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Mike Rutherford - Smallcreep's Day CD (album) cover

SMALLCREEP'S DAY

Mike Rutherford

 

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3.70 | 174 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars Curiousity

This, the first solo album by the Genesis bassist, was released some years before his much more commercially successful ventures with "Mike and the Mechanics". Rather ambitiously, he chose to fill one side of the album (on my LP, the first side) with a concept piece, based on a day in the life of a dull individual who works on a production line without any idea of what he is actually making.

The "Smallcreep's day" side of the album is a continuous piece of music, broken into distinct sections although there are no track markings on the vinyl. The opening "Between the tick and the tock" is a downbeat, reflective number which has echoes of Tony Banks' similarly timed first solo album "A curious feeling". The second section, "Waiting in line" is the most commercial part of the piece, and was almost a hit single. Noel McCalla's vocals here are distinguished and appropriate, thank goodness Mike resisted the urge to sing (he would find that urge too powerful on his next solo album). Former band mate Anthony Phillips contributes some fine keyboard work, sometimes as backing sounds but often to the fore such as on the "Lamb.." sounding "Cats and rats" and the excellent "Out in the daylight", where he sounds very Banksian.

The suite closes with the touching ballad "At the end of the day", where McCalla's sympathetic performance sees him displaying his full vocal range backed by some wonderfully atmospheric keyboard and guitar motifs.

Side two of the album consists of more orthodox pop rock songs, most of which would have suited Genesis albums "Duke" or "And then there were three". Indeed, "Smallcreep's day" was released between those albums, so these songs may even have been submitted by Rutherford for consideration for them.

"Moonshine" is a rather nondescript rambling piece, with Tony Banks inspired synthesiser driving it along. "Time and time again" is an excellent ballad, which once again has the feel of Tony Banks' "A curious feeling" (which curiously was recorded in the same studios at the same time. Note also that the central theme of "Smallcreep's day is curiosity!). The remaining songs are adequate but ordinary, and certainly overshadowed by the revese side of the LP.

In some ways, "Smallcreep's day" is a bit of a "Tarkus", with the title suite occupying the whole of one side, and completely overshadowing the other side. Like "Tarkus" the tracks on the second side do have some merit, but they are significantly inferior when compared to the album's focal point.

An essential album for the suite which gives the album its title. The LP represents excellent value too, running for over 50 minutes.

Easy Livin | 4/5 |

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