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Genesis - Wind & Wuthering CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

4.10 | 1836 ratings

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4 stars It is looking back that the full measure of this record becomes more clear. It was 1976 after all, and much of the popular music people were buying was grand, ambitious and finished to perfection. 'Wind & Wuthering' may not be a masterpiece but it aspires to be and in the musical climate that dominated following decades, it stands as one of many accomplished releases during an astonishing period by a band that refused to compromise. A portrait of musicians giving their all to an album because it was important, it meant something, and was an event in their and others' lives. And it sounds as fresh as ever all these years later.

The album is both clean in tone and rich in color palette, concentrated progressive rock with all the elements but more defined and crisply rendered than their classic work, and delivered with the future in mind. The overall effect is a huge and hugely under-acknowledged (at large) statement and gave prog a dignified, adult record that few others seemed able to. Previous 'A Trick of the Tail' may be considered more progressive or simply better material by some. They may be right, but I doubt it.

'Eleventh Ear of Mar' hearkens to their Trespass days with 'tron swells from Tony Banks but soon we're hearing a modern Genesis with Phil Collins setting the outward tone he'd established on Tail. We miss Gabriel but are gratified for the band's ability to continue making quality music. And with Banks, Rutherford and Hackett in charge compositionally, we hear a true collaborative effort. The track is a bit commercial perhaps but they'd grown up some, and presumably so had their audience. 'One For the Vine' is a gentle English tune about something epic, drizzles apart halfway through into a warm rainy afternoon and then flowers into one of the great prog moments, from a kitchen utensil jam into a humming synth-led passage filled with inspired bits of drums, keys, guitar and sparkling, laced arrangements. A great moment for these four. Incorrigibly sappy 'Your Own Special Way' is almost forgivable and presumably appeased the Easy Rock crowd, sentiment to the point of diabetic attack, a song written for all teenage girls lying on their beds wrecked by young love. Instrumental 'Wot Gorilla' (an in joke referencing a Zappa track) is more like it, an unashamed indulgence of the electro-classical genius this group had cultivated. Banks is inspired here even more than usual, Hackett's faithful acoustic-electric chords and the Rutherford/Collins machine sounding as powerful as ever. Little dramas for 'All in a Mouse's Night' with shifting musical variations representing the different parties nicely and helping an otherwise lackluster little story. Steve Hackett's quiet nylon strings carefully unfold opus 'Blood on the Rooftops', caustic words reflecting pessimistic times but the piece rocks. It abruptly fades into the fairyland sounds of 'Unquiet Slumbers...' and sister cut 'In That Quiet Earth' with tons of big vibrating walls from Banks's ARP 2600 and Collins's tight drums, a sound that undoubtedly provoked countless imitations hidden among many a lesser-known composers' work, winding down with thematic reprise 'Afterglow'.

Surely a firm step toward a bigger market but a terrific offering regardless, and 'Wind & Wuthering' makes their work afterward seem rudimentary.

Atavachron | 4/5 |


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