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From Genesis To...whatever,
This review is from: From Genesis To Revelation (Deluxe Edition) (Audio CD)
Viewed as a Genesis album, the group's debut is likely to disappoint. But when viewed as an archetypal late '60s lightly-psychedelic pop record, compared and contrasted to all those one or two hit wonders like the Herd, the Honeybus, the Warm Sounds etc...it's likely to impress. It may be speaking the same musical language as those aforementioned '60s-kitsch classics, but it's clearly the work of a seriously talented band. Tune out certain lyrics and admire the vocals and keyboard work - Gabriel and Banks were already formidable, and they're the focal points here.
It's often said that this album sounds like either the Moody Blues, or the Bee Gees trying to be arty. Both comparisons are valid, and not just because of the string arrangements and mellotron usage. The album was planned - whether by then-manager Jonathon King or the group - as a concept album, "the entire Bible, in twelve songs!" Sounds Moody, but then so do the backup vocal harmonies which crop up in many songs (in which Tony Banks's is the most discernible voice), and the song intros which seem more like unrelated link-tracks (one of which is actually a snippet of "Twilight Alehouse"!).
As it turns out, the Biblical concept broke down halfway through the album - you guessed it, they never got beyond the book of Genesis! And why not, it's easy to use the creation and the Garden of Eden as metaphors for adolesence, awakening sexuality etc.
As to the Bee Gees comparison - Gabriel specifically impersonates Robin Gibb for a few seconds on "The Silent Sun" (which in an alternate mix became the lead single from the album), and there are other moments when his intonation is rather Gibby - not that there's anything wrong with that. Also, Anthony Phillips's guitarwork (worth focussing on, even when they're buried in the mix, as on "In Limbo") is not so very different to Vince Melouney's. You could say, these are the songs the Bee Gees were trying to write during the late '60s - Genesis beat them at their own game.
The double-disc of the album is the one to get...if you don't mind duplication of the Archive Volume 1 box set. The bonus disc is virtually a recapitulation of that box's fourth disc. Then again, that's an improvement on previous issues which were padded with inferior-quality transfers of songs from the Archive, or - worse still - an interview with Jonathan King. Not forgetting the terible cut-price-label issues which jumbled up the running order, omitted the non-album single sides, or even omitted original album tracks.
Key songs (hear these first): "The Serpent", "Am I Very Wrong?", "In The Wilderness", "In Limbo", "That's Me", "One-Eyed Hound", "Build Me A Mountain", "The Magic Of Time", "Hey!" and "Patricia".