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Genesis - ...And Then There Were Three...  CD (album) cover

...AND THEN THERE WERE THREE...

Genesis

 

Symphonic Prog

3.43 | 1024 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

The T
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars I'm quite sure that, for progressive-rock people who were around in the days when GENESIS was still a 4-man formation, the loss of Steve Hackett, the supreme atmospheric guitarist and author of some of the most glorious moments in rock music's history, must've been a blow too hard to get over. And it must have been even worse for those fans when the first album featuring only three musicians turned out to be quite less "progressive", without so many long songs as before, and especially, with almost all of the tracks following traditional formulas, both in structures and in major musical elements as time signatures and harmonies. I can imagine the accusations: "GENESIS has sold out!" "Hackett was the key element!" "Banks, Rutherford and Collins are nothing without Hackett and Gabriel!" So, the negative reactions that hardcore progressive-rock fans of the era have towards this album are clearly understandable. It is quite different to the previous releases.

That's when I feel happy that I was not there when all of this happened, so that this album didn't get to disappoint me. For me, listening to it for the first time some 18 years after it was released, it was just another one of the recordings of a legendary band, another recording I had to hear to gain more musical knowledge about prog and rock in general. And, free of any pre-conception about what the disc could or could not be, free of any positive or negative hype, I just had to judge it for what it did to me as a mere collection of songs. The band was history. It had disappeared a decade ago. This album was as legitimate as a GENESIS album as "Foxtrot" or "Selling England by The Pound."

And, ironically, it was the album that finally made me fall in love with the band.

Now, after a long time has passed and I've heard all their works a million times, "And Then There Were Three" no longer occupies the first place among my favorite GENESIS albums. That's reserved for "Foxtrot", or "A Trick of The Tail". But I still hold this record, the first of the 3-man formation, as a masterpiece of rock, an album plethoric of melody as probably no album has been or will ever be. Without the progressive exploration of previous times, it seems as if Banks, Rutherford and Collins decided to focus in creating the most melodic songs they could while still retaining some progressive elements. What they achieve is a disc that, in my opinion, has only a few less-than-great moments, near the end. Melodically, I can't think of an album with more beautiful themes, and interesting, long themes at that. Yes, they're not developed in the symphonic way that made the band famous in the Gabriel era, but that was another story. For its year, this album was a gem.

Down and Out (9/10) the album opens with some keyboard chords followed by a proggy guitar riff. The song is very atmospheric and has a very interesting rhythm, with great drumming by Collins, who, by the way, was finally delivering as a singer. An excellent opener, a fantastic song.

Undertow (9.5/10) A quiet, almost beatific melody opens this majestic song. It's very simple, but nostalgic, caressing, until it arrives to a great ecstasy in the chorus. Brilliant. Who cares if this is not the most thought-defying song ever written; it surely is beautiful.

Ballad of Big (8.5/10) Another proggy song, very hard-rocking, ferocious, with a powerful, enigmatic verse leading to a less tense chorus, which sounds like the prelude of the whole neo-prog genre that would explode in the 80's. (In fact, this album might well be called the first neo-prog album ever, as contradictory or absurd as it may sound). Very good track.

Snowbound (9.5/10) Another huge melody, it seems to come straight, as the name implies, from a snow-capped town near a mountain. Collins' vocals here are just absolute perfection. All the children's plays of the verse get resolved in a discovering-cry in the chorus, the realization of fantasies come true. Marvelous little track.

Burning Rope (10/10) With the exception of "The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway" and "Wind and Wuthering", no GENESIS album after "Trespass" has failed to give a superior song, a song that goes to that special place between heart and mind found somewhere in my music-fan body. This song reaches the highest point in this album. It's probably the more progressive of the lot, but that's not what makes it good. What makes it good is the long, extended theme that carries the whole track, a long melody that never ends, as every little section of this track is melodic. Collins gives us some fantastic drumming, Rutherford finally raises his head with some interesting bass, and Banks shines. Ironically, the break played by Rutherford in the guitar is just amazing, very simple technically, but amazingly beautiful. It sounds almost as atmospheric as something Hackett would have given us. I can only imagine the absolute perfection that the middle section would have been if the guitar master would've still been around in this album. Superb.

Deep in The Motherlode (8/10) After such a song, whatever follows it would have a hard time. This triple-rhythm song has some very pretty tunes, with the characteristic sound of Banks' keyboard that seems to draw so much criticism from long-time GENESIS' fans. Very good track.

Many too Many (8.5/10) A short pop tune with some magnificent melody courtesy of Collins and Banks. This record features, for sure, the best performance by Collins of any GENESIS album. The chorus section brings musical memories of MARILLION to my head. Rothery, Fish and the others surely appreciated this album more than some GENESIS fans. Great song.

Scenes from a Night's Dream (8/10) is another proggy song, with a very catchy, quite "poppy" verse section. It gets faster in the chorus which is quite original. The only element I would've gotten rid of is the little choirs in full island-style that plague the verse. A fine song nevertheless, as the good outweighs the bad by a ton.

Say it's Alright Joe (9/10) kind of bar-like, but an empty bar lost in some gigantic city, at 3 in the morning, where alcohol has started to take its toll on optimism. The middle section is quite more energetic, like the final burst of energy of the sad man before he collapses in depression. Brilliant singing by Collins, an excellent song.

The Lady Lies (8.5/10) this track starts with a strange-sounding keyboard and riff, which somehow manage to survive until a brilliant section saves this song and turns it into a success. Great piano work by Banks, as always, and fantastic drumming by Collins. Excellent track.

Follow You Follow Me (6.5/10) GENESIS has left the worst for last, so to say, even though the song is far from bad. It's just very poppy, quite na´ve-sounding, and the awful percussion in the background helps to give it a tropical-island flavor which would hurt the experience a little bit if the track wasn't short and if all the preceding ones weren't so great.

With every new listen I give to this album, I like it even more. Melodically, is unbeatable. Even though the progressive side of things is not the strongest, this is still a prog-rock album without any doubt. For sure, the main source of inspiration, it would seem, for many neo-prog bands who realized the power of melody and of more-accessible structures in an era where the symphonic experimentations of the 70's were a sure way towards limbo.

Without the possibility of awarding this album a 4.5 rating as it would deserve to differentiate it from towering albums like "Foxtrot" or "A Trick of The Tail", I'm forced to give it the same rating I gave those, 5 stars.

I have never given up to force so easily, I must say.

The T | 5/5 |

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