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Genesis - Wind & Wuthering CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

4.10 | 1862 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars More like winded and withering, perhaps? And so, gently did fade the lustre of Genesis as the winds of punk began to blow over the music scene of the 70s. They enjoyed better and better results, commercially, with each subsequent album since Gabriel left the band. But this may have also been because they slowly but surely gave up on many aspects that dictated their earlier style and creepily morphed into a more pop oriented outfit. They never had to do a volte face like ELP or Yes; they just slid smoothly, step by step, into, at first, a watered down version of their prog facade which then gave way to out and out pop.

With that unappetising introduction out of the way, I have to say it is not at all a bad album. Actually, even after they went pop, they remained "not bad at all" for a long time. As they shrank from five men to four and just three, Genesis somehow managed to keep delivering a consistent mean level of quality (if, that is, one can hazard to assign qualitative values to music albums). However, consistency can also get somewhat boring when accompanied by a diminishing appetite for adventure.

I give that the album doesn't start on a boring note. The opening salvo, Eleventh Earl of Mar, is rousing with some splendid work at the drums by Collins. The same cannot quite be said about his singing and his lack of commitment drags down the album a bit. Not that he can be entirely blamed for it, because he is quite clearly struggling to project Banks's lyrics.

But even when the lyrics do offer an element of humour, as they do in All in a Mouse's Night, Collins is strangely reserved. Blood on the Rooftops evokes pretty interesting images of Britain but Collins seems to be caught between trying to imitate Gabriel and trying to go motown. Di that perhaps have something to do with the metamorphosis of Genesis? Collins is a pretty good pop singer in his own right, but he's not very comfortable trying to play Gabriel with Banks's lyrics and this can make the album feel a bit vacant in places (quite so, I should say, on Your Own Special Way!)

Instead, it's the understated Hackett who once again lends memorability to the proceedings. His wonderful playing on the Unquiet slumbers/Quiet Earth duo as also on Blood on the Rooftops give them a haunting quality that the band otherwise doesn't always seem to attain. Likewise, his short solo towards the end of One for the Vine supplies badly needed momentum to what almost feels like an extended ballad. One for the Vine and Quiet Earth also have some quirky sonic moments to enliven an at times pedestrian affair.

Of the others, Afterglow is not bad but I am probably not in the mood for more Collins-balladry by then. Wot Gorilla is an enjoyable instrumental though it doesn't particularly make a telling point when it's done. This album has more focus than A Trick of the Tail though I am not sure an autumnal mood works so well for Genesis. The production certainly doesn't help matters, seemingly taking the bottom out of their sound. I feel the album would sound more 'alive' than it does if Collins and Rutherford's grooves were allowed to assault the ears the way they otherwise would.

It is in fact for such moments of quirk as mentioned earlier, the usual Hackettry and Collins's skills as drummer that I give the album 3 stars without hesitation. I desire some more inspiration and liveliness from an album that is generally well put together and 'professional' but somewhat run-of-the-mill by Genesis standards.

rogerthat | 3/5 |


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