Foxtrot (1972)


 
1.Watcher of the Skies 2.Time Table 3.Get 'Em Out by Friday 4.Can-Utility and the Coastliners 5.Horizons 6.Supper's Ready

 

This was the first Genesis album that sounded like everyone had a firm grip on want they wanted and, more importantly, how to accomplish it. A new producer is at the helm (John Burns, who replaces John Anthony), so maybe that had something to do with it. This is also the first Genesis album that featured the same members as they had on their last record, so maybe that had something to do with it. Style wise, it’s very similar to last year’s Nursery Cryme, but the overall production, playing, and professionalism seems to radiate much stronger.

Consider the opening track Watcher of the Skies. Man, is this thing powerful. It starts off with a heavy Tony Banks mellotron series of chords that sound powerful, frightening, and slightly overwhelming at the same time. By the time the rest of the guys kick in, including Gabriel’s confident, powerful vocal, you definitely get the impression that the band has finally arrived and has much more confidence. Not surprisingly, they opened their shows with this track for the next few years. Lyrically, it’s about aliens or something, but one shouldn’t be too concerned with lyrics when discussing early Genesis.

What was common, yet maybe somewhat ironic, about early Genesis is that their longer pieces seemed to resonate better than the tunes that only lasted a few minutes. The “short” pieces here are a bit forgettable. Time Table, Can-Utility and the Coastliners and Horizons are all pretty much inconsequential and have been forgotten by most. Horizons actually is a sweet acoustic guitar solo piece, but at 100 seconds, it’s really too short to bear any lasting fruit.

The next “lengthy” piece after Watcher of the Skies is Get ‘Em Out By Friday. This is a bit of a weird piece that initially doesn’t seem too appealing, but somehow, it works. First, musically, it sounds too much like The Return of the Giant Hogweed from their last album, and I never cared much for that song. Second, lyrically, it’s kind of silly. O.K., all early Genesis lyrics are kind of silly, but this lyric actually makes sense and it sounds pretty stupid. They’re telling a narrative about a greedy landlord evicting tenants. Still, I find myself enjoying the tune in more places than not. Perhaps, as I’ve stated, it’s because the production sounds so much more professional?

Then we come to Supper’s Ready. Ah, Supper’s Ready. What Genesis fan does not know this song? Many would argue it’s their best ever. It definitely is their longest. We should never confuse “longest” with “best”. When talking about prog-rock bands, some disciples tend to meddle the two. Most would argue, though, that Supper’s Ready definitely deserves all of the praise that the diehards lap onto it. This sounds like one of those pieces that was originally three or four songs, and someone decided to mix them all together and make one killer (long) track. It works quite well. It’s starts off slow and easy with Gabriel softly crooning over a couple of acoustic guitars and then morphs into many different things. Lyrically, the song seems to be about the Biblical Book of Revelation. At least the last half. Now, I’ve already said that it’s a bit pointless to discuss lyrics with early Genesis, but in this case, the music really does the lyrics justice. This thing would make a great part of some majestic musical somewhere. It’s a bit of a shame that this song would get shaved from latter period concerts due to its massive length.

It would still be several years, several albums, and a few more lineup changes before the masses would take notice, but the band would only get better from this point on.

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