Genesis

In the Beginning

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In the Beginning is a repackaging of the band's first album, From Genesis to Revelation. Written while they were still teenagers, Genesis' first album is far different from anything else in their catalog: precious songs that became putty in the hands of producer Jonathan King and arranger Arthur Greenslade. The combination of strings, horns, and Peter Gabriel's affected voice occasionally sounds like the lost soundtrack to a Rankin/Bass stop-motion movie, but that's not terrible. While the album amounts to no more than juvenilia, patient fans will find hints of things to come on Trespass in a few tracks, notably "The Serpent" and "The Conqueror." This lineup would blossom on later works, yet only Tony Banks stands out here; Anthony Phillips, Michael Rutherford, and John Silver are buried in the mix, relegated to texture rather than melody. Like David Bowie (whose early works were given a similar encore by London Records on Starting Point), this trend-setting outfit began by following trends, notably the poetic pop of the Moody Blues and Cat Stevens. However, they soon proved influential themselves, and it's not hard to imagine an early Split Enz listening to and drawing something from songs like "In the Beginning." Still, even die-hard Genesis fans aren't likely to gain much from the band's first album, in any incarnation. Despite Gabriel's sometimes forceful imagery, they struggle to shed their soft, delicate skin. As a historical footnote, though, it's well preserved.

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