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Invisible Men - 1983 Invisible Men

ARTIST: Invisible Men
ALBUM: Invisible Men
LABEL: Passport
YEAR: 1983


LINEUP: Anthony Phillips - vocals, guitars, bass, keyboards, mellotron, tubular bells * Richard Scott - vocals, keyboards, guitars

Guests: Jeff Dunne, Paul Robinson - drums * Bimbo Acock, Martin Robertson - sax * Morris Pert - tambourine, kalimba * Joji Hirota - percussion * Martin Drover - trumpet, flugelhorn * Vic Stench - bass, contrabass * Ralph Bernascone - sarrusaphone * Malcom Griffiths - trombone * Jonathan Snowden - piccolo * Uti Koofreh - background vocals

TRACK LISTING: 01 Sally * 02 Golden Bodies * 03 Going For Broke * 04 Exocet * 05 Love In A Hot Air Balloon * 06 Traces * 07 I Want Your Heart * 08 Falling For Love * 09 Guru * 10 The Women Were Watching * 11 My Time Has Come

As a founding member of Genesis, Anthony Phillips stuck around for just two albums; the splendid orchestral pop of 'From Genesis To Revelation' and the effervescent 'Trespass' before calling it a day to concentrate on a solo career. That decision has seen Phillips run the gamut from acoustic progressive, electronic, pop and even new age music filled with highs and lows, but he's been nothing short of prolific to say the least. In 1979, he released a record aimed at the commercial market called 'Sides' using a vocalist going by the name 'The Vicar' which as it turns out was Phillips himself. Although released at a time when progressive rock was all but dead as far as the media was concerned, the album was a success artistically. During this creative period, experimentation with synthesizers had begun creeping into Ant's work culminating in the 1981 album '1984' which featured guitarist and engineer Richard Scott. Utilizing a plethora of session people, Phillips and Scott formed Invisible Men with a decidedly commercial sound that left many fans wondering if Ant had given up on prog rock in favour of pop, following the path of his former mates in Genesis.

The Songs
In truth, no one needed to worry about Phillips' prog future and going back to this album and giving it a few spins in the last week or two I find myself enjoying it far more than I did back in '83. There's no way anyone could place this record outside the period it was recorded mainly due to the keyboard work which reeks of that 'love it or hate it' early eighties sound. Making up for synth overload and bloated production is a brace of good songs and I hear Camel, Asia and Alan Parsons Project in the Invisible Men sound. In other words, while the direction is pop oriented there are still plenty of progressive rock moves to make everyone happy. 'Sally' is a great opener in an 80's Sad Cafe frame of reference and would have made for a nice single although come to think of it, I don't remember anything from this record getting air play which shouldn't be a surprise. 'Exocet' is unusual, moody and tension filled comparable to Phil Collins 'In the Air Tonight' without the hook. I naturally dig the 'Penny Lane' styled horn flourishes on the whimsical 'Love In A Hot Air Balloon' and again I hear a potential single, but it was not to be. 'Traces' is as close to Genesis as Invisible Men dared to travel and 'I Want Your Heart' is one of the albums true classics. Featuring Phillips on tubular bells, the vibe is festive and classical very similar to Dutch purveyors of symphonic rock Kayak and while the remainder of side two doesn't move me the as much as the earlier cuts 'The Women Watching' and 'My Time Has Come' are both fine efforts and worthy of repeated listens.

In Summary
It would appear the Invisible Men project exorcised Phillips pop music demons as he would return to straight progressive rock and electronic music on future releases. Compared to his classics like 'The Geese And The Ghost' and the 'Private Parts & Pieces' series, 'Invisible Men' is hardly essential and yet taken on it's own is as good as any other accessible prog album released during the 1980's.

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#1 | gdazegod on December 28 2013 06:17:31
This is an album to keep an eye out for, if you are a fan of Asia, APP, Barclay James Harvest (80's era). I feel a treasure hunt is on..
#2 | gdazegod on December 28 2013 06:19:58
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