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Genesis - Wind & Wuthering CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

4.11 | 2247 ratings

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Mr. Gone
4 stars "A Trick of the Tail", "Wind and Wuthering"'s predecessor, is my favorite album of all time. To say that probably just about anything that came in its wake would be a bit of a disappointment might be a fair statement. To be honest, though, the band does a good job here putting together an album that is still great, just not quite classic to my way of thinking.

Whereas "Trick" is very organic, with a lot of piano and the guitars rather present, "Wuthering" is much more synthetic. The keyboards are lush, heavy and nearly omnipresent. In many ways, the overall aural ratios (if not the actual songs as a whole) between "Wuthering" and its followup "...And Then There Were Three..." are probably the most similar of any two albums in the band's catalog up to this point - lots of keys, washes and heavy moods.

There's certainly some very strong material here, regardless of the instrumentation. "Blood on the Rooftops" lyrically may seem a bit trite, dealing with a day of TV watching, but the music is beautiful - probably my favorite track on here. "Eleventh Earl of Mar" is a nice rocker dealing with a failed Scottish Jacobite uprising of 1715 under John Erskine, featuring a siren-sounding guitar in the intro and outro and plenty of not-so-veiled contempt for aristocrats. "Unquiet Slumbers for the Sleepers... ...In that Quiet Earth" is a lovely two-part instrumental ranking up with any instrumental work the band would do, though it does capture the album's synth-heavy mood at the beginning of "Quiet Earth" by doubling up the guitars with a keyboard.

The rest of the album is a bit patchy, though. "One for the Vine" is overall a great song, but the slightly whiny guitar in the beginning and middle of the song grates on me somewhat (though the rest of it, with its somewhat ambiguous meaning, probably approaches or reaches "brilliant"). "Your Own Special Way" is quite beautiful and full of imagery (carried nicely by the instrumentation), but probably seems rather slight compared to some of the other material. "Wot Gorilla?" is a rather forgettable instrumental - not terrible, but the weakest track in my opinion. Unfortunately, "All in a Mouse's Night" doesn't really improve things much. The guitar solo at the end is very nice, although the drums pull it back a bit too much to "Firth of Fifth" from "Selling England by the Pound" (a great song, but you already did it once - no need to repeat yourself), but the major problem is just that the main verses of the song sound like weaker Gentle Giant material and the story itself seems somewhat forced (if not even a bit laughable). And "Afterglow", while it sounds great live with the vocal chorus keyboards at its high points, isn't as interesting with Phil's voice layered in place of the keys.

Supposedly Steve Hackett wanted to include "Please Don't Touch" on the album, but Tony Banks convinced the rest of the band to include "Wot Gorilla?" instead. I can't help but feel the album would have been a half-tick stronger with that powerful track included - and ultimately the band would suffer the permanent loss of Hackett in the wake of this choice as well. With CD's clocking in at 80 minutes, it's not hard to imagine that "Touch", along with the three tracks from the "Spot the Pigeon" EP, would have made it onto this album had it been made 10-15 years later, and it would have been that much the better for it ("Inside and Out", in particular, is considered a classic by many fans, and while the other two tracks are hardly jaw-dropping they're still fun and catch a different side of the band with a more uniquely British perspective).

So, is this a great album? Yeah, definitely. Could it have been better? In spots, probably. A couple of songs could have been omitted while losing nothing; substituting other choices in would have made it better. And the synth-heavy mix gets a bit overwhelming at times. But, overall, one could certainly spend 3/4s of an hour doing something far less worthwhile than enjoying this little gem. 4 stars (more toward 4.5 than 4).

Mr. Gone | 4/5 |


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