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

A TRICK OF THE TAIL

Genesis

 

Symphonic Prog

4.27 | 1751 ratings

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Alitare
3 stars It really is a damn fine Yes album, I kid you not.

Genesis - A Trick of the Tail (1976)

Best song: ENTANGLED

Overall Rating: 10?

Hahahahaha! You tricked me! If it weren't for Phil's absolutely worthless vocals, which honestly make Jon's space flatulence look adequate, I could have easily construed this as a mediocre Yes album, kind of like Relayer or something. Where are the melodies? Where are the melodies? You know what, I'm tired of looking for them. This album is impenetrable, and I don't mean that from a melodic point, either. Something like this is ample proof of how essential a man like Peter Gabriel was to the band's force. The Lamb might have been rough for a single sitting, and it might have been utterly incoherent, both conceptually and musically, but at least it was never outright boring.

Where are the melodies? Screw that, where's the energy? Each song seems like a generic, pale imitation of Gabriel-era Genesis. Who is the culprit behind the sickening hollowness? I bet it was that asshole, Banks. He always had it out for the sincerity of the group, and his cheese synths were always at the forefront of their musical misery. But, Senior Collins doesn't exactly help. He transforms the mediocre astral ballad, Entangled into a mushy little adult contemporary tune. No, that's exaggerating it a bit. It's really a gentle song, and maybe even the best moment on here, but it's not a drop in the bucket of what More Fool Me was.

When Hackett gets to play, things are fine and dandy, because the instrumental passages, sans keyboards, are the album's saving graces. The haunting touches to the end of Entangled really do wash over me, and show that this wasn't a band to go down without a fight. It only took Banks two years to strangle the life out of progressive genesis, though. That arrogant fool! As if anyone listened to genesis for his proto-80's goo fusion. I sure as hell didn't. By the way, just discard all those ranting Yes comparisons in the opening paragraph, because it just isn't fair. See, genesis at their worst could still write more emotionally intriguing music than Yes could have written while fasting in a damned peace corps rally on a breast cancer awareness march into impoverished new guinea ghetto villages. Squonk actually showed to me that Phil Collins had potential as a competent singer, 'cause some of those vocal melodies take me places, ya know? That is until they decided to rip out the song's soul in favor of the generic late 70's prog rock mush of vapid jamming that doesn't go anywhere. The song is ONLY worth hearing because of those mildly sweet vocal melodies that pop up occasionally.

It's still much less memorable than Genesis are known for, and the overall focus of the band is no longer on creating a world of their own, it's on just writing neat songs. No, neat isn't synonymous for amazing, it's synonymous for acceptable, but hardly enthralling. Selling England was a damned trip into another world. The Lamb was a wrecked vision of our own world, but Trick is nothing more than a collection of unrelated prog rock tunes that sometimes evolve into jaw dropping compositions, but mostly tend to be content with simply rocking along on this finite little line, drawn by basic repetitive melodies, with hooks that are just silly and childish compared to what I know they were capable of, with or without Peter Gabriel.

The song placement is silly, with pseudo trippy ballads smashed together in what I can easily view as an adult contemporarification of the band's heart. Oh, and they've got more directionless keyboard passages than you can shake a Wakeman at. It's as if the fellows are too afraid to be subtle or jarring, with their metaphorical head chopped off. But, I still don't despise 'em. They're all trying, and at least the band isn't drowning in ....self parody! Naw, that wouldn't be until next time, friends. Have I told you all lately that Phil Collins is a wet paper bag compared to Peter Gabriel, and his voice does nothing for me when he's singing anything even remotely "rocking"? I didn't? Well, take a listen to Robbery, Assault, and Battery, to see why. Golly, you'd think they could have mustered more than that two tone keyboard riff atop those stiff drums. Did Banks really expect a song to be carried by Philly-boy's harping? Lord have mercy! Oh, it's also another excuse to show off how completely decent he was as a keyboard player. Tony Banks, that is. I wouldn't let Phil Collins near a keyboard to save my life. No Jacket Required has scarred me.

So, I'm stuck. Honestly, Trick of the Tail bores me to cheeto tears, even if the songs are never outright bad. Hell, there are some neat moments, like Entangled, so it's definitely not an abject failure, but I just can't sit through this thing without wanting to kill a keyboardist or go listen to some Gabriel solo material, or something. It's a shame that my favorite moments on this here record are when they are the least complex and "wanky". It's an uneven album, even if it's almost all the same, all the way through. Half rockers, half jerkers, nothing totally sincere, nothing otherworldly, just mundane music by professionals lacking a definitive or appealing vision, or melodies, dude. You might like it, but I doubt it will cause too many tears to fall, unless of course, you're weeping over Genesis going down the toilet. Count this as an extremely low 10, almost a 9 out of fifteen, for containing the remnants of a really cool band. Perhaps Steve Hackett could perform his eulogy, oh wait...

***

Alitare | 3/5 |

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