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

...AND THEN THERE WERE THREE...

Genesis

 

Symphonic Prog

3.44 | 1412 ratings

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AtomicCrimsonRush
Special Collaborator
Symphonic Team
3 stars Three Gold Stars for the threesome that still have the prog edge!

And Then There Were Three is one of the last decent Genesis albums before the onslaught of 80s syrupy ballads and teenybopper sounds that the band generated as nothing more than session musicians. At least here as a threesome the band proved they are still able to create innovative wondrous prog such as the alarmingly proggish Burning Rope. This is one of the last prog pieces from Genesis before they turned to commercial 80s kitsch-tack. Banks is wonderful on this album and Collins can still create dark atmospheres. To hear a sound such as the one on Burning Rope fills me with sadness after hearing their 80s albums. I know I am perhaps wishing for a Genesis like the beast of the 70s when Gabriel was mon capitaine, but at least the band performed like virtuoso musos rather than session hacks. Collins did not have to resort to love ballads either, at least not focus purely on this style as he had so much more to offer. But he was swallowed up on the power ballad bandwagon and I guess once you are on it, it is virtually impossible to get off. The smell of success was burning in the nostrils of all 80s bands especially metal rockers who opted for the love ballad in order to squeeze out a few thousand dollars out of the industry. Innovative music was the victim of all this in favour of straight 4 on the floor time sigs and soaring melodies, soaring guitars and soaring concert tickets. Genesis fell into this hole as we all know but this album is a true surprise containing enough prog to satiate the average progger.

Thankfully on this 1978 album the band are in fine form. I was quite amazed that the album holds onto progressive sounds as I had only heard to this point the 80s trilogy of mediocre albums from Abacab to Invisible Touch, so wasn't expecting much. Down and Out features some quirky time sigs with Collins brilliant on drums. The way the time sig keeps breaking into fractured dissonance is astounding. Banks is a revelation on keyboards. It begins the album brilliantly and signifies that Genesis are still as progressive as ever. Undertow is a prime example of how great Genesis can sound. Collins has that melancholy tone but it does not come across as saccharine or slushy. The guitar work is accomplished even though Hackett is definitely missed. Banks has some gorgeous organ phrases that encompass a serene symphonic atmosphere.

Other highlights are the Banks keyboard serenity on Many Too Many and we hear him shine on Deep in the Motherlode and Down and Out in particular. In essence this is Banks' album in terms of musicianship and it serves up a strong symphonic soundscape. Collins does some fine vocal work on Down and Out and the broken time sig in the middle is a solid progressive touch, reminiscent of Turn Me On Again in some ways.

The Lady Lies is a terrific song with a full blown keyboard solo. The time sigs diverge and there are enough mood shifts to keep the interest of its 6 minute duration. Scenes From A Night's Dream is a melodic track with magical lyrics about dreams, giant nymphs, dragons breathing fire, and prescient goblins; nightmares brought on by having food at bedtime. Follow You Follow Me is of course the big single on the album and it is certainly one of the better ballads of Collins with an infectious hook and some sing-along chorus lines. Overall the album delivers on many levels and still maintains a progressive edge that is definitely lost as the 70s draw to a close and create a new unimproved 80s Genesis.

AtomicCrimsonRush | 3/5 |

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