Album review: “…Calling All Stations…” (1997) by Genesis

3 05 2010

Once in a while, “Through Jim Todd’s Eyes…” will present a review of one of the CDs in my collection. Some of the reviews, as well as other entries to this blog, can also be seen on the homepage for the internet radio station I’m with: BounceRadio.net – Where The World Listens To Internet Radio.

It is no secret that I’ve been a fan of Genesis for a long time. Like many, I first heard Genesis during the 1980s, when Phil Collins was the lead singer. In my case, it was the 1986 classic “Invisible Touch” that brought them to my attention. In the years that followed, I started listening to the earlier Collins-era work, and then a few years ago, I bought the Genesis “Platinum Collection”, a compilation set which contained an entire CD from the Peter Gabriel era.

One lesser-known (at least, in North America) CD from Genesis was the only one released after Collins left the band following the band’s “The Way We Walk” tour in support of the 1993 CD “We Can’t Dance”. “…Calling All Stations…”, from 1997, still featured Tony Banks on keyboards and Mike Rutherford on bass and guitar, but the rest of the personnel had changed: Nir Zidkyahu and Nick D’Virgilio shared the drum duties, and Ray Wilson, who has also been with the band Stiltskin, handled the lead vocals.

Those who are used to hearing the vocals of Phil Collins will definitely be surprised at hearing another voice fronting Genesis. I admit, it threw me for a loop at first. But I found I liked Wilson’s voice as part of Genesis. His voice harkens back to the early progressive rock days of the band, when Peter Gabriel provided the lead vocals. The sound of “…Calling All Stations…” is darker than the albums of the Collins era.

Wilson’s work on “…Calling All Stations…” was not limited to being the band’s lead vocalist; Wilson assisted main songwriters Banks and Rutherford in creating three of the songs for the album, including one of the three songs that were released as singles: “Not About Us”.

While the album did fairly well in the UK, “…Calling All Stations…” fared rather poorly in North America, with critics noting that it failed in the band’s attempt to return to its progressive rock roots. In my mind, this album is rather underrated when taken on its own merits. Some of the longer tracks on the CD, like “Alien Afternoon” and “One Man’s Fool”, are among my favourite songs. The other two singles lifted from the album, “Congo” and “Shipwrecked” are quite well done as well.

“…Calling All Stations…” is considerably different music when compared to the other more recent Genesis albums. But in my mind, I think Genesis was more successful than they were given credit for with their return to the original sound of the band.

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