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Genesis Trespass (1970)


Genesis abandoned all that sunshine-pop stuff and went all King Crimson on us, which I’m sure disappointed about two people. Even though this is still pretty early in their career, it sounds exactly like a Genesis album. That is to say, there’s no major stylistic difference between this and Selling England By the Pound. Yup, this is an album full of wimpy sounding songs, and lyrics that indicate that they read a lot of geeky fantasy novels. …Of course, that’s one of the main reasons I like Genesis. I am a pretty wimpy reader of fantasy novels myself.

Also, Genesis has a pretty good handle on melodies and atmospheres, and, generally speaking, good melodies and atmospheres are why I like listening to music. (That’s one of the reasons I never cared for Rush or Styx even though I do sympathize with their incurable geekiness.)

Really, that’s all there is to Genesis’ appeal, because God knows they weren’t very good instrumentalists. …That is to say, they were pretty good, but they really had nothin’ on many of the other huge bands of the day. (I don’t think that is news to anyone.) They didn’t have any real virtuosos in the group. Their guitarists and keyboardist usually just stuck to playing arpeggios.

Peter Gabriel played his flute about as well as you’d expect to hear at a high school recital. Phil Collins wasn’t even in this incarnation of the band, and thus the drumming on Trespass is merely average. What’s more, they sometimes even come off as amateurish in this release. They get some slack there, though, since they were still extremely young.

Luckily Genesis isn’t about their instrumentalists and they never pretended to be; they were about songs. And they come up with some pleasant ones in Trespass. Right away, “Looking For Someone” is a highly engaging, mystical sort of song with interesting lyrics, thick atmosphere, and a rather ear-catching melody. It’s nothing that really blows away my toupee; I consider it more to be a song that I just enjoy listening to while relaxing in a big chair. But even for such a song, they do a really respectable job developing it through a series of dramatic crescendos!

If I’m going to listen to a seven-minute song, it’s great that it has a lot of crescendos in it, because it actually gives me the feeling that it’s going somewhere! Sometimes it gets boring, but I listen to it knowing that it won’t be boring for long.

On the other hand, “White Mountain,” does seem to get stuck in a few ruts. The slower, mystical parts seem to go on for too long, and its crescendos aren’t very numerous and not very well developed. However, I do like some of the textures they pull out there, which is the main reason I gave it a respectable ‘B’ rating in the track reviews… So, this is still a good song to listen to while lazing around in my big chair! “Vision of Angels” is a near-brilliant song that does develop rather well… That beautiful piano passage that opens it is incredibly ear-catching, and I’m almost moved profoundly whenever they get to that chorus. (It seems to take a lot to move me nowadays, so “almost moving me” is a pretty big deal.) The instrumental interlude is intricate and keeps the overall song moving at a solid pace.

“Stagnation” is very slow moving, but it’s the sort of thing that I can lose myself into, which is quite a rarity for me. It’s a sweet, pastoral epic is another sweet thing to listen to while I’m in that relaxed position. (And it’s not like it’s 100 percent “stagnant,” either… it gets pretty tense at times.) “Dusk” never gets tense at all, but it’s excused because it’s only four minutes long, and it’s a nice precursor to the song that follows, “The Knife.”

That is without a doubt the highlight of Trespass due to the fact that it’s nine minutes long and pretty consistently tense throughout. It might be “slow” at times, but it always gives me the impression that something big is happening. Again, that’s not something I experience too often…

Somehow I feel a bit strange awarding this album such a high score even though I’d imagine that 95 percent of the human race wouldn’t feel the same about it. Although I guess I’m at a point in my life where I’m not surprised if 95 percent of the human race is profoundly different than me! Despite my pretty glowing recommendation of Trespass, this is not a great place to start with Genesis. If you already own the similar though superior albums Foxtrot, Nursery Cryme, Selling England By the Pound and you’re itching for more, then get Trespass immediately. And try not to feel bad about being an egghead. You should never feel bad for being an egghead. We’re the ones that make the world go round. According to me.

March 3, 2013 - Posted by | Genesis Trespass |

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