Genesis: 1983-1998

On vinyl, the last strains of a great career.

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Following The Green Box and The Blue Box, here are the last four albums from Genesis, each pressed on quality vinyl and presented in their original sleeves.

The story begins with 1983’s self-titled album, which saw the band fully embrace their status as a successful pop act. Songs like Mama and That’s All were hit singles, but had a depth that showed they hadn’t abandoned their more progressive inclinations, the latter tracks being a more than convincing tribute to The Beatles. And Home By The Sea plus Second Home By The Sea combine into a suite that showcases their continuing ability to challenge themselves artistically.

This was followed in 1986 by Invisible Touch, their biggest-selling album. No surprise really, as it was ostensibly a slick, commercial record that owed much to Phil Collins’ growing solo stature. The likes of Land Of Confusion, Tonight, Tonight, Tonight and that title track were all massive hit singles, further cementing Genesis’s status as one of the major mainstream acts of the time. But at least with Domino, they continued to show a capacity for progressive endeavours, even if they were now far removed from the ethos of the Gabriel era.

Songs from master musicians actively feeding off each other.

Five years later, the band returned with_ We Can’t Dance_, which is perhaps the best balance they managed between the longer expositions that mapped their earlier days and the snappier, more obviously melodic songs of later years. The album is somewhat spoilt by the vacuous imagery of Tell Me Why and Way Of The World, which stray into bland cul-de-sacs. At its best, though, with No Son Of Mine and Fading Lights, there’s clear evidence of the band connecting to the 70s, with the latter even providing a nod towards Ripples. These tracks have structure, yet also show signs of improvisation at the sort of level one could only expect from master musicians actively feeding off each other.

There’s a tendency to dismiss 1997’s Calling All Stations as being an embarrassing conclusion to the band’s repertoire. Collins had been replaced by Ray Wilson, and this album was castigated at the time for being formless drivel. But that was always unfair. Listening to Calling All Stations, you can appreciate the way in which Wilson complemented the visions of Mike Rutherford and Tony Banks, and gave them a coherence overlooked at the time. There’s also a darker hue to the songs thanks to Wilson’s edgy performances and this deserves retrospective credit.

Together then, these albums represent the band’s biggest commercial triumphs, but there are many progressive highs in here too.