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Genesis - Trespass CD (album) cover

TRESPASS

Genesis

 

Symphonic Prog

4.17 | 1666 ratings

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Prog Sothoth
4 stars It would be silly to explore a fascinating and somewhat unique year of progressive rock, being 1970, without a strong mention of Genesis' Trespass. From what I gather, it's currently the most reviewed album here of that year, thus time has been quite beneficial to it as the band itself would hit wider acclaim as a theatrical act, a super big pop/rock act, and these days as one of the legendary grandmasters of prog rock. Given that status, any studio album by Genesis is going be put under a ton of scrutiny. Their debut album remains more of a botched curiosity, but even without Collins & Hackett on board, the sophomore effort Trespass is an important part of their discography and one of the most significant leaps in quality I can think of concerning almost any rock band.

To me personally, this is one of those rare albums where it begins as a decent offering, and then steadily progresses during the entire duration towards greatness. In other words, I dig each song better than the last.

The first three tracks can be considered "good stuff" but they don't exactly blow my mind. Peter's vocals are a plus right from the get-go, as his soulful delivery early on is not something I hear too often from the guy. It's actually a bit restrained from the antics I'm used to hearing aurally from his Genesis days, and combined with the overall wistful quality of the music, it works in creating that "pastoral" vibe everyone seems to mention when regarding this album. Anthony Philips certainly aids in this conclusion as well with his atmospheric layer of texture, often of the acoustic variety.

"Stagnation" is where Trespass really hits the next level. It's among their best mellow tunes that, despite the running time, never gets, well, stagnant. It evolves from quiet moments to more energetic sections while retaining an almost carefree ambience, and despite the dated production, there's a strong sense of lushness to it. "Dusk" is a shorter piece, but even more gorgeous with quality backup vocals that are almost haunting yet soothing in nature. The song just drifts and takes me along for the ride. This of course leaves one unprepared for the final cut off the album, "The Knife", which certainly earns its stripes as one of Genesis' most memorable tracks, and definitely the one that would set the pace for their next batch of albums while being inferior to none of them. It's a deserved classic and one of the most noteworthy prog tunes from 1970, representing that years' uncertainty and uneasy outlook towards the future better than almost anything else in its time. It's theatrical, complex and dire with little room for psychedelic excess. It also rocks pretty damn hard! It doesn't stand out like a sore thumb only because there are plenty of moments throughout the rest of the album that indicate that this band is not on some languid folk journey, but it's a heavy hitter nonetheless.

I have to admit that the band probably did right by replacing John Mayhew with Phil Collins before Nursery Cryme since he doesn't seem to have that impact needed for the direction the band would be taking, but he's serviceable enough here. The rest of the band is top notch throughout this album, including poor Anthony Phillips. I wouldn't say this is my favorite album by them; the next two actually qualify for that, but as far as a follow-up to a truly humble debut, this album is actually staggering.

Prog Sothoth | 4/5 |

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