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

A TRICK OF THE TAIL

Genesis

 

Symphonic Prog

4.27 | 1772 ratings

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Negoba
Prog Reviewer
4 stars Back with a Vengeance, Losing the Rough Edges

The first words we hear from now lead singer Phil Collins on _Trick of the Tail_ is "Holy Mother of God you got to go faster than that.." and already the music is heavier, more crazily syncopated, and better produced than anything Genesis had ever created. The boys were making an emphatic statement that they were just fine without Peter Gabriel, thank you, and in fact were "Gonna start doing it right." Having felt pushed into the background during the exhausting Lamb tour, Genesis had some fire that was ready to explode. The result of course is the song Dance on a Volcano.

Quickly though, we see that this new Genesis is not going to be all fire. Phil Collins' much smoother voice finds its own element in softer material, starting with Entangled, a solid story-song. While one could imagine Gabriel doing the verses, with the grand chorus, a new Genesis sounds emerges. Harmony vocals with big echoes in lockstep, something absent for the most part since Anthony Phillips' departure, now return. This quiet balladry reaches its peak on Ripples, a beautiful song that again seems initially reminiscent but builds to a huge, strummy "Sail Away" refrain.

Squonk, the third song, points to the future of the band, beginning with a plodding 4/4 and shimmery guitars. Very behind the beat, it wouldn't be out of place on pre-Invisible Touch 80's Genesis albums (though we'd have been gleeful if that sound reached this level in those days). Collins sounds like himself, rather than imitating Gabriel, which he does frequently on this album. Despite this, he lacks Gabriel's expressive range, his level of eccentricity, and frankly, his level of literacy. Though the lyrics here are fine, none match the nuance of Gabriel-era Genesis. Collins' sense of melody and a hook are excellent, however, and on the albums namesake track, the English whimsy that had always been a part of Genesis reaches a previously unreached peak.

Despite a mild mid-album lull with Mad Man Moon and Robbery, Assault, and Battery, the overall quality of the songwriting here is quite good and the performances are extraordinary. The ending instrumental, Los Endos, is a part of the Genesis canon for good reason. Finally returning to the fire and energy that they opened with, the band shows us some of their astounding virtuosity in a frenetic finish. The rhythm section races along at breakneck pace before slowing into a dreamy key sequence and finally some reprises of the melodic themes of the album.

All in all, the boys succeeded in shedding their dramatic star in convincing fashion. It is indeed an excellent addition to any prog collection.

Negoba | 4/5 |

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