"Genesis fans, it’s time to sit up and take notice. There are any number of Genesis tribute bands out there. And there bands such as The Watch who borrow stylistically from early Genesis in the creation of their music. And then there is Unifaun! Wow, I wasn’t prepared for this one. The band’s intentions with this record were to “make the songs Genesis never recorded”, and it accomplishes that task in spades. Listening to their self titled debut release is both gloriously joyful and just a little spooky. These guys are that good.
So who is Unifaun? Well it’s two people really. Nad Sylvan (vocals, guitar, bass, keys, drums) and Bonamici (keys, bass, percussion). The two met on a forum for Genesis fans and for the past four years have been working on the music created here. What’s interesting is that these two guys make no apologies for sounding like Genesis, which was the very point of their efforts, to make the music that Genesis seemed to have drifted away from.
This is just an amazing CD. Unifaun captures the very essence of Genesis creating 12 songs ranging anywhere from two-and-a-half-minutes to fourteen and sounding like a disc of music that Genesis itself made, had they not chosen to forget about acoustic guitars and complex, quirky compositions. I’m serious, as I sat listening to this record I was blown away by the sounds I heard. There would be a keyboard passage that would have fit perfectly on ‘Selling England…’ or a guitar part right out of ‘Wind & Wuthering’ or a vocal part from ‘Lamb’ and so it goes. More than just sound LIKE Genesis, each of these tracks really does sound like songs that should have been on any of those albums. And what’s so neat is that rather than just sounding like Genesis, these songs are so well constructed and complex, both in terms of musicianship and arrangement, that they sound as if the last few years never happened and the original band just kept creating progressive rock music. Not only do all the keyboards and guitars ring true, so do the vocals. In fact Sylvan’s vocals manage to capture the range of both Gabriel and Collins and even on a couple tracks Marillion’s Fish. It’s so hard to pick favorite tracks on this disc because they’re all so different and each has so many sonic catch-points, a great Mellotron, a soft flute like passage, piping Arp synth sound, ambient guitar passages, it’s all there on display.
The more I listen to Unifaun, the more I like it. The songs are so varied with so many little bits going on; I can keep listening to this disc for a long time. If you enjoy the music of early Genesis, say from 1972-1980, from Foxtrot to Duke you have GOT to get your hands on this disc. I’m serious it’s like nothing you’ve heard before. Without question Unifaun has become one of my favorites of 2008. It’s a brilliant CD and I highly recommend it."
THE PROGRESSIVE ROCK FILES
""Can you tell me where my country lies said the Unifaun to his true love's eyes”. So goes the opening line to both the Genesis classic Dancing With The Moonlit Knight and their 1973 album Selling England By The Pound. Thirty five years on, Peter Gabriel’s wordplay provides a suitably evocative title for the debut project from the partnership of Nad Sylvan (vocals, guitars, bass, keys, drums) and Bonamici (keys, vintage sound design). The pair decided to collaborate after discovering a mutual interest in all things Genesis through an internet forum in October 2003. The liner notes state that their goal was to "write the songs Genesis never did" or more precisely to produce music in the style of Genesis circa 1972 to 1980. As Gabriel jumped the Genesis ship halfway through the 70’s the Swedish duo draws inspiration from both his and the Phil Collins era that followed. The latter comes more naturally to Sylvan thanks to a singing voice that’s a dead ringer for PC’s. His PG style phrasing on the other hand sounds closer to Fish during early period Marillion when the big man displayed a penchant for Gabrielesque vocal mannerisms.
