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Genesis - A Trick of the Tail CD (album) cover

A TRICK OF THE TAIL

Genesis

 

Symphonic Prog

4.27 | 1784 ratings

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stefro
Prog Reviewer
5 stars So, it's 1975, PETER GABRIEL has just left GENESIS, and the music press are preparing the groups obituaries. Surely you cannot have a GENESIS without their enigmatic frontman and vocalist, that just wouldn't work, would it? For many fans, critics, writers and assorted commentators, this was it. The end. No more Genesis. Gabriel was the lifeblood of the group, the magnetic stage presence that the fans affixed their gaze upon during their heady live shows. Without him(and his crazy costumes), the band would be missing a huge part of it's identity, and the general consensus was that GENESIS were finished. Not so. Gabriel might have written a large percentage of the lyrics and sang 95% of the lead vocals, but the music was produced by the band. After a series of not-quite-good-enough auditions for a new front-man, the remaining members decided that the best man for the job would be the little known PHIL COLLINS, the bands second drummer after original tub-thumper JOHN MAYHEW bailed out after TRESPASS, and also a former child TV star. Needless to say the experiment turned out to be one of the greatest decisions regarding late 20th century popular music. Charisma Records, the groups label, was run by a man named TONY STRATTON-SMITH, and he gushed at the time(after hearing Collins sing for the first time): "He sounds more like Peter Gabriel than Peter Gabriel!". So, it was this record, the groups first with Collins as lead singer, and the first ever Genesis record without any input from Gabriel, that continued the bands musical evolution when so many thought it was the end. More like the middle, really. The album itself(Long intro I know, sorry!), is possibly GENESIS' most complete work. Shorn of Gabriels lyrical and musical demands, the songs seem more relaxed in mood and much less fraught with the kind of crazy imagery so beloved of their ex-lead singer. Album opener DANCE ON A VOLCANO sounds like a sequel to SELLING ENGLAND BY THE POUNDS 'MOONLIT KNIGHT', eschewing the giddy guitar histrionics for a more structured approach involving some thrilling organ workouts from TONY BANKS. ENTANGLED, a beautifully sedate and almost psychadelic swirl of acoustic strumming and mellotronic meanderings shows that the band were capable of writing sensitive ballads, and not just surreal epics featuring bizarre characters. ENTANGLED is a gem of a song, and allows the listener a bit of breathing space before storming head-first into the riff-tastic beginning of SQUONK. Bassist MIKE RUTHERFORD admits that he didn't actually like the opening guitar riff for SQUONk, but, perserverance on the bands behalf helped him see the light and the riff stayed. It's a true GENESIS classic, featuring yet more stunning organ work from Mr Banks. Other highlights on the album include the eponymous title-track, a lightly-ambling, whimsical and very english prog- folk workout, whilst LP-closer LOS ENDOS thrills and delights with it's stunning battery of drum attacks and chiming guitar licks, courtesy of STEVE HACKETT, who, it must be said, is not given a lot of time to express himself here. A TRICK OF THE TAIL marks a creative high-point for the band as a foursome, as later efforts failed to reach he heights achived on songs such as SQONK and ENTANGLED. The band obviosuly felt they had something to prove now that Gabriel was gone, and prove something they did, producing a genuine English symphonic prog classic that still stands up as an excellent example of the genre.

stefro | 5/5 |

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