Worlds Of Yesterday
[a retrospective, 1971 - 1992]
(2020 - One Small Step - UK)
A wonderland for Phil Collins fronted and a small dose of earlier period Genesis fans. If one does not know the truth about this release, they might even suspect this is a secret new release that Genesis made to coincide with the reunion hype the band has going in 2020. This is easily a hole-in-one for this audience. The time and creative energy it took maestro Tim Bowness to put this together is quite impressive, and for that alone, I think all the tomfoolery is worth its weight in gold. But let us get down to business. I will leave all the details in the booklet and promotional material to the readers to enjoy on their own. There are even some videos of "musicians" claiming fond memories of Moonshot. A very indepth creation for sure.
Some members (David K. Jones - bass / Colin McKay - producer, engineer, arranger, programmer / and most noticeable on those Phil Collins - like lead vocals, John Wilkinson) actually come from an excellent UK progressive rock band called The Swan Chorus, who released an outstanding self titled album in 2018, very similar in sound to this Moonshot release (imagine that). Although this release has fooled many critics who did no research and wrote from the seat of their little boy pants (is this any surprise?), the credits for 'Worlds Of Yesterday' are (see above for already mentioned honors): Janet McKinney, Selina Wexler, Sian Doyle - backing vocals / David K. Jones - bass guitar, bass pedals, 12-string acoustic guitar, backing Vocals / James Cooper - drums, percussion / John Comish - keyboards / and Darren Dean - guitar. The material was written by a collection of Tim Bowness (No-Man, Plenty, Henry Fool, a slew of collaboration and guest spots, and of course his now prolific solo work), Stephen Bennett (who may be known by some for his participation in his first band LaHost and later with The Fire Thieves, The Opium Cartel, and Henry Fool, where he worked with Bowness), and on the song 'Before That Before' are The Swan Chorus members David K. Jones and John Wilkinson. It might interest you that David Jones was in the early band Plenty with Tim Bowness, Also, both David and John are/were in Genesis tribute band Mama. So those are more pieces to the puzzle. Oddly Bowness does not perform on any instruments here. He is only the creator, curator. and Headmaster.
To be clear, there is very little to none of the sound of end times Genesis (thankfully), but rather a nice spread of classic goodies from 'A Trick of the Tail' (1975),'Wind & Wuthering' (1976), '...And Then There Were Three' (1978), 'Duke' (1980), and stretching to the tone of 'Invisible Touch' (1986). The remarkably similar Phil Collins vocals give any fan a dream come true of more music from this era. While the first few songs come across with those 1980's period Genesis, the real hook is 'The Great Electric Teenage Dream' (track #6) with that freshly departed Gabriel span of 1975/1976. The devotee of 'Selling England By The Pound' and before may not be as thrilled with all this. However, there is a big change with 'The Sweetest Bitter Pill' (track #8) written by Bowness, with a substantial early King Crimson hybrid Moody Blues aura, even if the vocals still sound like Collins. Then the first presence of choral Mellotron and soaring raygun lead guitar ala Steve Hackett, with that one morsel of early Genesis that invokes the strength of Goliath, is on 'Distant Summers' (track #9). Although a remake, this song was originally on Tim Bowness 'Lost In The Ghost Light' (2017) release. Tim sang lead on that version, as he did all the other tunes repurposed here. Further investigation shows this is actually a recreation of that project. In fact, the first track on 'Worlds Of Yesterday' is 'Moonshot Manchild', by which this whole concept was birthed from. 'Lost In The Ghostlight' (the song) is included as well as, 'Worlds Of Yesterday' (where he got the title), 'Nowhere Good To Go', and 'You'll Be The Silence'. Tim is full of slight of hand here, but the remakes are superb and sound totally new, even better in many cases. Using a new set of band members really allows some new life to be spawned.
What a beautiful ball of wax, this collection of compositions that take one back to exactly what the title says: 'Worlds Of Yesterday' (just a note: my compact disc has a typo of "Worlds Of Yesterddy" on the front cover but I only see correct spellings on all the listings around the net). In this case, imitation is flattery, the rewrites are admirable, and also welcome. The two bonus tracks are nothing wasteful, as 'You'll Be The Silence' is more like Big Big Train at their best (the vocals also have a David Longdon echo) and 'Moonshot Shadows' reeks of that transitional period Genesis, where all cylinders were still firing. Forceful, alive, and full of boiling over skill. Eleven songs of beautifully done retro, and though the discography band and extensive storyline may be fiction, the actual musicians performing and the music are real.
©Reviewed by Lee Henderson 3 - 7 - 2020