Although there are umpteen Genesis tribute acts out there, Unifaun make a point of stressing that they do not fall in that category. Their approach is more akin to The Watch, a band that also produces original material with a distinct Genesis flavour. If anything the influences in Unifaun’s songs are even more overt than their Italian counterparts. Some sections of their music for instance can be directly linked to passages from Genesis tunes especially in the mini-epic Quest For The Last Virtue. On the other hand there are times when they hardly sound like Genesis at all which is not altogether a bad thing. In fact it wasn’t until I progressed beyond the ‘spot the Genesis bit’ before I really began to appreciate the album and recognise the songs for their true worth. The cleverly titled opener Birth Of A Biggie is a good case in point. Like so much of the material here its influence can be pinpointed to the Trick Of The Tail/Wind And Wuthering period. What sets it apart however is the strong sense of melody that lingers long after the lush Tony Banks style keyboards have submerged into the subconscious. Likewise, the acoustic tinged To The Green Faerie boasts rich harmonies and a catchy chorus that harks back to the Mike Rutherford penned Your Own Special Way and is every bit as memorable.
With its gothic organ sound, stirring mellotron and eccentric style Mr. Marmaduke And The Minister is a throwback to the quirkiness of The Musical Box, Harold The Barrel, and elements of Supper’s Ready. The bubbly synth however comes courtesy of the Selling England album and Sylvan rolls his R’s in fine Gabriel/Fish fashion. As with the opening song Birth Of A Biggie which concludes with a guitar phrase more typical of Howe than Hackett, Mr. Marmaduke closes with a brief but excellent synth solo that evokes Emerson as much as it does Banks. ReHacksis is the first of four instrumentals and delivers exactly what you would expect given the title. Whilst Sylvan’s playing doesn’t quite soar the same heights as Steve Hackett’s he does provide a strong hook and the lyrical flute is especially evocative of SH’s early solo albums. Given its length, it’s not surprising that the aforementioned Quest For The Last Virtue contains more than its fair share of Genesis references. Sweeping mellotron string and choral washes, a Slippermen style vocal, a pastoral acoustic guitar and flute interlude are all featured. Once again Sylvan and Bonamici take all of these elements and wrap them up into one tunefully infectious bundle.
In comparison with the previous tracks, neither A Way Out or Maudlin Matter owe an obvious debt to Genesis despite the lilting Carpet Crawlers style keyboard rhythm in the former and the weeping guitar and mellotron backdrop in the latter. Both songs benefit from different but equally stunning choral refrains. Finistère is a short but melodious instrumental in the brooding tradition of After The Ordeal and Hairless Heart with some excellent Hackett flavoured guitar atmospherics. Should Unifaun ever decide to release a single from the album then Welcome To The Farm should certainly be first choice. It features a bright sing along chorus in the vein of I Know What I Like only better and would sit comfortably on a Collins solo album. Somewhat surprisingly the album ends with two instrumentals. The first Bon Apart is a tranquil classical piano piece and a reminder that Banks didn’t feature this instrument solo as much as he should have done within Genesis. With its pulsating rhythm and densely layered guitar and keys, End-Or-Fin is a tuneful mid-tempo excursion that owes as much to The Flower Kings as it does Genesis. Doubtless had it been performed by the latter it would have had Collins’ vocals all over it.
There are a number of prog artists and copyists I can think of that can pull off a passable Hackett lick or a Banks synth break or a Collins drum fill. What sets Sylvan and Bonamici apart is their ability to capture the true essence of Genesis’ music including the sense of fun and melody as much as it does the epic sweep. Unlike many of their contemporaries, Genesis rarely indulged in lengthy virtuoso soloing and likewise Unifaun keep the instrumental work on a short leash which benefits the song and the melody. A minor criticism is the odd occasion when they go beyond their remit of “making the songs Genesis never did.” A good case in point is the synth and mellotron choir sequence in Quest For The Last Virtue which could have been lifted from the end of Genesis’ Entangled and pasted into the middle of Unifaun’s song. To give full credit not only do they faithfully recreate the sound of their heroes but they’ve produced an album that stands up very well on its own merits. So whether you’re a fan of Genesis or not there is much to enjoy in this gloriously uplifting and meticulously crafted release which also brings to mind fellow Swedes like Carptree, Simon Says and Moon Safari. As Gabriel once sang “The captain leads his dance right on through the night, join the dance”.
