Press File: Invisible Men
Invisible Men / Invisible Men (Passport Jem)
This is the new album and group from ex-Genesis guitarist Anthony Phillips. After years of a low profile and a concentration on classical guitar music, Phillips has returned with guitarist/vocalist Richard Scott. The songs are closer to the Genesis sound than anything Phillips has previously released as a soloist. However, they lack the dynamics of those by Phillips' former cohorts. Still, this is Phillips' strongest effort since leaving the band, and is a must for any early Genesis fan. Phillips' guitar work is still outstanding and that alone is worth the price of the album.
The Invisible Men album represents a marked change for Anthony Phillips, a founding member of Genesis and their original guitarist. After his vocal album Sides, released in 1979, Phillips made albums consisting of purely instrumental music. He experimented with synthesizers on 1984 and then turned to acoustic guitar with Enrique Berro Garcia on Private Parts & Pieces III: Antiques. During this two year period Phillips was writing continually and amassing a large number of songs in a variety of styles, not suitable for these albums.
Dale Newman and Dan Owen assisted Phillips vocally on Sides. When it was time to record Invisible Men, Phillips wanted to do the vocals himself.
Richard Scott, engineer and guitarist on 1984 assisted Phillips in selecting material for Invisible Men, looking for electronic, rhythmic and aggressive elements and rejecting any songs in Phillips' lyrical classical piano or 12-string guitar styles. They figured that these Phillips styles were abundant on his previous albums.
To record the tracks on this album, Phillips began with drum machines, synthesizers and guitar. Then Phillips added bass and essential overdubs to complete 8-track recordings. Finally, Phillips and Scott picked out all the tunes for the album.
Two songs - Exocet and Falling in Love - were written and produced by Scott. These seem to be the only two memorable songs on the disc. The remaining songs remind me of background music in bars. I could listen to this album ten times straight and still not remember a single guitar riff or lyric. There is nothing to "get into" if you know what I mean. Songs like Love in a Hot Air Balloon and The Women Are Watching are just plain silly. If you hear the album you'll understand.
Phillips is really getting into a lot of choruses into the album. Each and every song has a chorus similar to the next. Guru is a strange song that reminds me of Neil Young's later material.
I can't see the relationship between songs like The Knife or Stagnation (from Anthony Phillips' second album with Genesis) and the material on this album. When I first received this album, I figured I'd be surprised - I never thought that I'd be disappointed. Anthony Phillips decided to create a band "persona" for this effort to mark its obvious differences from his instrumental/classical side. The title Invisible Men was chosen since the actual members of the "band" will remain shrouded in mystery. I for one hope that this album meets the same fate.
Phoenix magazine, 20th December 1983
Invisible Men (Passport)
As the sticker on the front cover of the album says, this LP is by the "New Anthony Phillips Band!"; Anthony Phillips having been a founding member and original guitarist for the art-rock group Genesis (at least at the time they were considered art-rock!). Phillips played on the From Genesis To Revelation (1969) and Trespass (1970) LP's before going solo.
Since 1977 he has released numerous albums, utilizing different facets of his creative self; i.e., he's done vocal LP's, instrumental LP's, and pure acoustic guitar LP's. Apparently, Phillips' work with Richard Scott as the Invisible Men outfit is merely one other in a long line of projects, this one with the accent on wordy and fine-produced vocal music rather than on his instrumental and classical material. Unfortunately, though, the album is more overwritten and overproduced than anything else.
Big Eye Magazine
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