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Genesis - A Trick Of The Tail CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

4.28 | 2557 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
5 stars "Holy Mother of God" are the first words sung on this album and that was my first thought upon hearing the dynamic and arresting sounds of the "new" Genesis booming through the shop's stereo system. I was honestly astounded by what I was hearing. I was working in a record store in February of 1976 and I must admit I had never really paid any attention to this band for one ridiculous reason or another. (Mostly because I was firmly and conceitedly into Yes and was convinced that no other group could rival them for my attention. I guess you could have called me a "Yessnob").

But the high fidelity and undeniable power of "Dance on a Volcano" with it's odd conga-line-from-hell beat grabbed me by the aural lapels and made me realize that I had better take Genesis seriously for this strong collection of songs was obviously a force to be reckoned with. Therefore, Trick of the Tail remains one of my favorite Genesis albums because it was my first to own. Steve Hackett's gorgeous twelve-string opens "Entangled" and Phil Collins' amazing vocals made me wonder why this excellent singer had been hiding behind the drum kit for so long. (I really knew nothing of their history). Then Tony Banks' synthesizer and Mellotron take over, creating a wonderful and mysterious atmosphere. "Squonk" bursts through the speakers like the second coming and never lets up in its intensity. It's quality rock and roll but it certainly doesn't sound like anything else that was being produced at that time.

"Mad Man Moon" is without question one of the best songs Tony has ever written. There is a palpable mood of sadness that runs throughout the tune as Phil sings "If this desert's all there'll ever be then tell me what becomes of me, a fall of rain?" It's a very poetic piece. The keyboard interlude is absolutely brilliant in its structure and feel as it leads to the fast- paced but brief bridge. If you've ever wondered why Tony Banks is so highly regarded by proggies worldwide, this alone should answer any questions about his ability. The song ends as peacefully as it began and is one of the standouts of the album. "Robbery, Assault and Battery" is a bit of levity that is inventive and clever in its arrangements of varied musical ideas. Again, it is Banks' brilliant middle section that draws this song up from the realm of the ordinary and makes it unique. His Hammond organ work is spectacular here.

One of the things that makes these songs stand out are the well-written lyrics (especially considering that Gabriel, one of the greatest rock lyricists ever, was no longer around) and "Ripples" may be the best example of all. It's about the inevitable effects of aging and the refrain of "Sail away, away, ripples never come back. Gone to the other side, sail away, away." is haunting and memorable. Again, Mr. Collins delivers a passionate and poignant vocal, doing this beautiful song complete justice. It's yet another of my favorite Genesis tunes. "A Trick of the Tail" is a strange little song that fits well enough here but, frankly, is quickly forgotten. "Los Endos" is a perfect instrumental finale that sorta wraps up all the various themes of the album into a forceful and strong coda.

My thinking is that when Peter Gabriel announced his pending departure the remaining four bandmembers, rather than becoming discouraged, decided to pool their creative imaginations together and shock the music world with a defiant and defining statement that they were far from finished. None more so than Tony Banks who has a writing credit on every tune. In many ways the group was just starting a whole new journey together with a new sound (for better and for worse) that would take them from relative obscurity to the top of the charts in just a few years' time. The remastered version is exquisite and sounds as fresh and exciting as the first time I heard it three decades ago. It was one of the first "progressive rock" albums that wasn't discordant or difficult to absorb for the general public, inviting a whole new audience to see and listen to innovative music in a whole new light. It is truly a landmark.

Chicapah | 5/5 |


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