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Ray Wilson Makes Me Think Of Home
German Genesis Fanclub: 25th anniversary


After Ray Wilson’s cut from Genesis here is Ray Wilson – with Cut!


If you entered the large mansion of music in search of Cut you would most likely find it in rooms labeled “grunge”, “crossover” or “independent rock” without really capturing the essence of Cut’s music. In these room you would also meet bands like Garbage, No Doubt, Liquido (Narcotic), Pearl Jam, Live, Radiohead and Jeff Buckley (Ray Wilson cites these last four as his main influences).

Cut is another group who carefully avoid smiles on band photos and make it a point to look important, serious, frustrated, mimic-free, unhappy and sullen as if this were the only way to gain credibility. The music of Cut will most appeal to the offspring of the so-called X Generation who have already grown out of their youth. Their attitude towards life is a mixture of lack of prospects, of tristesse, depression, no escapes and lethargy. Hardly surprising if you consider the cold and lovelessness of our oh so civilized modern societies.

Back to the music: It would do Cut wrong to say they are merely catering to the zeitgeist. True, their music follows the traditions of the above-mentioned music styles of youth and/or sub-culture, but Millionairhead is a very mature, grown-up album. The songs on it seem sensitive, fragile, bizarre, quiet, aggressive, frequently sullen and depressive but then again strong. Most of these were penned by Genesis newcomer Ray Wilson and are clad in very tasteful and unusual arrangements and dynamics. The Cut songs are generally mid-tempo and more melodious than the Stiltskin material; in fact the sound like a mixture of Stiltskin and Genesis. Wilson’s voice sounds very different from Calling All Stations on Millionairhead, very versatile and sophisticated. Twelve (thirteen, if you include the single) of the twenty songs Cut had written by summer 1996 have been released so far – a little belated, since Cut was put on hold when Ray Wilson unexpectedly joined Genesis.


CoverCut were founded in summer 1995, and its line-up is almost the same as that of Guaranteed Pure, the band in which Ray Wilson played before Stiltskin and Genesis: Ray’s brother Steve (guitar), Norwegia-by-choice Paul Holmes (keyboards) and John Haimes (bass). The newcomer to the band is Genesis drummer Nir Zidkyahu! With Millionairhead Cut may be a couple of years behind the trend, but never mind that, as a wise man once said “Fashion is an imported epidemic” Good if people do not follow the trends and do their own timeless thing.

The album was produced by Ray Wilson himself and mixed by Nick Davis at the Fisher Lane Farm. It is by no means a party record and certainly not palatable in every mood and situation, but you will find yourself listening to it with the pleasure and knowledge that this is a very interesting you will come back to. As far as Genesis are concerned, Millionairhead raises expectations: How will it sound when Banks, Rutherford and Collins release the first album they have really written together?



The songs


Jigsaw

A great opening song! Gentle and playful verses are juxtaposed with rougher parts. The song includes a tough guitar solo and a strong, bombastic ending.


Sarah

This typical “indie rock” song contrasts rough guitar sounds accompanied by a bass in eights with slower, almost unusual parts. Says Ray Wilson: “Sarah is an actress or a rock star, a woman you would love to meet but you know you will never meet her or be with her.”


Another Day

… was originally meant to be on a second Stiltskin album. A slightly folky song that just begged to be released as a single with its catchy chorus hookline. Ray explains: “Another Day is about my feelings back then, but at the same time it is about a former school mate who killed himself.” Despite this topic, the major key harmonies and the mood make Another Day the most positive song on Millionairhead.


Hey, Hey

Remarkably melodic drumming during the verses is later augmented by a mellotron. Light choruses, an unobtrusive piano tune, rocky middle section with a surprising twist and an epic coda that ends quietly and could have been written by Genesis complete this varied song.


Millionairhead

The rocking, fast-paced, Stiltskin-like title song tells the tongue-in-cheek tale of an argument Ray Wilson had with Stiltskin guitarist Peter Lawlor. Begins in-your-face, continues in-your-face and ends in-your-face.


Shoot The Moon

The acoustic guitar in the intro and in the verses reminds the reviewer of Mike Rutherford. After the second repetition  of the lovely wistful chorus it leads into a high vocal part that makes you wonder just who is singing here? A 60s Hammond organ and mellotron solo reminiscent of Procol Harum (A Whiter Shade Of Pale) follows.


Young Ones

… continues Shoot The Moon: Restrained verses, compact choruses like a mixture of Not About Us and Uncertain Weather, interesting drum sounds, a hilarious honky-tonk synth bar piano in the middle with an exceptional solo on the grand piano and sound effects (a school yard?) in the background.


No Place For A Loser

… stands out from the other songs because lots of instruments occur in the arrangements; the song flows very straight except  for the drum break in the middle. The first harmonic links in the chorus (G major, E flat Major) sounds unusual.


Space Oddity

… sounds like the original. Says Ray: “David Bowie was the first musician I consciously listened to. He is the reason why I started making music.”


I Hear You Calling

In short: A shrill guitar intro, hammering bass, distorted vocals, little keyboards, straight rock piece, got something off Anything Now, B-side of the single.


Gypsy

Gentle guitar chords are soon supported by warm organ sounds. The fantastic chorus resembles something from The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway (Lilywhite Lilith?). The Floydian first middle section is complemented by a second part that could have been written by Led Zeppelin. Gypsy was inspired by the U2 video for All I Want Is You in which a midget falls in love with a trapeze artist. This song, like the video, spreads a sentimental, melancholic mood. Gypsy is NirZidkyahu’s favourite song on Millionairhead.


Ghost

After the dreamy intro the verses keep growing in volume and density of arrangement towards the chorus. The middle section divides into a vocal bit and a piano solo that leads into the chorus outro. Ghost, a song Ray Wilson only wrote when he was in Genesis, is the most recent song on the album. Wilson reveals what he thinks about critics’ words: “You break my into many pieces.”

by Bernd Vormwald
translated by Martin Klinkhardt
first published in it #26 (spring 1999)


Ray Wilson


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