1997 was the commencement of a new phase for UK prog rockers come pop converts Genesis.
Written by: gdmonline
ALBUM: Calling All Stations
SERIAL: 7243 8 44607 2 3
CD REISSUE: Discogs Reissue List
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: England
LINEUP: Ray Wilson – vocals * Mike Rutherford – guitars, bass * Tony Banks – keyboards * Nir Zidkyahu, Nick D’Virgilio – drums, percussion
TRACK LISTING: 01 Calling All Stations * 02 Congo * 03 Shipwrecked * 04 Alien Afternoon * 05 Not About Us * 06 If That’s What You Need * 07 The Dividing Line * 08 Uncertain Weather * 09 Small Talk * 10 There Must Be Some Other Way * 11 One Man’s Fool
WEBLINKS: Site Link
1997 was the commencement of a new phase for UK prog rockers come pop converts Genesis. The early part of the 90’s decade saw the release of ‘We Can’t Dance’, spawning the hit single ‘No Son Of Mine’. By 1996, Phil Collins had left the band to focus on other pursuits.
Remaining members Mike Rutherford and Tony Banks continued on, while other long time band residents Daryl Stuermer and Chester Thompson had moved on to other projects. Joining the band, in readiness for a new album was former Stiltskin vocalist Ray Wilson and drummers Nir Zidkyahu (an Israeli session drummer) and Nick D’Virgilio, from Spocks Beard.
Wilson was recommended by Virgin Records execs to Rutherford and Banks after hearing his Stiltskin material. The new lineup of Genesis released ‘Calling All Stations’ during 1997, it proved to be popular in Europe, less so in America.
Why America became unobtainable to this new line-up wasn’t in any way attributable to the material on ‘Calling All Stations’. I recall buying the CD at the time, quite encouraged by the new personnel. Honestly, anything was better than their over-exposed 80’s stuff, and with Phil Collins out of the way, that was even more incentive to buy the album.
Wilson’s Scottish accent isn’t that apparent through the album, his sometimes coarse and emotional delivery I thought was a great foil to the melodic lines being presented by Rutherford and Banks. This is obvious from the outset with the title track ‘Calling All Stations’, a cold war sounding epic with more density applied to it than the Large Hadron Collider!
‘Congo’ was the first single off the album, doing well in the UK charts. ‘Shipwrecked’ is a heavily orchestrated affair, bright and flowing, but kinda boring too. An interesting title, ‘Alien Afternoon’ might have been written due to the popularity of the X Files TV series during the 90’s, however at 7 minutes 53 secs, that would border on an unhealthy obsession.
Musically, it reminds me of Godley And Creme or the esoteric material from former member Peter Gabriel. Acoustic guitar drives the melancholic ‘Not About Us’. It highlights Wilson’s emotive vocal to a tee. Synths tend to dominate ‘If That’s What You Need’, a song that should’ve been a Mike + The Mechanics item, not Genesis.
Tony Banks cranks out some big synth bass on ‘The Dividing Line’, the highly percussive nature of this track sends it in a different direction altogether.’Uncertain Weather’ is gentle on the ear, lush synths, the drums sound as if they are being played by hands rather than drumsticks. ‘Small Talk’ has a quirky sound, dominated by too many effects and keyboards for my liking.
‘There Must Be Some Other Way’ has a lilting intro, the drums very understated, but it gathers momentum the further we get into this near 8 minute excursion. The final song ‘One Man’s Fool’ is also another lengthy tune, again, Wilson’s vocals are well suited to the darker fringes of this song.
Genesis went out in support of the album throughout Europe on a three month jaunt, but because the CD didn’t sell so well in the States, the tour there was cancelled. This version of the band was put out to pasture, Genesis once more going into a deep hiatus.
Personally, I think it would’ve been great to tease out a second album from this line-up, but if it was never going to make money, then there was probably no sense in doing it. I am not an active follower of this band, though I am interested in Ray Wilson’s career, as I rate him as a great singer. We might look at a couple of his solo albums in future.