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

A TRICK OF THE TAIL

Genesis

 

Symphonic Prog

4.27 | 1723 ratings

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Lazarus
5 stars The prospects for any band attempting to follow such a mammoth album as 'The Lamb' are daunting to say the least. But to lose your lead vocalist and lyricist before you even start must make the challenge doubly hard. No wonder Genesis fans held their collective breath to see what the four remaining members of the band would produce. To my mind, what emerged was a masterpiece - perhaps their finest hour.

You can argue long into the night (as indeed many have) about whether Genesis's enforced change of vocalist was a good thing or a bad thing. Was Collins 'better' or 'worse' than Gabriel? What is certain is that he was different. He brings a gentler quality necessary for the songs in this collection - songs which are perilously difficult to sing, as you'll know if you've ever tried. And 'collection' is the word. This album is more like a book of short stories, introducing us to unforgettable characters. Who could fail to be moved by the Squonk, the creature which disolves intself into a pool of tears through fear? Who could not smile at the robber who lives to fight another day, mourn with the woman watching her youth disappear year by year, or share the spirit of adventure of the beast with horns and tail?

Musically the album is a delight as well. From the somewhat disquieting opening notes of Dance On A Volcano, to the triumphant reprise of that and other themes in the concluding piece Los Endos, we are taken on a journey worthy of these lyrical creations. The 7/8 time of Dance keeps us on our toes. The lava is indeed nearby! Then comes the dreamy intoxication of Entangled. One can almost smell the ether in the smooth interplay of keyboards and acoustic guitar in the coda of this, the only Banks/Hackett composition in the Genesis canon. The drama of Squonk is followed by the music of long hot summer days in Banks's Mad Man Moon. The cheeky Phil Collins voice emerges perhaps for the first time in Robbery, before Ripples sweeps us away on into the stacatto beat of the title track, which has us marching jauntily along with our devillish companion. Los Endos - apparantly a nod of appreciation to Santana - pulls together and rounds off the album in a satisfactory climax - a compositional technique applied again equally succesfully in Duke. There's even a closing nod to Supper's Ready - their past is not forgotten.

Did Genesis survive Gabriel's departure? Survive is not the word. They evolved, developed, progressed to become the band they wouldn't otherwise have been, and Trick Of The Tail should have left fans in no doubt that even greater things lay ahead. This is a must have album that you'll play for years and never tire of.

Lazarus | 5/5 |

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