If ever there were a time for Genesis to abandon art rock in favor of a pure pop approach, that time would be now. The pop hits, after all, were what finally catapulted the trio out of its cultact status, and a flair for Top Ten singles has made stars of Phil Collins and Mike (and the Mechanics) Rutherford. So why not jettison the extraneous arrangements and get down to business?
Because without that tendency to orchestral pomposity, it really wouldn't be Genesis. Take, for example, "Anything She Does." The song opens with a brisk, synthesized brass figure that could easily have been copped from one of Collins's solo efforts, but instead of continuing on in that groove (as Collins would), Genesis hits the brakes, dropping back into a quirky skank that effectively halves the beat. It's a real showoff move, and entirely typical of the Genesis canon.
Except that such tricks are no longer the focus of each track. Instead, every tune is carefully pruned so that each flourish delivers not an instrumental epiphany but a solid hook. Much of the credit for this belongs to Tony Banks, whose synth style has never seemed more appropriate; it's his keyboards that set the mood for "In the Glow of the Night" and maintain the tension in "Tonight, Tonight, Tonight."
In the end, though, what essentially distinguishes this from the next Phil and the Mechanics project is that no single player dominates the sound, that each member keeps his touch invisible. And that, as it turns out, is plenty pop enough. (RS 480)
(Posted: Aug 14, 1986)
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