Genesis
Invisible Touch


3.5
great

Review

by Brendan Schroer USER (184 Reviews)
January 6th, 2014 | 68 replies


Release Date: 1986 | Tracklist

Review Summary: The best Genesis pop album along with Duke, Invisible Touch is one of the group's most underrated efforts.

By the time the mid-80s came around, Genesis and their singer/drummer Phil Collins essentially became synonymous with each other in the public eye, especially when it came to the band's big hits. Who once was a musically and lyrically complex progressive rock outfit was slowly transforming into a pop/rock band once original vocalist Peter Gabriel left and Collins took over the mic. Soon, Steve Hackett left as well and the remaining trio pressed onward; once Collins started his own very profitable solo career in soft rock music, elements of his work started creeping into Genesis' sound until their progressive roots disappeared completely (this happened around the Abacab era). Once 1986's Invisible Touch came around, the sound of Collins' solo work almost completely overtook the band's work (with a few notable exceptions); so why, after all of this, would it actually end up being such a solid listen?

On the surface, Invisible Touch is probably a 70s Genesis fan's worst nightmare; there's barely a touch of progressive rock to be found, and a good handful of the songs would fit very nicely in adult contemporary radio stations. Furthermore, the four biggest smash hits were crammed into the front of the album; it's obviously a popular choice for pop artists to kick an album off with a strong opening single, but having four at once seems a bit ridiculous (although I have seen it happen before). However, commercialism aside, Invisible Touch isn't nearly as bad as you might expect it to be; if you can accept the poppy nature of the record, it becomes a stronger listen as well as one of their most emotional ones. As was said before, the first half of the experience is dominated by the big singles like the title track, "Tonight, Tonight, Tonight," "Land of Confusion," and "In Too Deep." Immediately, the one that should surprise most listeners is "Tonight, Tonight, Tonight"; remember the single version that's played on the radio frequently? Well, that's not the version present here; this one is a whopping nine minutes! This song and the eleven-minute "Domino" represent the most progressive tendencies of the album with their sprawling length (at least by pop Genesis standards) and some added complexity in the songwriting. "Tonight..." in particular has a full synthesizer-driven instrumental section in the middle; in fact, most of the song's strength's are driven by Tony Banks' keyboard work. The biggest thing that comes to mind is the tension-and-release tactic between the verses, choruses, and the uplifting vocal interlude that follows; the way the major and minor notes/chords intertwine gives the song a very unique touch. The other hits (excluding one, but we'll get to that) are great as well, despite their more poppy nature. The title track is an iconic synth-driven power ballad that allows Phil to give one of his strongest vocal performances, while "Land of Confusion" is a heavier number that primarily showcases Mike Rutherford's high guitar chords and catchy main riff.

The first half is definitely where all the best things happen though, because the second is a bit of a mixed bag. While "In Too Deep" is a deeply emotional, soulful ballad and one of the band's best songs from their pop-era, the same can't be said for the hopelessly boring "Throwing It All Away." Definitely one of the biggest products of Collins' solo influence, the song sounds like if you took "That's the Way of the World" by Earth, Wind and Fire and sucked the soul out of it to fit an easy-listening format. While "Domino" is a successful "experimental" pop epic, "The Brazilian" seems like an unnecessary instrumental with synthesizer experimentation that just isn't all that interesting. "Tonight, Tonight, Tonight" experimented with Banks' multi-layered synth arrangements more tastefully, but "The Brazilian" simply seems like filler. Also, one more thing: where the hell is Mike Rutherford? He's put to the sidelines for the majority of the album; while his basslines remain are prominent (although pretty simplistic), his guitar playing just gets drowned out most of the time.

To fully enjoy Invisible Touch, you have to go in with the right frame of mind. Don't go in expecting a crazy progressive rock comeback or something, but also don't get too cynical and expect a full-on Phil Collins solo record. It's still a full-band effort, although not as much as it could have been; in any case, if you enjoy fun and emotional 80s pop/rock, this album will easily fit the bill. Perhaps I'm viewing it as a guilty pleasure of sorts, but it's just too damn entertaining to completely ignore; yes, there's still crap on the record, but the gems are so well-done that it almost doesn't matter. Almost.



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user ratings (344)
Chart.
2.9
good
other reviews of this album
Matthijs van der Lee (4)
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The best Phil Collins solo album....


Comments:Add a Comment 
Necrotica
January 6th 2014


10063 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Definitely on a roll right now with reviewing, it seems

Necrotica
January 6th 2014


10063 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Fuckyeah, I love American Psycho

Necrotica
January 6th 2014


10063 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Btw, I find it hilarious that this album has an average of 2.9/5 and yet no review's under a 3.5

JS19
January 6th 2014


4372 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Gets rated by people that haven't really listened to it

Digging: Taylor Swift - 1989

JamieTwort
Contributing Reviewer
January 6th 2014


21441 Comments


Good pop album.

Necrotica
January 6th 2014


10063 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I pretty much hate Abacab, haha

DrHouseSchuldiner
January 6th 2014


5643 Comments


Duke was last genesis i heard,not sure what to check after it

Necrotica
January 6th 2014


10063 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This would be the next logical purchase then

BigPleb
January 6th 2014


37585 Comments


Rules.

JamieTwort
Contributing Reviewer
January 6th 2014


21441 Comments


Wouldn't go that far.

BigPleb
January 6th 2014


37585 Comments


JT is moody today, I hate Wilson too dude its ok.

Nagrarok
January 6th 2014


8298 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Actually yeah it does.

zakalwe
January 6th 2014


8876 Comments


80s Genesis cringetastic.

Digging: King Buzzo - This Machine Kills Artists

KILL
January 6th 2014


72090 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

i'm not a fan, but my dad likes it!

Digging: Steve Hackett - Out of the Tunnel's Mouth

JamieTwort
Contributing Reviewer
January 6th 2014


21441 Comments


lol Pleb I'm not moody at all, sorry if I'm coming off that way.


I just can't help but compare the enjoyment I get from this to that which I get from their earlier albums (including the first 2 Phil Collins-fronted albums) and really this is a long way off in that respect for me. Still a good album for what it is though, no doubt about that.

InfamousGrouse
January 6th 2014


3569 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

this certainly has some enjoyable tracks

Friday13th
January 6th 2014


2654 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Tell me why this is a band of confusion
And not much prog to go around

Digging: Triana - El Patio

Jethro42
January 6th 2014


12547 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Morrocan Roll next?

menawati
Contributing Reviewer
January 6th 2014


16113 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

best pop genesis is the self-titled, at least it's got home by the sea on it

Digging: H.P. Lovecraft - H.P. Lovecraft II

menawati
Contributing Reviewer
January 6th 2014


16113 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

duke is still proggy tho so wasnt including that and the only good thing on abacab is dodo/lurker



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