19 July 2012

Album Review: A Tribute To "The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway" By Rewiring Genesis

Before you begin this review, you must know some history. This album is a tribute, song for song, to the Genesis album The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway. If you have never listened to the original album, do so first. Then come back here. Believe me, you will need to know the source in order to enjoy the tribute.

That's not to say A Tribute To "The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway" doesn't stand on its own. On the contrary, even if I hadn't heard the original, I would still love this album. Nick d'Virgilio and Mark Hornsby draw out the soul of the album, sticking closely to the original format while applying some ... dare I say ... inspired arrangements.

You probably don't know, because a good number of humanity didn't buy it, but Nick (or NDV, as he's known in certain circles) was one of the two drummers used on Genesis' last studio album, the Ray Wilson-led Calling All Stations. He also toured with them during that album's European tour. So he knows something about Genesis.

And his affection shows in this album. The major thing you will notice is that the only keyboards used is the piano. No synths. Instead a full orchestra is used in place of the synthesized parts, as well as in place of some guitars and bass portions. The result is actually quite amazing. Some songs are done in a very faithful manner. Others take different, exciting turns (such as "The Colony Of Slippermen", "The Lamia", and "Riding The Scree").

My only big nitpick is Nick's vocals. Yes, comparisons will be made to Peter Gabriel ... and, to a lesser extent, Phil Collins ... and they are comparisons that are wholly unfair. Nick is his own vocalist and brings his own style and coloring to the lyrics. My issue is that his voice gets thin and tinny at important moments; this caused me a significant distraction throughout the album. But, hey, maybe you won't care.

And you shouldn't. As I said earlier, this album is a solid effort. If you didn't like the Peter Gabriel era (because the music was pretentious or muddied or whatever), I'd like for you to know that the use of an orchestra brightens up the heavy moments in The Lamb. Get yourself a copy. You'll thank me later.