Conclusion: 9 out of 10
DUTCH PROGRESSIVE ROCK PAGE
"This is what we could wish that Genesis would have sounded if they had continued"
"One day two guys met on Genesis website's forum. Their names were Nad Sylvan and Bonamici. Since their passion to music was not only about listening to it, they started to exchange samples of their own music. One day they decided to band together,create music and their motto was „make the songs Genesis never did” This is how Unfiaun was born, a band which is quite exceptional on contemporary music scene. So far I’ve not met a band that would so openly talk about their inspirations and fascinations. Usually people strive to underline their individuality, distinctness, own style etc. Unifaun does not make it a secret that they love early Genesis and they want to continue the work of Gabriel and Genesis. So, since they’re doing it well it’s even better!
A debut album made by this 2-member project entitled Unifaun is a must have for those who miss the sound of Genesis and for those who were listening to "Scripr for a Jesters Tear" by Marillion with fast beating heart (by the way, Marillion were also fans of Genesis that time). The very voice of Nat Sylvan is a reminiscent of Peter Gabriel and Fish – it’s very characteristic, many a time it sounds almost the same as Fish’s voice (however, some 20 years ago).
Let’s move to the music itself and contents of this release. There are 12 compositions on the album, four of which are instrumental. Interestingly enough (as for a prog rock band, rooted in the tradition of the 70s) just one composition lasts for more than 10 minutes which is - "Quest for the Last Virtue". For me it’s one of the highlights of the album. The beginning makes me think of Selling England by the Pound, was it intentional? Delicate beginning that introduces into this composition creates the atmosphere that is very ethereal and gentle. Catchy choir has a power to engrave into your memory and stay there for long, a brilliant part closing the track is just a masterpiece. Musicians managed to recreate the atmosphere of the 70s on "Mr. Marmaduke and the Minister.” From the very first second to the very last one you’ve got an impression that this song was released long time ago. This atmosphere, these characteristic bits and pieces, keyboard lines, Gabriel-tinged vocals – it’s all best quality! An almost eight minute long instrumental track “Rehackis” is an example of how you can build atmosphere and compose interesting instrumental parts without overdoing, loftiness or banality. This song has something from a legend, guitar lines and instrumental pieces make me think of some legendary lands full of fauns, elfs and imaginary creatures. I’d like to draw your attention to “A Way Out”, a semi ballad including an interesting guitar theme and loads of emotions packed just within six minutes!
Unifaun managed to release an exceptional album. It’s been a while since I last came across a good debut album. Maybe it’s a matter of nostalgia which this album evokes? However, if early-Genesis is important to you and Scripr for a Jesters Tear” evokes some memories then Unifaun is definitely worth a try for you! You can obtain the opening track "Birth of a Biggie" from our Mp3 section.
There are two ratings:
For those who are looking for novelty and innovation in music - 7/10
For those who value atmosphere most and like to return to music which is not so popular today…and I’m in this group - 9,5/10
"Det finns en äkthet över hela konceptet som jag själv blir ganska så förundrad över, då det trots allt handlar om att plagiera ett annat bands sound. När man dock gör det så skickligt som killarna i Unifaun gör det, så spelar det ingen roll, för det här är grymt bra. Kan man bara acceptera att detta inte är Genesis och hela tiden försöka jämföra med dessa, utan ta det som det är. Nämligen ”bara” ett svenskt bands sätt att hylla sina hjältar genom att återskapa förebildernas sound. Trots många års lyssnande på originalets alla plattor, alla tidsepoker, tycker jag att detta är så skickligt komponerat, ljudmässigt återskapat och framförallt så skickligt framfört att jag till 100 % kan rekommendera denna platta till den mest inbitne fantasten."
