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Genesis - Wind And Wuthering CD (album) cover

WIND AND WUTHERING

Genesis

 

Symphonic Prog

4.09 | 1321 ratings

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4 stars This is one of those great albums that you can practically guarantee to find in the bargain bin of most second hand music stores - especially if you're a vinyl freak like me.

So, having found a mint conditioned first pressing, most reasonably priced at a paltry pound of our English money, I began my exploration of exactly what would have been heard back in 1977, and... it's a Genesis album.

Yup.

Without doubt, this is the Genesis that made "Trespass", "Foxtrot" et al... but despite the swirly intro, there's a more regular feel to "Elevnth Earl of Mar", and those vocals - despite the odd asides - well, they're not very dramatic are they?

More kind of singalongaPhil... but OOooh! when Tony Banks goes off with the keyboards and everything fades down low, there's that familiar shiver of delight - the soft sixths and minor sevenths - and what about those Mellotrons???

Phil does his best to fill Gabriel's shoes, but it would seem he's more enjoying singing like Phil than Pete generally, and when he does, we can't really hold that against him. But I'm not keen on him "doing a Pete".

Then Crash!! The Genesis drama unfolds - Rutherfords growly bass underpinning slowly shifting harmonies, piano arpeggios and melancholic lead lines... Mmmmmm!!!

Another melancholy lead line from Hacket begins "One For The Vine", which meanders off following a strong song structure, the sections of which unfold like a musical voyage, entering a more free-form that has "traditional Genesis" hallmarks all over it - little keyboard scurries, mood shifts, lights and shades of texture woven together as a skilled seamstress embroiders a tapestry - but using the aural equivalent of watercolours.

Then, there are the most almighty splodges of colour, in a passage that used to drive me mad - the needle used to stick in the groove of my old copy at exactly this point, so this would just go on and on and on until I could be bothered to tap the stylus...

But back to the song... it just gets better and better with a curious solo feeding into a section that sounds almost like the Beatles on Abbey Road, moving seamlessly and with a highly improvised feeling - but stylised in manner. Without doubt, this is one of the finest of the "Post-Gabriel" songs, but I do start to wish that Phil would stop trying to imitate Gabriel''s lyrical style, as he lacked the literary depth to pull it off... Of course, that wish comes true on later albums, for better or worse...

"Your Own Special Way" is a nice song, but not what I (or any other progger) would want on a Prog Rock album - it's a Phil special ballad, better by far than "More Fool Me" but not quite up there with "Ripples", especially with the desparately twee instrumental section.

"Wot Gorilla?" is an instrumental - an icy, tinkling intro giving way to sizzling percussion from Phil, and gorgeous keyboard layers and guitar textures underpinned by bass pedals with glacial harmonic movement, and a slowly building atmosphere that leaves you wishing for more as it tinkles off into the distance.

"All in a Mouse's Night" has some crazy percussion and rhythms from Phil - he's at his very strongest here, and Tony Banks pulls out all the stops, so to speak, to produce interesting textures. Sadly most of this is too far down in the mix, and not intended as foreground, so the entire song ends up sounding a bit samey unless you're listening intently. Rutherford's largely uninventive bass would seem to be the main reason for this - and where is Hackett? The solo he puts in sounds as if he's cruising in 3rd, waiting for the moment to shift upwards, but never does. A great pity, as some of the ideas are very good, and re-used on his later albums (I recognise "Voyage of the Acolyte" in here..." The lyrics are mildly amusing, being concerned with a 10 foot mouse with teeth and claws to match - but hardly substantial stuff.

Some beautiful, if somewhat faltering Spanish guitar begins "Blood on the Rooftops"... and Banks produces some wonderful textures. When the music kicks in, it's almost like going back to "The Musical Box", with the nostalgic flavours.

The album continues in this vein of inventiveness - nothing melodically outstanding, but rhythmically solid, harmonically slow-shifting, formally loose and texturally exciting Prog Rock - with the possible exception of "Afterglow", but with loads and loads of really good bits, magical textures floating past in a gentle, dreamy haze - absolutely perfect for these cold winter nights, and some seriously cool drumming from Phil, as ever.

There's this one bit towards the end of "This Quiet Earth" that you really MUST hear, though - seriously! It's fantastic!!

"Afterglow" wraps it all up perfectly, of course, and needs no introduction. Odd, really, considering that it's essentially a simple song. However, tape down those neck hairs...

If I was rating this alongside other Genesis albums, it would be kind of average to middling, but as a Prog Rock album, it's great and should be in your collection - after you've bought Foxtrot, SEBTP, Nursery Cryme, Lamb, Trespass and WAW, of course...

3.75 stars.

Certif1ed | 4/5 |

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