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Genesis - Calling All Stations CD (album) cover

CALLING ALL STATIONS

Genesis

 

Symphonic Prog

2.49 | 1014 ratings

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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. Itīs 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.

Itīs a bit of a shame really, because Wilson has a strong voice and a pleasant delivery, although he doesnīt 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 Wilsonīs voice does make "Calling All Stations" an album which stands out as unique in the bandīs 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 isnīt 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. Itīs a production issue too, because the keyboard heavy production gives the music a massive atmosphere, which doesnīt suit some of the tracks. Itīs 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 itīs not one of the better albums in the bandīs 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 donīt work as well as they could. You canīt 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) arenīt up to par with the bandīs usual standards. Still a 3 - 3.5 star (65%) rating is warranted.

UMUR | 3/5 |

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