Lately, I have been listening to the Genesis album that nobody was interested in hearing, 'Calling All Stations'.
In 1996 Phil Collins left the Genesis, and the rest of the band recruited former Stilskin and Scottish singer Ray Wilson to be their vocalist.
There is plenty of history on the internet how Mike Rutherford wanted to call it a day after the whole US tour was cancelled due to lack of interest, and the ‘bad treatment’ Wilson received, but I’m focusing on what they did create.
I have been a massive Genesis fan for most of my life but have avoided ‘Calling All Stations’ simply due to Collins not being the singer.
I will say Ray Wilson is a damned fine singer and should have been given more time. He fits the music well, but the question is was the music good enough?
The album was very badly received and you can plainly see from the critic reviews that it was a general thumbs-down from the media.
THREE singles were released from the album all I suppose, designed to be radio-friendly. I am more a fan of the rambling 20-minute tracks of Genesis, but I have to admit they gained their popularity in the 80's due to having great pop songs.
‘Congo' doesn't really do it for me although it does contain a harder edge from the band than usual.
'Shipwrecked' has some instant appeal but, to be honest, would probably suit the Collins vocal better, and has 'pop' stamped all over it.
‘Not About Us’ does not sound at all like a Genesis track and is probably the best of the three. Wilson’s vocals do particularly well with this reflective track.
So how about the album tracks so typically the strong point of the band?
There are no massive long songs such as 'Domino' on Calling All Stations, but there are a couple of 7-minute ones.
I did a little research on the internet to find out what others felt about the album tracks on ProgArchives and found a mixture of opinions.
'The Dividing Line' seems to have some fans, but it didn’t really click with me. Maybe I need to give it a few more listens. I can clearly hear the undertows of Tony Banks, but that kick is missing.
'Small Talk'? Well, it's not as bad as WhoDunnit on the Abacab album, but I would say only a notch up.
The closing track, ‘One Man’s Fool’, did get my interest a little but compared to the old Genesis, didn’t quite do it for me either.
My pick of the album tracks, no question is ‘Alien Afternoon’, a long song that builds up to a lovely atmospheric finale that you could lose yourself in.
The other song that is worth mentioning is the title track, 'Calling All Stations', which is a driving rock-incuded effort with underlying Banks keyboards.
Overall the album is a little disappointing but I should have given it a listen years ago if only to discover ‘Alien Afternoon'.
Just like the other crap album, they made years before, ‘Abacab’, you can generally find a gem lurking in the depths of the murk.
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