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Genesis - A Trick Of The Tail CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

4.28 | 2552 ratings

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4 stars Although Genesis probably tried to avoid alienating fans of their recently departed lead vocalist Peter Gabriel, new lead singer Phil Collins puts his mark on A Trick of the Tail almost immediately. "Dance on a Volcano" doesn't sound like a Peter Gabriel song, so it's kind of surprising that it's album opener. On the other hand, there's no other song here that grabs the listener like this one. After a false ending beginning around 4:45, the madness continues for another minute before wrapping up nicely, preparing the listener for a lighter song.

"Entangled" is the first of three or four songs on A Trick of the Tail which I can imagine Gabriel singing without much adjustment to the arrangement. It almost perfectly captures the sense of moving between dreaming and waking, and its use of what I assume are multiple 12-string guitars harkens back to some of the band's earlier arrangements. "Entangled" also contains some of the best vocal harmonies the band ever recorded.

The title song is also a strong offering, and another sci-fi tale along the lines of "Get 'em Out By Friday" or "Keep It Dark," although its storyline is more comprehensible. The melodious "Ripples..." is also said to have an otherworldly plot. As nice as "Ripples..." is - - and it is very nice - - there just isn't eight minutes of material here. I feel the same way about closing song, the instrumental "Los Endos," which recycles some themes from "Squonk" and "Dance on a Volcano." It's a solid track, just a little long.

The only song I'm not especially fond of is "Mad Man Moon." It's a little tedious in my opinion; there's nothing here that the band wouldn't top less than a year later on "All in a Mouse's Night." The remaining two tracks, "Squonk" and "Robbery, Assault and Battery" are both good songs, but they sound a bit tepid here compared to the live versions released on Seconds Out in 1977.

The production quality on A Trick of the Tail is better than that of the band's previous album, The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway. The mix is much more integrated - - the instruments, and especially the vocals, sound much more like parts of a cohesive whole than they had on prior albums. Some of this may be due to burying Collins's voice in the mix, but whatever it is, it works.

On the whole, A Trick of the Tail is one of Genesis's best three or four studio albums. There's no "Supper's Ready" here, but this album contains textbook examples of heavy Genesis ("Dance on a Volcano") and light Genesis ("Entangled"). Highly recommended to anyone who figures that all Collins-era Genesis must sound like Invisible Touch!

patrickq | 4/5 |


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