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

A TRICK OF THE TAIL

Genesis

 

Symphonic Prog

4.27 | 1728 ratings

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penguindf12
Prog Reviewer
3 stars The first GENESIS album without GABRIEL, and also the first album I've removed a star from a perfect five. HACKETT and BANKS (who eventually gives up to pop later on in the trio stage) are the last influences of prog on GENESIS, with RUTHERFORD and COLLINS fighting on the other end for pop, and the battle shows on this album.

"A Trick of the Tail" seems to have a more defined guitar than the GABRIEL-era albums, and you can easily pick out each separate instrument on the more diluted tracks: a clear sign that the strings are beginning to unravel. Also missing are the theatrics, the flute, and the lyrical genius of GABRIEL, although COLLINS does write a few good lines. This album seems to me in form not unlike "Selling England by the Pound." It begins with a strong, harder piece, then a mix, then reprises the "main riffs" at the end. If "Selling England" was buttery smooth and cinammony, this is the margarine and sugar counterpart with the pop showing occaisionally (watered down, if you will).

"Dance on a Volcano" is like "Dancing with the Moonlit Knight" in title, form, and lyrical structure. Both are brilliant, wonderous pieces; both ecourage the listener to dance (in metaphor, of course: the latter being in social opposition, the former being in more Christian terms of "doing right"); and both have riffs which are reprised in the last song. But don't take my word for it: listen for yourself and decide what you think. The song is in mainly 7/8 time, but still flows extremely well, so it's barely noticeable and smooth. I especially enjoy the instrumental section after "the dance begins" at the end.

"Entangled" is an interesting mostly HACKETT-influenced song laced with soft, soothing guitar and lyrics about a person trapped in an anesthesiac sleep. It ends in a way you would expect from GABRIEL: after extensive dream imagery and comforting voices, they give him the bill for his operation. The rest of the song is some mellotron and guitar instrumental work which keeps with the song's slower tempo and does not noticeably reflect the song's ironic lyrical ending.

Immediately we are thrown into a musical counterpoint, "Sqonk." When I first heard this, I had deja vu. Now I know why. MAGENTA's "Revolutions" completely ripped the major riff in this song! That riff is surprisingly catchy, and a thudding bass accompanies. The lyrics are about some guy catching a critter which melts into a pool of tears, nothing really noteworthy; which is probably the reason I don't really like this song that much.

"Mad Mad Moon" is a BANKS composition with mostly pianos to begin, then with a stronger section coming in somewhere in the middle. Nice, but nothing exceptional. Following is "Robbery, Assault, and Battery," which I think bogs down this album. It shows some sonic qualities, but also COLLIN's sad replication of GABRIEL's theatrics, which of course falls flat. This song is also too pop-influenced to be of my liking. However, there is a midsection instrumental in 13/8 which partially redeems the song.

"Ripples" gives credit to BANKS and COLLINS for its existance, but what I hear in this song is mostly HACKETT. It is a nice companion to "Entangled," and both are about the same in form. Its lyrics are about an old woman remembering the days when she was young and beautiful and her dealing with that. After a nice chorus, it speeds up a bit for an instrumental section which ends with another chorus.

The title track is nice and all, but is pop, plain and simple. At 4 minutes with barely any variation on the main (pop) theme, the only thing of true interest here is the odd lyrics about a creature which visits humanity only to be locked up. It escapes and tries to show them a better place than their cities, but the people are too blind to see it. Now that I've summed it up, you have no reason to listen to this track. Save your time for the next one...

...which is "Los Endos." All I can say is: wow. No, actually, I can say more: this track is an amazing instrumental which reprises themes from virtually all of the songs on this album. It is pure prog, switching up and down and staying purely symphonic all the way through. It closes with a variation of "Squonk"'s theme and some vocals lifted from "Supper's Ready" for effect. Excellent, especially the rhythm section. RUTHERFORD and COLLINS may not be my favorite songwriters, but they are VERY good at their instruments.

All in all, a 4.5 star album with pop and prog both present, but prog still holds a large amount of ground. The next album leads more in a pop direction, but the balance doesn't really shift until HACKETT leaves.

penguindf12 | 3/5 |

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