Classic Rock Review

The home of old record and bootleg reviews…

Genesis A Trick Of The Tail (1976)


You would think a group that loses such a productive member (Peter Gabriel) would in turn roll over and call it quits, or at least have a tough time creating a good reputation for themselves. Peter Gabriel was what made them famous, but the rest of the band was the backbone. They were indeed writing most of the material, but it was Gabriel who brought it forth to their fans by dressing in outlandish costumes. The sad thing was that mostly everyone thought Gabriel was the creative force behind the band. So, the rest of the band had to create an album which overshadowed everything they did previously with Gabriel. And they pulled it off! It was their best selling album to date. After the success of this album, people changed their thoughts about Peter Gabriel. When they once thought that Peter was the creative force who contributing everything, they began to reconsider that Gabriel contributed nothing, mostly riding on the coattails of the rest of the group. A Trick of the Tail is their most beautifully crafted album, I must say.

The album starts off with “Dance on a Volcano”, a track that showcases Genesis’s uncanny knack of musicianship. Phil Collins’s vocals are much more natural than Gabriel’s. But that could always get an artist in trouble. In later efforts, Collins seemed to concentrate more on sappy love songs than works of art. His drumming was phenominal! And never is it more apparent than on this track.

The next tune on the album is a very melodic tune called “Entangled”. A beautifully crafted piece with amazing lyrics. I just love the line “as I count backwards your eyes become heavier still”. It makes you feel like you are in a quack doctor’s office, lying down on the comfy couch. This tune makes you feel as if you are having an out-of-body experience. If you have a pulse, you must like this song in some way or another. And if that wasnt enough, Tony Banks provides the track with a synthesizer workout. Very hypnotic indeed.

“Squonk” follows with amazing drumming by Collins. The guy can make these drum fills that can make you wonder how in the world did he make that sound so easy. “Mad Man Moon” starts out as a nice ballad with heart-breaking vocals by Collins, but then there is this break within the track that drags it down. Tony Banks’s cheesy synthesizer interlude just ruins a good tune. Mad Man Moon also sounds like it could have been written by Gabriel, probably due to the fact that Collin’s sounds more like Gabriel than Gabriel himself did. “Robbery, Assault and Battery” is a nice rocker. The lyrics are rather trite, but other than that amazing musicanship.

If you thought “Entangled” would be the most aesthetically pleasing song ever written by Genesis, they throw “Ripples” into the mix. Again, heart-breaking vocals by Collins and exquisite piano playing by Banks. There is a synthesizer and guitar interlude within “Ripples”, but it is in much better taste than “Mad Man Moon”. Steve Hackett provides eerie, swooping guitar notes within this interlude.

The title track, “A Trick of the Tail” is definitely under par. I would have to say it is the worst song on the album. Good thing they didn’t finish out the album with this unpleasing tune. Genesis did though, close out the album with “Los Endos” which is an instrumental track that contains the melodies found within the other songs on the album. You can hear “Dance on a Volcano”, “Squonk”, “Robbery, Assault, and Battery” in different arrangements within this track. I just love the way they mixed in the songs to provide an “overture” so to speak.

If it was just for Entangled and Ripples alone, the album would be magnificent. These two precious ballads make the album what it is. There are a couple horrible moments like “A Trick of the Tail” and the synthesizer interlude within “Mad Man Moon”. Too bad Tony Banks had to mess around with the synthesizers so much. It was the 70’s though, everyone messed around with synthesizers, expecially the progressive rockers. I still say this is Genesis’s best album right behind Foxtrot, of course. I would give the album a healthy 9 out of 10.

February 24, 2013 - Posted by | Genesis A Trick Of The Tail |

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