Turn it on again!!!

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Genesis, Duke SACD review.

1980’s Duke has our friends starting to turn the page from Prog Rock, to more of the radio friendly tunes. Now don’t get me wrong, Duke has some fantastic, tightly written, long pieces that are quite satisfying. However, we start seeing more of the pop ditties that turned off so many of the old school fans. I for one, enjoy both sides of Genesis and find this to be a near perfect album. Sure “Alone Tonight” is a little sappy, but the Duchess Suite, and Duke’s Travel and End, makes up for any of the album’s misgivings.

Alas, I am here to review the album’s sound and not the content, so I will give you that.

I cannot review this album without referring back to the awful time I had with”… And Then There Were Three…” “Three” had such an awful sound, that I needed a breather and palette cleanser so as to move on. I listen to Duke quite often, almost as much as Trick, so there aren’t many nuances I am not thoroughly familiar with, this disc brought out all of that and more with a wonderful, bouncy, live sound that impressed me from start to finish. In fact, the sound is so solid and consistent, I see no reason to go track by track on this release. I will return to that format, if future releases have variations in perceived audio quality track to track, but this is a solid album.

Describing this album the word “live” could be used a lot. It describes not only the lively sound of the more upbeat material, but also the entire collection of songs sound like they were recorded live, within a short amount of time at the same studio. The bonus DVD all but confirms this. The members  all had solo experience at this point, and there maturity shows here. Sparkling vocals, tight bass, crystal clear instruments, and great surround use is the norm here.

Notable stand outs are on Behind the Lines, which is a stark contrast from the last SACD, grabbing you and letting you know that you are in for an enjoyable ride. Man of our Times finally loses the garbled crunch of previous versions and really opens into something musical. Heathaze, lets Phil’s voice warble on the quiet intro enough to where you can almost hear the tears in his voice. Turn it on Again, is perfect single material, and the final Duke Suite envelops you and makes you want to hit the repeat button on your player to experience it all again!

It pleased me so much to know, that one of my favorites was treated with so much care, and sonically will stand the test of time unlike the thinner versions I had before.

I am optimistic now for Abacab, and if it is half as good as this, I should be very pleased. I don’t anticipate any sonic problems with the releases after this, Genesis has always been a band concerned about good sound. Technology may have finally caught up to them in the later releases, with much newer and solid source tapes. The Gabriel years are truly going to be a treat to revisit in hi-rez, I just pray the original sources are going to stand up to modern scrutiny. Should be a fun journey regardless, and I will never complain for having an excuse to hear these gems any chance I get.

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