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

A TRICK OF THE TAIL

Genesis

 

Symphonic Prog

4.27 | 1760 ratings

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Finnforest
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Beginning of the End

The first irony is that the loss of Gabriel assured the band were a shadow of their former self, even as their commercial viability would eventually reach the stratosphere. The second is that the band were becoming sonically more pleasing as they had less to say, they were becoming better musicians as they lost the quality in songwriting that gave the instrumental work purpose. How much of this was the result of Gabriel being the soul of the band will never be known and doesn't really matter. Sure, the decline could have continued even had he not left. His departure only meant it would be a certainty sooner than later. The band survived the loss of one of its emotional anchors in Ant Phillips. It would not survive losing the balance from the purist Genesis perspective. Commercial achievement is another thing altogether and something I don't care about. But at the very core issue of substance and gravitas, Trick of the Tail lacks what Selling England and its predecessors had in spades. Gone is the magic of getting lost in their world and its subtle dark overtones, replaced by plastic and a nice hum for your day.

Trick of the Tail is wall to wall flowery prose without that indescribable Genesis spirit of the Trespass-Selling England years. With Collins ascension the songwriting would receive a boost in the separate areas of fusion and pop sensibilities. They would try out these interesting fusion inspired ideas to only limited success. Even at this stage you can clearly hear the beginnings of the mastery they would find in the embrace of mainstream, catchy directions. This is the beginning of the Genesis pop period even if it is still largely hidden within the prog cloak. "Robbery" and "Ripples" would lead to "Your own special way" which leads to "Follow you follow me," and we all know where it ended up. Of course there is still plenty of entertainment here for the wider Genesis fan and I'm not saying it's a total disaster. Just that we have moved into a lukewarm 3 star territory and that's being generous. As a vocalist Collins lacks the passion and depth of Peter Gabriel. As a songwriter he proved not a capable replacement either which is one reason Trick is the beginning of the end of progressive Genesis. Some claim it the first neo-prog album. I'm not sure about that, but I am sure it's a shadow of the band I really love.

Finnforest | 3/5 |

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