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Genesis - A Trick Of The Tail CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

4.27 | 2349 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

3 stars In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

Thus begins Genesis, and my venture into the world of prog rock began with Genesis and with this album. It was a revelation back then, when I really had no similar music to compare it with and considered it a true masterpiece. It helped me to delve deeper into prog territory and gave me encounters of which the majority has been good, some dreadful, and a few truly wonderful. Therefore I find this album a good place to start when I decided that I should review some albums here on the archives.

This album is the first Genesis album after Peter Gabriel's departure and the first to showcase Phil Collins abilities as a lead vocalist. He comes off as higher pitched than Gabriel and imho he is lacking a certain edge that was always present in Peter's voice. Musically speaking though, media and some fans had overestimated the impact Gabriel had on the making of the music, He was considered to be of he same importance for the songwriting as, for instance, Ian Anderson or Peter Hammill had for their respective bands, and A Trick of the Tail showed that this was not the case. A very Banks-oriented album, with the sound clearly dominated by his keys and most of the songs written or co-written by him, you could clearly hear musical traces of, for instance Nursery Cryme or Selling England here. Oddly though, not much of their previous double album The Lamb lies down on Broadway.

But to be frank. I find something to missing here. Over the years I've found myself coming back to this particular album less and less often. Why so, I can't tell. Lyrically this is a letdown from the quirky cleverness Gabriel delivered. The most of the lyrics are ok, no more no less. I like "Squonk", somewhat reminiscent of Gabriel's way of telling a story. A Trick of the Tail", that seems to focus slightly more on the lyrics, on the other hand, clearly misses the mark.

Musically, this is a good album overall with compositions on par with a lot of their earlier material. But how much I may love the interlude in "Ripples", the ending of "Dance on a volcano", or some of the clever lines in Squonk, I still feel that all the elements apparent on this album has been performed slightly better by other bands. It never gets really dull, "Entangled" is a beautiful ballad, actually better than, for instance "Harlequin", the solo in Mad man moon is brilliant, Hackett delivers subtle beauty with his guitar lines throughout...

...but Phil played better jazz fusion with Brand X, Harmonium, Focus or... well, early Genesis wrote more haunting melodies. Supertramp or maybe even 10 CC on a good day could trumph out "A Trick of the Tail" (the song) as a prog pop chartattempt. All the ingredients are still there, but I find that edge missing. The edge that maybe disappeared with Gabriel after all. It puzzles me, because I can't point out a certain fault. And of course, this IS after all a good album.

It's just that in comparison with some other albums in my collection I find this one to be a very nice listen, but also a very predictable one. A good starting point, a great starting point, but Genesis has made no less than eight better albums according to my taste.

And "Los endos"? Well, a nice song. No more, no less. "Duke's travels" are way better.

Hedenman | 3/5 |


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