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Genesis - Foxtrot CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

4.60 | 3300 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
5 stars Any fan of this album knows the welcome chill-up-the-spine when "Watcher Of The Skies" comes a-creeping, a grand entrance to one seriously mandatory album. A dramatic, sometimes foreboding track, this song is the apex of the early Genesis catalog, revolving around an odd groove and flowing mathematical syncopation. Even in the first couple minutes, it's clear this lineup is enjoying the kind of musical chemistry that is so rare. There is hardly a better example of PRIME GENESIS than this.

"Watcher Of The Skies" climaxes in a very moving ending, and we're introduced to "Time Table". This song stretches backward to the band's beginnings, sounding like the missing link between their first and second albums. It's the only song on 'Foxtrot' that is neither excessive nor progressive, maintaining an easy and likeable flow throughout. Next up, rounding off the first half, are two gems. "Get 'Em Out By Friday" recalls "Harold The Barrel" in some ways, Peter Gabriel playing roles and using distinct voices for each part. The song's unusual subject matter (landlords who make restrictions on humanoid height so they can pack more people into their buildings) is a great vehicle for Gabriel's eccentric side. Tandem-acoustic guitar melodies, lilting flute, soul-crushing bass rhythms, Hackett's quiet-but-crucial approach, and incredibly smart drum work from Collins clatter away with a unique momentum. "Can-Utility And The Coastliners" is much heavier, feeling like a 10-minute epic despite being only 5:43. There's a wide range of emotion and color here, all of it serious and majestic. The highlight is Michael Rutherford's authoritative bass repetitions and Tony Banks' layers upon layers of keyboards. Instrumental mastery is flown in from everyone on this song, they make it sound so easy. One of the best-ever Genesis tracks, often being overlooked in favor of the more common (ie. live) tracks.

Side Two is dominated by the 23-minute "Supper's Ready", introduced by Hackett's acoustic "Horizons", a mighty composition itself, despite its brevity. "Supper's Ready", then. This song is spoken of with total reverence by the band's most serious fans. When getting into Genesis, I had trouble comprehending why. It seemed constructed of way too many parts, way to many mood changes ("All change!!!"), nothing stuck right away. But, as with many complicated prog pieces, its true form reveals itself only after many dutiful listens. Now I hold this hallowed song on an impossibly high pedestal along with just about every other fan. It's useless to dissect it completely, that's been done better by others, but I would point out that the part subtitled "Apocalypse in 9/8" is the only title this piece could've carried, as that is the exact odd-time fright in conjures. Chilling. Like the whole of 'The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway', "Supper's Ready" runs through the gamut of Genesis tricks and techniques, nothing is left out, everything is considered, but.nothing is used for the sake of it. Collins' versatile drumming, Rutherford's adept 12-sting guitar and commanding bass, Banks' ever- delightful arsenal, Hackett's intriguing and innovative guitar work, and of course, Gabriel's monolith-size charisma, they all work toward the success of the whole. And they do not leave us wanting after this song concludes.

'Foxtrot' is only helped by the huge leap in production quality. It's not perfect, but it carries its own strengths and its own charm. "Perfect" productions can be cold and lacking character sometimes, and 'Foxtrot' has too much character to have its edges rounded off. This album never fails, even after 100 listens. If someone unfamiliar with progressive rock asks you to recommend a prime example of the stuff, could you name a better album than this?

slipperman | 5/5 |


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