A Trick Of The Tail (1976)

1.Dance on a Volcano 2.Entangled 3.Squonk 4.Mad Man Moon 5.Robbery, Assault & Battery 6.Ripples 7.A Trick of the Tail 8.Los Endos


For many disgruntled fans in 1975, Genesis without Peter Gabriel was like Wings without Paul McCartney. Although the band itself did have their share of doubts, in a sense they were a bit relieved when Peter Gabriel announced his departure. It has been well documented that when Gabriel took the stage in a red dress with a fox head or a bunch of seedless grapes (i.e. slippermen), the rest of the musicians in the group felt somewhat overlooked. Even though Gabriel's stage presence didn't take away from the music itself, we must admit it was a distraction. A new search was underway for a replacement.

They auditioned dozens of singers, but couldn't find what they were looking for. Collins, being the foremost backup singer, would always teach the candidate the melody. At some point, he suggested that he might be up to the task. It was an unusual request, a drummer also being the lead singer, but the consensus was "Why not?". They decided they could use a fill in drummer for live performances while Collins stepped in front of the drum kit. No one could imagine that what would result would be their best record ever.

The band now had an image as being four regular "blokes next door" without a frontman flying around dressed as a flower pot. They proved they could write just as effectively and the overall theme was a bit softer and much less bizarre. The music was so well written, that several tracks didn't even need a lead singer. Entangled, Mad Man Moon and Ripples sound as though they should be put to a classical music arrangment and are all quite beautiful. The first track, Dance on a Volcano sounds the most like "old" Genesis with slithering guitars and images of volcanic fire, it's a great transition piece to the new lineup. Robbery, Assault and Battery oddly, sounds much like the "new" Genesis of the eighties with a slight comic touch to the lyrics. The title track is a great McCartneyesque toe tapper that sounds very pop for the band at the time and its followed by Los Endos, the album closer, which is a magnificently structured instrumental montage of much of the music featured.

If you had to say anything negative about this album, you could argue that some of the pieces seemed to be forced into being too long. We must wonder if the band was trying to be "hip" by not having short radio friendly singles. Altough much of the band's catalog features pieces that cleary should be lengthy, songs such as Ripples and Entangled would have been a little better if several minutes were shaved off the top.

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