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Genesis - Trespass CD (album) cover

TRESPASS

Genesis

 

Symphonic Prog

4.16 | 1623 ratings

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Finnforest
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Perhaps in my top 25

Trespass is a very special Genesis album. It is the only Genesis album which featured my favorite band line-up and if you look at the overall album rather than individual songs, I'm not sure they ever made a finer album. I can't overstate how important Anthony Phillips and Peter Gabriel are to my idea of the perfect Genesis. (After Lamb Genesis would fall several notches for me starting with the fairly weak Trick of the Tail.) While Steve Hackett and Phil Collins may have been technically more gifted than their predecessors, it is not technical savvy alone that makes great music. Trespass was the perfect marriage of youthful naivety, sentimentalism, band chemistry, and great songs. Everything comes together so perfectly here. After their debut, Genesis picked up their new drummer John Mayhew and gigged around working on new material and getting tight as a group. Mayhew is no Phil Collins in the technical sense but as I mentioned I welcome that. He gets the job done without overplaying and is perfectly adequate for this album. Much more important is the presence of Ant Phillips who is the heart and soul of Trespass. With his songwriting influences and gorgeous 12 string acoustic guitar playing, Trespass is awash in the same lush drapery that fills his later solo album The Geese and the Ghost. Ant is also a hugely underrated lead guitarist and his short solos and lead bursts are simply jaw dropping throughout. Gabriel is beyond fantastic with a youthful, soul-filled, passionate singing voice backed up by his significant flute passages, with probably more flute here than any other Genesis album. Released in 1970 Trespass caught Genesis up to Pink Floyd (Atom Heart Mother) in quality and while surging them ahead of Yes (Time and a Word) and King Crimson (Poseidon).

Musically Trespass is a feast for the ears and imagination, a celebration of times long gone, of medieval stories and myths. Ranging from softer acoustic sections to the aggressive rock of "The Knife," Trespass offers everything the Genesis fans needs but offers the extra delight of Phillips delicate touch and leadership. The youthful Gabriel is stunning in his intensity on "Looking for Someone." Listen to the way Banks and Phillips back up Pete during the early vocals, these gorgeous little runs dropped just perfectly, with an attention to detail every bit as effective as they would achieve on any of their higher rated albums. And I'd argue they are *more* musically pleasing on this one. Fantastic dramatic development and pastoral melodic grandeur are nearly non-stop throughout. "White Mountain" is all about mood sounding like an early lost Renaissance track. "Visions of Angels" is a leftover from the first album's sessions but was spruced up for inclusion here. It sounds very similar to the songs from the first YES album and is superb despite being noticeably different in feel from the other five songs here. Listen to the care Mayhew brings to the piece, there is certainly no reason whatsoever to feel shorted by Collins absence on Trespass. "Stagnation" was Tony Bank's favorite because it moved quickly from one passage to the next. It is perhaps the most elegant and mature piece of songwriting shifting between moods and styles. "Dusk" is a mellower favorite with lovely vocal harmonies and blended acoustic guitars over bell and flute. "Musical hot fudge" as my better half offered while we walked under the cold moon tonight talking about the album. And then comes "The Knife." Every bit as energetic and feisty as "Watcher of the Skies" or "Epping Forest" it is the transitional track from the calmer waters of Trespass to the increasingly more rocking albums ahead. Again, listening to the performances here I find Hackett having nothing over Phillips and Mayhew perfectly suited without any pretension.

Not only is Trespass a masterpiece in my book but I honestly think it may be the single finest Genesis album, at least if you are looking for heart. I think it really outperforms both Nursery Cryme and Foxtrot-both of those albums have some higher individual moments but also some lower ones. If you combined the best Cryme/Foxtrot moments you'd have another masterpiece, but compare the three side by side and I'll choose Trespass which is so much more alive! Give the new remaster a fresh listen and see if it doesn't capture your heart.

Finnforest | 5/5 |

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