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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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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.

AtomicCrimsonRush | 1/5 |

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