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Mike Rutherford - Smallcreep's Day CD (album) cover

SMALLCREEP'S DAY

Mike Rutherford

 

Prog Related

3.70 | 174 ratings

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Cesar Inca
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Strange how unpredictable art is regarding the momentum of an individual's inspiration: such is the case that brings us to the review for this Mike Rutherford's solo effort. Even though Rutherford had been responsible for some of the most progressively relevant passages in Genesis' history, he was usually surpassed by Banks' majestic vision and Hackett's texturial signature inputs. Outside Genesis, besides extensively collaborating as a musician and even sharing some writing credits for Hackett's and Anthony Phillips' debut solo efforts, prog fans were not in touch with what Rutherford could bring by himself to the prog genre until the release of his solo debut "Smallcreep's Day". It was amazing!! It still sounds amazing after all these years, typically Genesis-related in terms of overall sound and compositional moods - generally speaking, this album reinstates the serene density of "Wind & Wuthering" and the best elements of ".And Then There Were Three". The dynamics and colorfulness delivered through the repertoire in such a way that it overshadows Tony Banks' "A Curious Feeling"; for the more lyrical passages in the album, Rutherford almost equals the magic of the romantic pieces from Hackett's "Please, Don't Touch". The presence of a particularly special guest, Anthony Phillips, on keyboards is peculiar for many reasons: he reveals himself as a proficient keyboardsman who comes as no second to fellow Genesis founder Tony Banks. In fact, Phillips steals the limelight with his keyboard inputs in many moments. Noel McCalla is also vital for the delivery of the sung tracks' moods: his tone and timber, which remind us of Michael Sadler-meets-Graham Bonnet, feels at ease with his versatile AOR-like singing. Whenever things get cooking, the duo of drummer Simon Phillips and percussionist Morris Pert help things breathe and tighten up. The namesake suite open up the original British album with a first section deeply rooted in ethereal atmospheres, featuring lush keyboard layers and harmonies under which soft classical guitar arpeggios flow by. Part 2 'Waiting in Line' is a catchy yet subtly exercise on melodic prog that may remind us of the best aspects from late 70s Camel and Oldfield: a revamped version of this song with a repeated vocal part was released as a single. Among all the straightforward balladic, post-punk and new wave singles, I remember feeling captivated whenever they played this one on the radio (years before becoming the prog freak that I am). The remaining sections are diversified enough as to comprise eerie interludes (III & V); prog pop (IV, which sounds like a younger brother of 'Man of Our Times' from "Duke"); a bombastic Hackett-like instrumental (VI); and finally, the hypnotic pompous ballad 'At the End of the Day', which delivers a sense of grayish romanticism where optimism and pessimism fuse into one single feeling. Moments like this showcase the Hackett similarities that I mentioned earlier in this review. The album's second half gets started with the muscular mid-tempo 'Moonshine', a song that the guys of Saga in their pre-"Heads or Tales" era would have been proud of. 'Time and Time Again' is a beautiful ballad, perhaps in the mould of Banks' 'Many Too Many' and 'Undertow', yet providing a fuller sound and a more vibrant mood: the predominance of the keyboards' inputs is crucially essential for this. Beautiful indeed, it sends me chills just by singing it in my mind. The other ballad 'Every Road' is focused on the acoustic guitars, sounding closely related to the Anthony Phillips legacy. Between the two, 'Romani' is yet another "W&W"-meets-"ATTWT" sort of song, exploring a clever alternation of 5/4 and 4/4 tempos in a very fluid manner. The closer 'Overnight Job' is a fine rocker, with an interesting melodic nucleus, yet evidently less impressive than any of the four preceding pieces. It is a nice closure, but it wouldn't have hurt if any other track would have been chosen to fill this position: maybe the whole suite, as it appears in the US edition? All in all, "Smallcreep's Day" is a great item in any good prog rock collection.
Cesar Inca | 4/5 |

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