The genesis of Genesis isnít even considered their real genesis. It could be other groupsí genesis very well, The Bee Gees
, Crosby, Stills & Nash
, and countless sappy singers of the 70s. Itís more of a historical novelty when held up to later Genesis works. Genesis were known to make symphonic, complex progressive rock, their epic songs refined with wry, ambitious themes and theatrical lyrics. But lo and behold, they turned into a pop band! Some might say we couldíve seen this coming because their debut From Genesis to Revelation
was a fresh cut from Pop Meat. But vocalist Peter Gabriel left before the band before it incarnated into commercially acceptable pap, and Phil Collins, who took over when Gabriel left, switching drum set for vocals, hadnít even joined the band. It was until their sophomore effort, Trespass
, that the red carpet into the prog world unrolled for Genesis, albeit they hadnít reached their full potential there. And if the boys didnít reach their potential for their first prog escapade, they certainly didnít reach any sort of potential at all for this.
From Genesis to Revelation
contains a bunch of naÔve, young musicians still unsure about what style of music they were going to make, and letting the producer take over. The album is squeaky clean, the rawness or emotion in the instruments is sucked out, mostly thanks to pop producer Jonathan King. Well thereís no emotion or rawness to suck out of the guitar anyway, guitarist Anthony Phillips does nothing more than strum through the poppy progressions in the entire album. The guitar is more of a backing instrument than a soaring, virtuoso-like instrument like later Genesis works, adding to the dullness of the record. The only instrument that stirs any interest in the whole album is Tony Banksí cheery, Billy Joel
esque piano, shooting some spark into From Genesis to Revelation
. Peter Gabrielís voice has not yet attained the trademark rasp or theatrical character, having sung on the album still in his teenage years.
But obviously a pop producer wouldnít be doing his job if he let the album go on with just some bright piano to lead relatively boring music. Inspired by the Moody Blues album Days of Future Passed
, he decided to slap on some Chamber Music style orchestra to make the formula of ďpleasant", sophisticated 60s pop. Despite being an obvious sort of gimmick (that didnít work, the album bombed upon release), these string arrangements are the only thing that could save the album from boring rigid the listener completely. One exception is the song The Serpent
, itís quirky in a pseudo-psychedelic way, the ominous feel of the song carried through comfortably, as if it belonged with the other songs from this album, lead by some real
(though not that interesting) guitar work and a gloomy bassline. Unfortunately, Genesis (or King) restrained any variety or ingenuity for the other songs, letting the strings consort and Mellotron propel the songs.
From Genesis to Revelation
is an enjoyable listen for a fan of pop or easy-listening music. Genesis fans of classic albums like Foxtrot
or Selling England by the Pound
will most likely find the album a bore, despite having some good melodies, and go into a frenzying rage because it has the name ďGenesis" on it. Those same fans would probably go into an equally manic rage after hearing Genesisí 80s albums. And Genesis themselves werenít pleased with this album at all, furious at Jonathan King for adding various orchestral arrangements to the songs. He was sacked for this, his desire wanting to make this album sound like a Bee Gees
pastiche. Well, Mr. King, you did a good job at that. You also did a good job at not making the band show any talent. How you did in terms of making a good album? I think we all know the answer to that.