"Just Visiting" - Steve Hackett's "Genesis Revisited" album. Review by Matthew Isaacs.
In this time of uncertainty within Genesis, Steve Hackett has chosen a perfect time to organise the ultimate tribute to his old pals. I suppose it doesn't matter when it was recorded. The results are absolutely timeless.
As well as assembling most of his past associates to glorious effect - Bill Bruford, John Wetton, Chester Thompson, Paul Carrack, Colin Blunstone, Tony Levin etc - "Genesis Revisited" gives Steve the perfect opportunity to demonstrate his amazing variety of guitar techniques; soloing and otherwise, on some of the standards that he helped make so special in the 1970's.
The whole album is themed around "Planet Genesis" and a lot of the arrangements and instrumentation are extremely "astral" particularly on the intro to "Dance On A Volcano" which is one of the tracks that Steve sings himself. He uses his voice well, sounding like he is from another planet; using various effects to enhance his voice. "The Fountain Of Salmacis" is given a similar treatment and sounds just as tremendous with Chester Thompson who proves to be just as dextrous in the percussion department as Phil Collins.
The most bizarre track is the crazy over the top doo-wop rendition of "I Know What I Like" with dance hall like band introduction at the end. The smooth, almost camp, back up vocals help to make this track hilarious and all comes courtesy of Mr Hackett! There are also a couple of instrumental pieces including "Waiting Room Only"; a disturbing, moody extension of the original "Lamb..." track. Steve's own composition "Riding The Colossus" is one of the stand out tracks which makes me wonder what it would have sounded like if Genesis had recorded it way back when...?
Colin Blunstone sings well on an orchestral version of "For Absent Friends", backed by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra who feature heavily throughout the album. He is an extremely underrated singer and his heart warming vocals remind me of "Old & Wise" and other Alan Parsons Project classics.
The real jewel in the crown of this album is "Déjà Vu" - a "Selling England By The Pound"-era track that was incomplete until Peter gave Steve permission to finish and record it. Paul Carracks vocals are spine-chilling, placed alongside Steve's eye watering guitar harmonising and his angelic acoustic guitar playing. Carrack also performs "Your Own Special Way" in an "Eyes Of Blue"/"How Long"-type of style which could have some Genesis purists running for the hills and tearing their hair out! In my humble opinion, this commercial arrangement suits the song well and it could be a hit single.
The only query I have with this Japanese release is that the version of "Los Endos" with Tony Banks is conspicuous by its absence. However; fear not the best is yet to come! "Watcher Of The Skies" and "Firth Of Fifth" bookend this album and they both feature Bill Bruford on drums and John Wetton on vocals. Wetton breathes fire into "Watcher..." and "Firth Of Fifth" contains a fantastic rhythmic diversity just before Steve's wonderfully acoustic vamp into the main solo which I can only describe as unbelievable. As soon as Wetton ends the last line, my mind was made up as to who I wanted to replace Mr Collins.
If, and when "Genesis Revisited" has a UK release; then I recommend it as a must for all buyers. If it doesn't make it to our stores it is still worth getting on import- you won't be disappointed!