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

...AND THEN THERE WERE THREE...

Genesis

 

Symphonic Prog

3.43 | 1023 ratings

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Mike_Zed
3 stars Progressive Rock... Abridged

A word of refutation in the band's name. Throwing Steve Hackett out of Genesis, didn't suddenly make them all that pop-based, cheap, crappy and whatever you like to call them. It did however impair the band's compositional side, devouring them of many of Hackett's neat motifs and kinks. It seems Banks is throwing out each band member better than him... Gabriel and Hackett are already closed the fridge (check out my Invisible Touch review for answers), Collins waiting in line - because he is the only exceptional band member left.

Yes you heard me right - I do not consider Banks an exceptional keyboard player; Keith Emerson IS and exceptional keyboard player, and that's that. Banks is intriguing at his best, but shallow and lacking ideas at his worst. It can be best heard on Hairless Heart - Hackett's parts are supreme, and Banks sounds a bit under the weather in comparison. His main problem is, that, he's inverting the traits of a good prog composer. As I see it - one should play a Moog, the way Beethoven would play rock. Banks plays Beethoven on a Moog, in a rock band. You get the point? He sounds too classical, to be original sometimes (unfortunately one of those times is on Selling England...). Banks should learn from Peter Bardens. Well... Anthony George B. may not be too original, but he still is cunning as hell - pictured here, on the album. Disposing of Hackett, wasn't a way to create a basis for pop-playing. It was however a symbol of changes to come. A sign of the times. And the times did show, back then, that only pop-rock is the way out of dying prog. In fact, ...ATTWT... seems to be at least as good (if not better) as many other prog-changing-to-pop bands' albums: Yes, Camel and King Crimson (Beat for instance). Moreover, since length is no longer required - nearly all the boring repetitive bridges are gone, leaving space for melodies and signing.

The melodies - most of them are still way back in the Hackett era, and Rutherford seems to have a decent touch, but his manner is much more simplistic. I have to mention that his riff during bridge-like middle part of Deep in the Motherlode is pure fun, making it, without doubt the best song on the album! Ballad of Big - based on a wild west idea, is also quite original and particularly enjoyable (both the verses and choruses).

Other songs sound really similar to what the band had created on Wind & Wuthering or, rarely, A Trick... dotted with traces of originality - Down and Out is a Dance on a Volcano-like rocker, really enjoyable, but it's virtually impossible to understand Collins' cries and mumbles. Snowbound is Rutherford's partially successful effort to create an intoxicating wall of mellow sounds. And Burning Rope is a quite nice prog rock-pop middleground, with a nice synthesizer melody attached, and a gripping chorus, with lyrics reminding me of Mad Man Moon. The other songs are either really weak or not original at all... well, except one, but that's gonna be surprise kept 'till the ending.

What's interesting though, the ephemeral mellow ballads like Undertow, Many Too Many, Say It's alright Joe etc. (based on the same theme - silence and a sudden explosion of sounds) become a basis to both Genesis' and Phil Collins' (solo) hideous and boring, soundless and drummachine-filled compositions - In Too Deep, Hold on my Heart, Man on the Corner - just to name a few. But, if you do a little backtracking, you might notice something intriguing. The roots of those ephemerons can be found in the all-folky Time Table and Can-Utility and the Coastliners. Don't get me wrong, songs on ... And then... are not copies or anything else, they just show how the musical ideas evolved (or should I say: devolved) through several years.

What's left? The Lady Lies starts off like some Gipsy song, and then turns into another posthumous idea centred on fantasy and legends. The same goes to Scenes From a Night's Dream - throw it to the Battle of Epping Forest copies bin. This one however, doesn't even tries to sound original or ironical (like Robbery...), well... it's gets funny sometimes, but only a little... Poor little Nemo.

And finally - last but not least. Follow you, Follow me, the bands first real Pop song. But... it's a pleasant surprise. Though the synthesizers sound really cheap, the guitar goes on really nicely, and it's by far the best Genesis pop radio-purposed song.

Three stars, 'cos after Duke it's only gonna get worse.

Best Song: Deep in the Motherlode (Rutherford proves he can compose, while not being overshadowed by Hackett, and Collins proves he can sing... oh, and Banks proves he can lay aside his pretentious themes)

Worst Song: Say it's alright Joe (whining, boring, unimaginative - just like this comment)

Mike_Zed | 3/5 |

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