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Genesis - A Trick of the Tail CD (album) cover

A TRICK OF THE TAIL

Genesis

 

Symphonic Prog

4.27 | 1804 ratings

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Epignosis
Special Collaborator
Eclectic Prog Team
3 stars It is always troubling when a lead singer leaves a band, particularly a band that derived so much of its sound from that person's voice, and so much creativity out of that person's mind. Even though Peter Gabriel was not with them, Genesis proved that they could produce noteworthy progressive rock. Phil Collins has a more melodic vocal style than that of his predecessor, which is not to claim in anyway that he is superior; whereas Gabriel was entertainingly dramatic, Collins shows that he is more of a pop singer than anything. Regardless, he serves his band well, and does a fine job throughout the album. Tony Banks is really the star of the album, as nearly all of the compositions here rely so heavily on his keyboards. Guitarist Steve Hackett and bassist Mike Rutherford do not stand out much at all, even if the former does bring back to the mind of the listener his brilliant moments in works like "Firth of Fifth" or "Hairless Heart" with that swelling guitar of his. Overall, this is a fine album, very consistent, with no single track standing too highly above the others (a trait consistent with all the Genesis releases up until this point). The whole album, however, does pale a bit in comparison to earlier endeavors.

"Dance on a Volcano" Hackett's guitar and Banks's synthesizer take to the fore in this opening track. The bass and drumming are almost just as strong, and Collins does his best to fill some amazingly big shoes. More than anything, though, this is Banks's song, as his synthetic sounds dominate the last part of the song. The tones do sound like carryovers from the previous album.

"Entangled" More in the vein of Genesis's first few major albums, this track relies heavily on acoustic guitars, not the least of which is the fat sound of the twelve-string. With an amazing vocal melody, the song does not fail to please; the layers of guitars are great, and the harmonies are incredibly enjoyable also.

"Squonk" A strong step toward the 1980s sound where Genesis was heading, "Squonk" does boast a very good melody, even if the instrumentation is largely lacking. The music exists as a vehicle for the narrative lyrics. This was also the audition piece, according to the band, that Collins performed to become the new lead singer for Genesis.

"Mad Man Moon" Although it begins with piano and flute, the song is largely based around Banks's Mellotron and piano. The instrumental middle section is somehow dark and splendid, evocative of the previous album, featuring fast riffs on synthesizer and piano.

"Robbery, Assault, and Battery" Upbeat and amusing, this track hearkens back to the more histrionic approach of Peter Gabriel, with Gabriel singing in different voices to convey the story. It has a heavier sound, again looking-forward to the 1980s sound the band would soon adopt, except for Banks's impressive keyboard soloing over an odd time signature, which is reminiscent of his glorious work during the second part of "The Cinema Show."

"Ripples" The quiet moment of the album (and strangely the longest track on the album), this is largely dependant on the twelve-string acoustic guitar as many classic Genesis songs had been. This is by far the most pleasant song on the album, with delightful lyrics and a lovely melody. During the instrumental section, the volume of Hackett's lead guitar swells in, with Banks responsible for most of the accompaniment. The music build to a final, majestic repeating of the refrain.

"A Trick of the Tail" The title track has a fun melody and enjoyable lyrics. For once, Rutherford stands out a bit more, his bass carrying the main theme. The words describe a devilish-looking creature who left his home to come to Earth, but wound up in a freak show. No one believed his story of homeland. Despite its structural simplicity, Genesis has strangely enough never performed this song live.

"Los Endos" Peaceful electric guitar and synthesizers eventually give way to a charging rhythm and chunky bass. Banks' lead synthesizer tone is the same as that on "Riding the Scree" from the previous album. The piece includes excerpts from three different pieces, namely "It's Yourself" (a B-side to "Ripples"), "Dance on a Volcano," and "Squonk." During the final moments of the song, as it is fading out, Collins sings some of the last lyrics of "Supper's Ready," perhaps as a tribute to their departed vocalist.

Epignosis | 3/5 |

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