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

A TRICK OF THE TAIL

Genesis

 

Symphonic Prog

4.27 | 1825 ratings

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Mike_Zed
4 stars A splendid deja vu!

It's very probable, that I've heard this album before. It was called Selling England By the Pound, and it had Peter Gabriel on vocals... and quite a lot fresh ideas back then. But then again...

Genesis could have gone in a slightly more new wave direction, if they continued writing songs similar to 'Squonk' or 'Back in NYC'. They COULD have gone Police-ish, mainly by killing Banks. That would help later on, and might have prevented Hackett from leaving. Tough luck. Instead, they used the blueprint of 'Selling...' and created two decent albums.

The guy who hit the drums and sang lines like: Here it comes againnnn... on the 'Musical Box' unexpectedly took Gabriel's place (who had chosen the life of a family man, away from all the big time & superstar popularity... yeah, like Genesis were ever really popular amongst PEOPLE - disclaimer: human beings that attended Gabriel-Era gigs couldn't have possibly been normal people). Not a really bad choice. Phil sounds funny though - like a slightly distorted guitar, sometimes even like... Bee Gees! really, especially during the 'sugar' moments of some ballads. His voice is not harsh enough to deliver the aggressive emotions like Gabriel did. On the other hand he's just perfect for love songs. The biggest problem is that on several parts of the album his hardly audible. The guy/team responsible for mixing the sounds should have been killed as an example. It would get even worse on Wind & Wuthering. I don't know why? Maybe they had still Gabriel singing set to default ;)

As I stated earlier, a handful of songs on A Trick... sound like some twisted Selling... and early Genesis rearrangements. E.g. Robbery, Assault and Battery is a copy of The Battle of Epping Forest, the idea of Squonk is very similar to The Return of the Giant Hogweed . However, while Hogweed sounds very chaotic, Squonk has a well-arranged melody with a simple, yet catchy guitar tune (Hackett wins with simplicity). Dancing on a Volcano (one of the faster tunes, with an interesting intro), Entangled (mellow Phil goes Bee Gees-like), Ripples (with awful vocals in the first minute but constantly getting better; Rush's Madrigal has a really similar melody) and Los Endos (an ending song - reprising the Dance on a Volcano and Squonk themes; construction similar to Aisle of Plenty) are nothing original amongst Genesis songs. They're on the level they ought to be.

Apart from Squonk, there are two gems on the album: Mad Man Moon and if that isn't original, cute and cuddly, I don't know what is. A mellow inspiring piano melody flowing (Banks always flows... he wouldn't stop flowing even if he had a tragic death song two play; thus he should have been killed). I suspect some Camel influences here (The Snow Goose was released one year earlier - so who knows?) the other one is the title track - A trick of the Tail suits Collins' perfectly in terms of lyric interpretation and vocal abilities. And, oh my, the song has a catchy chorus. In my view it resembles the really bright sides of Genesis' earliest works (From Genesis to Revelations I suppose), but on the level of Selling....

So... It's just a copy of Selling England By the Pound with a new vocalist, you might ask. Clearly not. It based on a blueprint that proved well 3 years hence. The next album would go in much the same direction. Well, isn't progressive rock supposed to explore various unknown musical directions, even though sometimes acquired taste is necessary? If it stops doing that it turns from prog to mellow rock. This is the direction Genesis took (the album sold quite nice refilling the budget, severely emptied after The Lamb Tour), and kill me, if they aren't a superb mellow rock band.

Best Song: Mad Man Moon (at least it's original) Worst Song: Ripples (there's nothing worse than a mourning Collins)

Mike_Zed | 4/5 |

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