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Genesis - Wind & Wuthering CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

4.11 | 2113 ratings

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4 stars 'Wind And Wuthering' moves over a similar stylistic range as 'A Trick Of The Tail', but it improves on those themes with even more variety, more assertive playing, and several moments of instrumental synergy that stand amongst the greatest moments in this band's incredible discography.

How can you lose with the two wonderful songs that open the album? "Eleventh Earl Of Mar" echoes the pastoral feel of much of 'Selling England By The Pound', with Phil's multi- layered vocals giving him a ghostly presence. The rhythms are intense and pounding, offsetting Hackett's delicate acoustic work and the blue-sky-beautiful keyboard genius of Tony Banks. "One For The Vine" is a deeper journey than the opener, offering plenty of emotion and a lot of dense layers to plow through. Excellent headphone listening. It's a fascinating trip through peaks and valleys, lots of different parts, lots of great playing, moments of arresting tension and soothing calm. The 5:28 mark brings a vibrant keyboard-driven theme that is as memorable as anything this band has ever done.

If those first two songs are typical Genesis (ie. typically awe-inspiring), then the album becomes a bit unpredictable from here. "Your Own Special Way" is the band's first stab at simple balladry since "More Fool Me". Unfortunately, it's as forgettable. The recording/production (hats off to David Hentschel) brings out its beautiful keyboard layers, but the rest of the song is so middle-of-the-road it could've been written and performed by any number of '70s-era lite-rock balladeers. Shades of things to come. "Wot Gorilla?" is a colorful instrumental, maybe seen as a more carefree "Los Endos", a bouncy bit of authoritative playing that unfortunately doesn't last long enough for it to develop into the true monster it could have. "All In A Mouse's Night" is a lighthearted tale with appropriately airy music supporting it. This song underscores my opinion (which I have also heard others voice) that 'Wind And Wuthering' is probably the most Banks-driven Genesis album of all. While Rutherford pumps along quite strongly along with Collins' dexterous rhythms, Banks lays his keys all over everything, becoming almost smothering in places. Hackett lays back, employing sound- effects a majority of the time until the moments he strikes and reminds you there is a guitarist in this band. In contrast to Banks on 'W & W', this is probably Hackett's most subtle performance in his 6 albums with Genesis.

"Blood On The Rooftops" begins with a signature bit of acoustic Hackett, then into a song of brooding melancholy, made lighter in mood thanks to Banks' bright melodic choices. It has never seemed quite complete to me, but what we have here is enjoyable regardless.

Pure drama is what you'll get in the beyond-amazing instrumental "Unquiet Slumbers For The Sleepers.In That Quiet Earth". (Might as well but the two titles together-it's conceptually one song, broken apart on the track listing due to issues of songwriting credit that were of concern to the band.) Built of massive pieces that build an even grander structural whole, ".Quiet Earth" is played in a most authoritative way, surely one of the prime examples of Genesis at the height of their powers. Heavy and dominating at times, gentle and sublime at others. And speaking of sublime, the great and wonderful "Afterglow" floats everything to a warming close. Banks considers this one of his very favorite Genesis songs, and who can disagree? A gorgeous song with a gentle linear flow, this panoramic wonder is made a classic thanks to Banks' incredibly lush layering and Phil's best vocal work in Genesis up to this point.

'Wind And Wuthering' is an always-amazing listen, with a production that is thick and always pushing Banks' layers of keys to the foreground. If it weren't for "Your Own Special Way", I would easily give this the big 5-star treatment.

slipperman | 4/5 |


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