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




Symphonic Prog

4.28 | 2679 ratings

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4 stars And Then There Were Four. A Trick of the Tail was the first Genesis album to feature Phil Collins on vocals after Peter Gabriel left the band to pursue a solo career. This is an excellent progressive rock album which provides much in the way of the classic Genesis sound but also foreshadows the poppier side that Genesis will later pursue. At this point, Phil hadn't quite found his "pop voice" yet and it appears that he was singing in Peter Gabriel-like style, probably to try and keep with the Genesis-like sound. To bring a perspective to my review I must reveal that I am a late comer to Prog Genesis. I grew up with 80's era Genesis and Phil Collins solo music so I am more familiar with the Pop Genesis material than I am with the Prog Genesis material. In a way, I have experienced Genesis in reverse since I knew them as a pop rock band before I knew them as a Prog band. Tracking backwards, A Trick of a Tail is an excellent bridge album for acclimating a pop rock Genesis fan to the prog side of Genesis. Now for my analysis of the individual songs:

Dance on a Volcano - what a shock to Gabriel-era Genesis fans. The first song on the first album post-Gabriel is, egads, a dance song. OK, it is a lively prog rock song with excellent keyboards and drum work and some nice behind the scenes guitar work, but "put your left foot first and move into the light" might include the Hokey Pokey as its inspiration.

Entangled - is a melodic song featuring some beautiful playing by Tony, Steve, and Mike. Even in their proggiest days Genesis has always excelled at performing prettier mellower songs (not quite a ballad per se, since it isn't a song about love). A song perhaps about the theater of dreams, possibly brought on by anesthetics. Interestingly forecasting the costs of the healthcare industry with "you'll have no trouble until you catch your breath and the nurse will present you the bill".

Squonk - when I was a young child and we would go camping we would go "snipe" hunting. This was a make-believe character that was used as a way to entertain us kids as we would walk around the fields at night trying to find these snipes. I believe that my childhood snipe may have been related to the squonk. At any rate this is a pretty straight ahead song that tells a good story regarding hunting squonks. Possibly a commentary on fox hunting by the royals in England. This song reflects past prog Genesis in that it could be a leftover from Nursery Cryme with 2 or 3 references to nursery rhymes. In addition, Phil is singing multiple characters like Peter Gabriel did on previous albums. Phil sings as the hunter and as the squonk. He doesn't accomplish this as well as Peter Gabriel might have however, and this song is a disappointment to many Peter Gabriel-era fans. However, I like it and find it quite entertaining.

Mad Man Moon - is another song on the mellow side of prog. It also promotes dream-like qualities and lyrically paints a very picturesque landscape with its many descriptive references. About half-way in it begins to rock a bit then it mellows out again and finally ends with the final minute of a very quiet musical passage.

Robbery, Assault and Battery is another of the more "controversial" Phil Collins era songs that is equally liked and derided by Genesis fans. I find it to be a fun song that keeps a nice pace and quite enjoy the music and the humor of the story. Again Phil Collins sings different characters throughout the song in a "tribute" to Genesis' past, but again he doesn't quite do it as well as Peter Gabriel might have. Also, I find the chorus quite "catchy". Hopefully, it doesn't play on my internal ipod the rest of the day.

Ripples is quite possibly the most beautiful song ever performed by Genesis. Again the lyrics are very visual and the guitar and organ/keyboard playing are very gentle. A possible reference point might be Take a Pebble from Emerson Lake and Palmer. I believe that it symbolizes "embracing this moment in time" because "you're not getting any younger".

A Trick of the Tail is a song telling a fantasy story of a mythical "beast that can talk" that comes from a land of gold who is captured by humans and then tricks them into bringing him to his home where he then disappears back to his fantasy world of gold. This song features some nice guitars and even some nice drum playing by Phil, which is quite infrequent throughout this album. Another story that I quite enjoy with another "catchy" chorus.

Los Endos - an excellent prog instrumental to end this album. Possibly another "trick of the tail", which if you were to think of this song as the tail of the album, it might trick you into thinking that Genesis were a progressive jazz band. The song does replay some of the themes encountered along the way throughout the album.

All in all I believe this is an excellent album that would be an excellent addition to any prog music collection.

rushfan4 | 4/5 |


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