Genesis has regrouped for the first time in a decade for a fall concert tour, and not surprisingly, their label EMI has issued a new updated compilation of the band's hits to tie-in to the event.
Turn It On Again: The Hits - The Tour Edition is a remastered version of their hits set from a few years back, only this time, it's got an additional 16 tracks included to turn it into a two-disc collection that progresses from the band's last hits like “Invisible Touch” and “Turn It On Again” to “Abacab” and “Misunderstanding” to a couple of the band's earlier Peter Gabriel incarnation gems “The Carpet Crawlers” and “I Know What I Like”.
It seems odd that in including a couple of Gabriel-era songs, they didn't include “The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway,” one of Gabriel's best known tracks with the band, but the collection ably covers the highpoints of the band's hits with Collins at the mic, and includes the remix of “Carpet Crawlers” from 1999 that was re-recorded featuring both Gabriel and Collins' vocals. The disc also includes “Congo,” a track from Genesis' last studio album in 1997 – the only Genesis album recorded without Phil Collins.
Collins is back in the fold now though, and the band's reunion tour will hit the United Center in Chicago Oct. 2-4.
Fans of Genesis have no doubt heard the band Marillion , another act with “art rock” English roots who, in their ‘80s heydays (and under the stewardship of a different lead singer, Fish), were frequently compared to Gabriel-era Genesis.
While they never made the transition from album rock to Top 40 pop hits the way Genesis did, the band has matured to a more pop-rock sensibility and has continued to tour and record over the past two decades. After a sprawling two-disc epic concept disc in 2004, this year they've issued their 14th studio album, “Somewhere Else” on MVD Records.
The disc is a more relaxed, airy affair than their last disc, with singer Steve Hogarth sounding more like a contemplative Neil Finn of Crowded House than a Peter Gabriel. From whispering intonations to belting rock, he's an engaging frontman, especially on the Crowded House-esque “Most Toys,” where the band pounds out a strutting rocker as Hogarth points out “he who dies with the most toys/is still dead, still dead!”
Most of the disc's 10 tracks are far more sedate and frequently melancholy though, easily vanishing into background music if you're not paying attention. That's both a strength and a criticism… this disc is certainly not going to win any fans on the pop charts, but it does have a shimmer of relaxing jamminess to it that makes it a great background listen. And if you do pay close attention, you'll find a bevy of subtle but effective melodies sung by Hogarth and guitar and keyboard interplay that is well worth the price of admission.
The best track is also the most unusual outing for the band – the closer, “Faith,” is a gorgeous acoustic guitar and falsetto sung ballad that will remind the astute listener of the Beatles' “Blackbird” at the outset.
Somewhere Else is not a brilliant disc, but it does make for a relaxing listen.