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

A TRICK OF THE TAIL

Genesis

 

Symphonic Prog

4.27 | 1756 ratings

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Moribund
5 stars A truly great album - just beaten by 'Selling England' but no less worthy of 5 stars. I remember this LP coming out in the shops very clearly and the buzz at the time was huge - obviously the departure of Gabriel sparked debate on the viable future of Genesis. So to share my first impressions with this in mind, I have a clear recollection of putting this album on the turntable. Dance on a Volcano was an inspired opener. Classic Genesis by any standard (and sounding more 'prog' than many of the more lyrically driven songs on The Lamb) this kicked in with confidence and energy. The experience of hearing Phil's first vocals was not dissimilar from hearing the first vocal passage in Yes's Machine Messiah - by accident or intent, his vocal style was not a million miles away from Gabriel's unique rasp and thus initial trepidations were diffused somewhat! As the song ran breathlessly into its closing instrumental passage (and what band understands the extended instrumental excursion better than Genesis?) this seemed a highlypromising start. Entangled - a quiet, unassuming start somewhat more conventional in presentation. Eyes straying to the album cover, lyrically this track seemed to match the Edwardian flavour of the designs and I was drawn into the other images. Almost without warning the music was beginning the slow build into anaesthetic total immersion - lovers off this album will be familiar with the stunned state of mind you are left with as the final, enormous chord drops out. A beautiful, beautiful song. Squonk impressed me less - perhaps Genesis by numbers complete with the obligatory 'Eight Days a Week' chord changes over a pedal bassnote. Playground rumour whispered that it was a semi-affectionate swipe at absent friend Gabriel as a riposte to Solsbury Hill. HOWEVER a tantalising playout suggesting that yet another extended intrumental playout was being launched which had to be faded out for space in the final cut. Yes, I know that live Genesis reproduced this section & resolved it, but I feel that was a decision after the event. I'll stick my neck out and posit that on the original master of this track exists some sublime instrumental Genesis unheard by most. Otherwise, the fade makes no sense to me. Mad Man Moon. The flute! Well, ProSoloist synth, but we get the idea that Genesis are trying their hardest to convince us that Gabriel's departure has not essentially changed the band sound. I'm certainly convinced by now. And what a sublime song - Banks' composing at its most accomplished (a true craftsman Banks - unlike Hackett who appears to 'make mistakes' in his writing, but nonetheless often leading to equally beautiful and stunning songs). This is one of my favourite Genesis songs ever - fabulous chords, subtle instrumentation (check Collins' soft xylophone rolls) an evocative, if slightly obscure lyric and the most heavenly recapitulation in Rock History (though compare the Beatles trumpet reprise of You Never Give Me Your Money on Abbey Road, or King Crimson's full-length Starless). Side two continues the symmetry of songs with middle instrumentals - Robbery, Assault and Battery is Cinema Show revisited with a wonderful 13/8 instrumental workout matching the 7/8 section of CS. Collins does the Gabriel thing with vocal characterizations. Ripples, like Entangled is basically a simple song (great lyric here) given to the band (or is it just Banks) to incorporate the instrumental section. The title track is less characteristic Genesis, but musically witty and attractive with some brilliant guitar work which only Hackett would dream of producing. Los Endos draws together several strands of the album - great in context, though a little disjointed and gratuitous if taken alone (and somewhat spoilt subsequently by appearing to be the start of a trend taken up by Wot Gorilla on the next album). But as Collins celebrates the Angel Gabriel standing in the sun on the track's fade, the peace is made, the links are forged and Genesis are poised to establish their dominance of progressive rock. Or at least that's how it seemed at the time...
Moribund | 5/5 |

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