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Genesis - ...And Then There Were Three...  CD (album) cover

...AND THEN THERE WERE THREE...

Genesis

 

Symphonic Prog

3.43 | 963 ratings

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stefro
Prog Reviewer
2 stars Both the group's final progressive gasp yet also their first foray into poppier realms, 1978's game-changing '...And Then There Were Three' was the album that laid the groundwork for the phenomenally successful period Genesis would enjoy during the 1980's. With the departure of sorely underused guitarist Steve Hackett the British outfit had now slimmed down into a three-piece consisting of Tony Banks(keyboards), Phil Collins(vocals, drums) and Mike Rutherford(guitar, bass) the trio quickly moving away from their art-rock origins and embracing a less complex sound characterised by slick production values, shorter songs and a mainstream sound designed to appeal to a wider demographic. This new direction would be evident on later albums such as 1980's 'Duke' and it's varied follow-ups 'Abacab'(1981), 'Genesis'(1983) and 'Invisible Touch'(1986) though it would begin on this curiously mixed release which sought to fuse the group's progressive origins with their new found pop leanings. Although Genesis had proved remarkably successful throughout the 1970s with their intelligent brand of symphonic style prog-rock, like their fellow progressive acts they were never a singles group despite the brief charting of 1973's jocular 'I Know What I Like(In Your Wardrobe')' from their 'Selling England By The Pound' album, a track which reached the lofty heights of no.13 in the UK. However, ...And Then There Were Three' would feature the charming, catchy if somewhat lightweight ditty 'Follow You, Follow Me', and the songs unexpected success(it would reach no.5) would kick- start over a decade's worth of hit singles for the new three-piece version of Genesis. Released in 1978, '...And Then There Were' three would prove to be the last album purchased by many an old-school Genesis fan, yet all those who left the story at this point would be replaced ten-fold by the beginning of the eighties, attracted by the crisp keyboard-heavy sound, Collins powerful vocals and a plethora of carefully-crafted pop ballads that would turn both lead-vocalist and group into household names. As an album, however, '...And Then There Were Three' proves fundamentally weak thanks to it's transitional nature, falling delicately between too disparate stylistic stools without satisfying the needs of either progressive rock fans of those with an ear for something a but lighter. Opening piece, the thrilling 'Down & Out', is one of the rare exceptions, a song pumped with a charging pace, forced vocals and trance-like percussion, whilst the surreal lyrics and LSD-flecked nuances of 'Scenes From A Night's Dreams' also provide a brief glimmer of the group's old fantasy-inspired past. These moments are far too few though, with the bulk of the album consisting of syrupy, mid-paced ballads, glutinous keyboard rock and a startling lack of invention. Undoubtedly the weakest progressive album of Genesis' otherwise excellent 1970s output, the difficult sonic balancing act that is '...And Then There Were Three' proves a disappointing denouement.

STEFAN TURNER, STOKE NEWINGTON, 2012

stefro | 2/5 |

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