, especially in the later songs like "The Dividing Line," "There Must Be Some Other Way," and "One Man's Fool" sounds like Collins.

As others have suggested, I think Calling All Stations would be better reviewed if it weren't a Genesis album. But it's not bad compared to the group's previous albums. So the lyrics are a little shallow in places, and the instrumentation is a little restrained, but what else is new? In my opinion it's in the same league as Invisible Touch and Genesis. And to me, it's clearly better than We Can't Dance.

I agree with a lot of reviewers who have criticized the sappiness of "If That's What You Need" and "Not About Us," and I must admit that I expected that the schmaltz would evaporate as soon as Collins left. However, I do have a soft spot for "Shipwrecked," schmaltz and all. Along the same lines, the much-disparaged "Small Talk" is not progressive: "all of this is with regret; I'm sure you will agree." But it's kind of catchy. I think if I went back in time and gave a copy of Calling All Stations to my twelve-year-old self, I'd've loved it and would still love it today.

And I do, in fact, love two tracks on Calling All Stations. First, "Congo" is a great song. Great melody, great drumming. The "into my heart" bridge is a nice nod to Collins. And then there's "One Man's Fool." More often than not, "Alien Afternoon" seems to be cited as the most - - or only - - progressive song on the album, and it's pretty good. But to me, "One Man's Fool" is clearly "proggier." It even has two movements, the second starting at around 3:50 with what amounts to a second introduction. And as good as the first movement is, the second stands on its shoulders. The lyrics aren't exactly poetry, but they're not bad, especially compared to those on most of Calling All Stations. "One Man's Fool" features singer Ray Wilson at his best, and while the drumming is strong throughout the album, Nir Zidkyahu outdoes himself here.

There's too much filler on Calling All Stations. It doesn't seem like an album needs to be 68 minutes long for the customer to get his or her money's worth. But I can't award fewer than three stars to an album with "Alien Afternoon," "Congo," and "One Man's Fool." It's not Foxtrot, and it's not A Trick of the Tail. It may not even be Abacab. But it's a good enough art-rock album. I'd suggest that fans of post-Gabriel Genesis, or accessible prog of any form, give this a spin.

Report this review (#2167082)
Posted Monday, March 18, 2019 | Review Permalink
3 stars I think time has softened many opinions on this, their final album. While it would have been more than fitting for Genesis to go out after We Can't Dance, especially with 'Fading Lights' as the last ever Genesis track, I can't hold it against the band for trying to make a go without Phil. The fans might have appreciated more of an in-house iteration of the band, say, with Chester Thompson in the line-up, but there would always be the issue of replacing the vocalist/front man. While there are real stinkers like 'Congo' and 'Small Talk,' there are some great ones too, like the title track, 'The Dividing Line' and 'Shipwrecked.' The vocals are serviceable, and I think Ray Wilson earns props for sheer effort and guts for stepping into some very big shoes. Too bad Simon Collins wasn't quite old enough to step in.
Report this review (#2167163)
Posted Tuesday, March 19, 2019 | Review Permalink
1 stars I am sorry but this album is pretty much unlistenable for me. Despite starting of with a decent song, it gets worse and worse from there, I miss any musical captivity in this album, which is something genesis always supplied, even on the pop albums. I gave it a listen a few times and I cought myself switching off about half way trough every second time. For me the one big misstep in their discography. The absence of the three core creative forces of the band (Gabriel, Hackett, Collins) is not good for the album, and I somehow wish this album had never happened. On the positive note, it has some catchy rythms and I do like its slightly more rough idustrial style.
Report this review (#2235757)
Posted Friday, July 5, 2019 | Review Permalink

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