had been Genesis' first UK chart topper, and this album likewise followed it to the top spot, and also hit the Top 10 in the lucrative US market.
The title track features an utterly contemporary (for the time) pounding electro beat, great bass, and melodic and thrilling keyboards ... from the off, the whole thing just pounds! And, in a rather strange occurrence, Collins turns in a superb vocal performance. Really life-affirming, it's a thrilling song to open the album (and I’ve not even mentioned the extended instrumental passage!).
So, with hopes raised, "No Reply At All" begins. Now, this one sounds very dated, and in a way the title track overcomes with sheer inventiveness. "No Reply At All" is best characterised as 'pleasantly melodic', with Collins returning to his usual level of competence vocally, and all is reasonably unremarkable - save a nice piano break during the latter part of the song.
"Me and Sarah Jane" is hardly enjoyable at all vocally - Collins sounds strained in places - the song overall is pretty good though, with weird rhythms that border on reggae in places, and keyboards that do all sorts of interesting things. Musically then, it's great!
"Keep It Dark" reprises the electro sound of the title track, though it's a lot more lightweight in terms of hooks and thrills and sadly rather tails off. "Dodo" once again sounds a lot stranger than I'd expect an 80's Genesis song to sound, with weird bass rhythms bordering on funk! Good interplay between the keyboards and bass there too.
So soundwise, Abacab
is a very playful album, with much experimentation with new 80's technology. "Lurker", which segues from "Dodo" is forgettable though, and "Who Dunnit?" I don't understand at all, due to a lot of messing around with effects on everything, almost sounding like Art of Noise, so that track's very throwaway and hardly a highpoint.
by Reviewer: Adrian Denning
(blogging at Adrian's Album Reviews