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




Symphonic Prog

3.44 | 1411 ratings

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Cygnus X-2
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Aptly titled And Then There Were Three... after the sudden departure of Steve Hackett during the mixing sessions for the live album Seconds Out, this album would mark the beginning of the three man incarnation of Genesis comprised of Tony Banks, Mike Rutherford, and Phil Collins. This would also mark the final album Genesis would release in the 70s, and while not even remotely close to the best album they released, it still was a fitting closer to the decade that saw them (and many other progressive rock groups at that note) reach infamous heights. And though there is no Peter Gabriel or Steve Hackett, this album is still pretty solid and shows that Genesis still had some progressive rock left in them (this is probably the most progressive of the three piece band albums, with Duke following shortly behind). Now if you're one of those types that think that Phil Collins ruined Genesis, you'll be surprised to hear that this album will be surprisingly good and along with Duke made a fine farewell to their old sound before they made their cross-over into pop music. Furthermore, it wasn't entirely Collins' fault for the format change, you can hear more pop influences in the Mike Rutherford and Tony Banks penned compositions than the Phil Collins' penned ones. But enough of my ranting.

The album opens strongly with the bitter and aggressive Down and Out. Powerful drumming from Collins and a solid foundation from Rutherford are augmented by rich organ chords and floating synthesizers from Tony Banks in an interesting 5/4 motif (at least that's what I think). It opens the album on a sullen and distant note, but I think it is one of the best songs on the album. You can hear an underlying guitar theme in Undertow, and you can just hear the spot where Hackett could have put a solo on top of but alas he's not there. This track reminds me a bit of Afterglow off of Wind & Wuthering, and it's a pretty somber (yet far from sparse) piece. Ballad of Big has a more upbeat feel and Collins' drumming keeps a marching/stampede style beat. Rutherford's bass performance is also pretty interesting and during the breakdown section molds well with Tony Banks' organ and synthesizers (you'll find quickly that Banks is the dominant musician on this album). Snowbound brings back hints of when Peter Gabriel was in the band as a very mellow introduction with an underlying flute melody (or so I think). It's a majestic piece that feels like Ripples off of Trick of the Tail. Burning Rope is the longest and most musically expansive piece on the album, that said, though, it does tend to meander around the same riff throughout the entire piece and there really is no sense of evolution in it. Rutherford tries his best to imitate a Hackett style guitar solo but for the most part comes up a bit short, still it is a pretty cool guitar solo.

Deep in the Motherlode has an expansive synthesizer intro with a rich sound overall. Collins' drumming is ever so consistent and Rutherford plays a subdued role this time with a fairly simple bass performance. It's a good song, but nothing truly captivating. Many too Many is filled with an aura of melancholy and mystery. The majestic orchestrations and instrumentation give way to a strong chorus and some hints of more Hackett influenced guitar can be heard. It's an okay song, but it could have been a lot more than it turned out to be. Scenes from a Night's Dream has Collins attempting a lyrical narration of sorts with the lyrics telling a story. The music is majestic and has a genuine upbeat feel but it's more of a throwaway piece than anything else. Say It's Alright Joe is another throwaway piece in the end, but Collins' heartfelt vocal when comibned with the mysterious instrumentation comes off quite effectively overall. The Lady Lies is one of the better pieces on the album with expansive performances from everyone as well as a superb rhythmic performance from Collins and Rutherford, who perform incredibly well under Banks' lush synthesizer solos. Follow You Follow Me ends the album on a lighter note with a more commercially oriented piece, though the mixed percussion is very nice and the chorus is somewhat catchy.

In the end, And Then There Were Three... would be the last true progressive album from Genesis, and though Duke would have a lot of progressive moments, this album edges it out on that. Do I like Duke more? That would depend on my mood, but what's for certain is that And Then There Were Three... seems to be missing something when you listen to it all at once, and I think that would be Hackett's signature guitar sound. But if you can get past that then you'll find some enjoyable music here. And once again, Collins didn't ruin Genesis, it was more Tony Banks and Mike Rutherford's fault in the end. 3.5/5.

Cygnus X-2 | 3/5 |


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