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Genesis - A Trick Of The Tail CD (album) cover

A TRICK OF THE TAIL

Genesis

 

Symphonic Prog

4.28 | 2545 ratings

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Lupton
5 stars When Peter Gabriel left Genesis, a lot of the weirdness went with him.It was probably that weirdness which was preventing them from being a more commercially viable group. When the 4 remaining members reconvened in 1976 with Collins taking over as vocalist, instead of having to produce yet another soundtrack for Gabriel's increasingly bizarre lyrics, they now had the opportunity to concentrate on producing music that they wanted.

It is no surprise therefore, that the resulting album reflected their personal tastes and as a result is probably the most diverse album they ever produced.Most tellingly is the fact that for the first time, you did not have to be a Genesis fan to appreciate this album or even be a Progressive Rock fan either. In fact I know quite a few people who are not even into Rock music at all but still love it.So why is this? Ultimately it comes down to way that the album as a whole is at once accessible and involving.

The opening track, "Dance On A Volcano" opens with a series of loud stabbing chords set against a slightly menacing twelve string pattern before settling in to one of those great anthemic instrumental choruses that Genesis were so good at producing. It is really quite stunning.The verses are no less dramatic underlined by an urgent riff.

The next track "Entangled" is a complete contrast, being a gentle acoustic song with some extremely pleasant harmony vocal support from Tony Banks and Mike Rutherford.It is closer in spirit to Folk Rock than Progressive Rock and reminds me a little of Crosby Stills and Nash.Steve Hackett is largely responsible for this beautiful song.

The next track "Squonk" is clearly inspired by Led Zeppelin's "Kashmir" with its crunching and very loud twelve string riff.It has a slow rather plodding rhythm but is still very melodic and has another punchy instrumental chorus.This loud and powerful track made an excellent opening track at subsequent concerts.

"Mad Man Moon",the closing track on side one is pure Banks- a very romantic piano based song with an extended keyboard instrumental and some very atmospheric soloing by Hackett in the background.

"Robbery Assault And Battery" makes an excellent side two opener.Musically and lyrically it is fairly slight compared to the tracks on side one but it does have a suitably muscular riff underlying a catchy chorus as well as a particularly inventive instrumental break.In fact starting at the 2.30 minute mark and lasting barely one and a half minutes, it is remarkable how many musical ideas Banks comes up with including a sudden mood shift with the mellotron creating a dramatic affect that reminds me of a chase seen in a 70's Cop show. This song perfectly showcases how musical inventiveness can be contained within an otherwise straightforward pop song.

The following track "Ripples" is far and away the most achingly beautiful song Genesis ever produced in their entire career. The song about growing old and losing your looks has a an almost unbearably melancholic chorus.

The title track is one of those Genesis tracks that I suspect divides fans. It is pure pop with another catchy chorus but like "Robbery Assault And Battery" has an extended middle eight section reminiscent of groups like 10CC and Wings who also specialized in sophisticated pop. Personally I have a particular fondness for this uplifting Beatlesque song inspired by the book "The Inheritors" by William Golding.

The closing instrumental track "Los Endos" is an absolute classic and is probably the most well known track on the album being played at virtually every concert they performed right into the nineties. In the same way "Squonk" was inspired by Led Zeppelin, this track is clearly inspired by Santana's "Promise Of A Fisherman" with its Latin style percussion and soaring guitar themes.It also neatly incorporates themes from the previous track, mainly "Squonk" and "Dance On A Volcano".Even though there is no improvising as such, it still has a great jazz-fusion feel.

As far as the production values go, the recording is very crisp and polished but I prefer the more "live" sounding Wind and Wuthering" which was recorded only a few months after "Trick Of The Tail". In particular, Steve Hackett's guitar seems curiously muted on the heavier tracks .His playing is as inventive as always but sometimes I wish he could have produced that great fat Gibson sound that he produced on Wind and Wutheringl. Listening to the powerhouse performances on the live album "Seconds Out" of tracks like "Dance on A Volcano" and "Los Endos" it is hard to believe it is the same band playing.Overall though, this album is very nearly my favorite Genesis album second only to "Selling England By The Pound"

A solid 5 Stars *****

Lupton | 5/5 |

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