Invisible Touch


Atlantic Records, 1986

REVIEW BY: Jeff Clutterbuck


Well, after researching the matter thoroughly via the Internet and the National Archives, and having consulted the nation's top scientists, I have come to the following conclusion: technically speaking, the former progressive rock group Genesis did record Invisible Touch.

For the past few weeks, you have all read the various takes we have at the Vault on the discography of Genesis. Just think, it wasn't that long ago the reviews for Foxtrot, or Selling England By The Pound went up. Now here we are, with Invisible Touch, the six million copy-selling pop-rock monster. Just ponder for a moment, how many other bands have undergone such radical changes, and come out on top like Genesis did? For the life of me, I cannot think of one.

Note that so far, I have yet to label Invisible Touch as a lousy album. That is because it really isn't, when viewed with the proper context. For a Genesis fan from the early '70s, there is no question this album must have been viewed as an abomination, sacrilege of the worst kind. For an '80s pop fan, this is a wonderful crafted, catchy work. Seeing as how Genesis had completely ditched the whole prog rock sound by this point, it's unfair to hold my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Invisible Touch against an album such as The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway. It is a pop album, nothing more.

The first four tracks of this album are gold, pure gold. Anyone who lived in the '80s will remember "Invisible Touch," "Tonight, Tonight, Tonight," "Land Of Confusion" and "In Too Deep." Each song has its own unique charm, as well as a qualitatively different sound. "In Too Deep" is a touching ballad, though it sounds an awful lot like a Phil Collins solo effort. "Invisible Touch" was always a personal favorite of mine, with its driving, almost danceable beat and strong refrain.

"Tonight…" is the dark tale of a drug addict, who wants one more fix. Collins reaches into his own track "In The Air Tonight" to provide some wonderfully intense vocals. The track simmers at first, but slowly builds more and more intensity until things erupt in the final two minutes. "Land of Confusion" follows as an indictment against 1986 society. Now, while no one will confuse this with, say, "Revolution," it's a gritty rocker that Genesis uncharacteristically pulls off well.

While the second half of the album isn't bad, the four remaining tracks are weaker when compared to the previous four. In particular there is "The Brazilian" and "Domino." The latter is a ten minute "epic," the former an instrumental. To me, it sounds as if Genesis was still trying to retain some measure of artistic credibility. Unfortunately, it doesn't work. "The Brazilian" sounds horribly out of date, more so than the rest of the album combined. "Domino" simply fails to excite. I kept expecting a climax similar to "Tonight, Tonight, Tonight," but there is none to be found. The horn propelled "Anything She Does" provides a spark of energy, but "Throwing It All Away" cancels that out. This has been one Genesis hit that I have never been fond of; it just lacks strong performances or catchy hooks.

I can see why this album sold so many copies; it certainly has its share of shining moments. While Invisible Touch may have marked the official death of Genesis as a prog rock entity, do not let that influence how you listen to the album. It is well-crafted pop, something Genesis delivered over and over again throughout the '80s.

Rating: B

User Rating: A-



© 2005 Jeff Clutterbuck and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Atlantic Records, and is used for informational purposes only.