"When does a pastiche become a tribute band? It is one thing to lament the passing, either physically or artistically, of your favourite artists (just ask Metallica fans), but it's quite another to fill that void yourself (see Trivium). Bravely, that is what Unifaun have done here. What's more, they openly admit that they have recorded an album in the spirit of Genesis. So, it's 1972 again. Thankfully, Unifaun probably don't realize that they have drawn influence from other bands too. I can hear early Pink Floyd in the whimsy of second track 'To The Green Faerie'. Marillion too (although it could be argued that Marillion were riding Genesis' coattails anyway). There's enough bat-shit craziness going on to keep the interest levels up, even for the casual progressive rock fan. However, there is also a great degree of instant gratification for those frightened by virtuosity. For a duo, the elemental parts of the songs are very well written and executed. Multi-instrumentalist and Singer Nad Sylvan should very much be applauded for his obvious passion in his work. Sounding very much like Phil Collins, with touches of Fish, his Swedish accent adding a lilting touch of the exotic to proceedings. The production is flawless of course, with each instrument lushly presented and separated in the mix. I'm going to overlook the origins of the band, and the Genesis fixation, and I advise you all to recall what quality song-writing was in early-70s England. Then, listen to Unifaun and wonder why no one in this country does this anymore. I personally haven't got a clue. Unifaun understand this niche and, rather than dwelling on being merely a tribute, have taken the aspects that made this era so captivating and brought them to the modern era. From Genesis to Revelation indeed."
"Genesis soundscapes" is one quote I have read around the net that best describes this duet from Sweden, and it's hard to argue, as this cd captures the sound, style and vibe of the classic band right down to the vocal nuances, and believe it or not, Nad Sylvan sounds like Collins and Gabriel put together.
There are a LOT of bands mimicking the classic Genesis sound, many are forgettable, but this one may very well be the most intriguing of all, firstly because of the sincere vocals, as well as the material, and production values of the cd overall. Yet, the one thing is you pretty much have to be a fan of vintage Genesis to appreciate what this band is accomplishing by "borrowing" the vibe of a legendary band, while composing all original material. So it does come off a bit as a sillouette plagiarism, but not actually filling in the shadows with color if you get my drift.
So this is two multi-talented musicians that have collaborated with the intent on capturing where a band left off in t he mid to late 70's, I guess their diehard progfans could have only wished the band would actually have done this cd, but they became lost in their own popularity and found themselves feeding the media machine, leaving their early fans starved for more of their artistic geniuos heard on their most accepted prog works. So here, these same two dedicated individuals, harnessed what sounds like many years of practicing the art of cloning the Genesis sound, have really succeeded in not only getting the vocal nuances down, but the writing style and musical forays that were so infectious on the bands most appreciated work.
OK, so I will admit, this is a very well done cd, the musicianship is there, and it has that same sincerity as the originals, far more convincing than the many Neo-Prog bands that have tried to do the watered down version, where vocals dominated the music, while the instruments get dummied down, I am not hearing that here, the music is beautifully conceived, with the vocals being equally complimentary.
At this point, it is up to the reader to decide, find some samples for yourself, and decide what you think. I tend to be a bit more demanding on bands trying to do tributes, or in this case the term "Genesis soundscapes" is very appropriate, but I must admit, this is an impressive disc, with ample amounts of music outside the vocal realm to satisfy the very essence of what classic Genesis did to impress the progressive rock."
"8 OUT OF 10"
USA PROGRESSIVE MUSIC
"For all fans of Genesis, a very valuable investment.
More convincing than the latest album from The Watch."
RATING: 4 of 5 stars
"Man o man...and I thought The Watch sounded like Genesis. In 35 years of listening I've never heard a band sound so much like Genesis as Unifaun. This one is scary...
The band Unifaun consists of two members - Nad Sylvan and the singular named Bonamici. These two guys contacted one another in a Genesis forum in 2003. Their agenda is to create original compositions in the "Genesis soundscape". Sylvan's vocals sound so much like Collins (or Gabriel as the need be) that its uncanny. The instrumentation is taken right out of the early 70s Genesis playbook. The keyboard sounds are pure Tony Banks - absolutely indistinguishable from the original. So I can't exactly give these guys any points for originality - you've heard all of this before. On the other hand if you love Genesis and want to hear pastiche of songs that might have been...then look (or listen) no further. The duo set out to recreate the Genesis sound - all I can say is "mission accomplished"!"
THE LASER’S EDGE