A Trick of the Tail by Genesis

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A Trick of the Tail by Genesis
A Trick of the Tail by Genesis

Album Released: 1976

A Trick of the Tail ::: Artwork
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Cole Reviews  27th Apr 2017
A Trick of the Tail is actually an improvement on the band's previous album, mainly because it's not filled with a bunch of er, filler. Overall, the album is of very high quality, although this level of post-Gabriel success would prove short-lived.

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1.Dance On A Volcano5:53
4.Mad Man Moon7:35
5.Robbery, Assault And Battery6:15
7.A Trick Of The Tail4:34
8.Los Endos5:46


An eagle visited Peter Gabriel on a hilltop and told him to leave Genesis*, so he did, but the other four members still wanted to keep the party going. So they set out to find a replacement singer, but after holding 400 painstaking auditions, they discovered that the best person for the job had been with them all along. Sure, as a singer Phil Collins didn't have as much personality or talent as Gabriel, but his voice was nonetheless nice to listen to. He was a fitful choice.

* the eagle mentioned here is a reference to the lyrics of Gabriel's first solo single "Solsbury Hill", a song about him leaving Genesis - Editor.

The band were clearly concerned about their fans' reaction to them continuing without Gabriel, so they made A Trick of the Tail sound as much like a classic Genesis album as possible. However, in doing that, they sounded more like Genesis imitators, and less like the ambitious and imaginative band that fans had come to love. Still, they were especially good imitators!

Thankfully, they hadn't forgotten how to write engaging songs - everything on A Trick of a Tail is hooky and memorable. What Genesis skimped on were the arrangements. Whereas Selling England by the Pound and The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway had so many rich textures and wildly imaginative moments that they had me gaping, A Trick of the Tail has much thinner atmospheres, less interesting synthesizer tones, and the extended instrumental interludes contain fewer surprises.

My favorite moment on this album oddly enough is “Entangled”, which sounds like a Simon and Garfunkel classic, except better. I stand by my earlier statement that the arrangements throughout this album aren't nearly as exotic and captivating as they were on Genesis' previous three works, but the jangly guitar texture they create on "Entangled" is undeniably beautiful. Collins might not have had Gabriel's expressive singing voice, but his vocal delivery is so warm and sweet that I can do nothing but love it. The only complaint I have is that even though the song is more than six minutes long, it never changes course. Lengthy songs on Selling England by the Pound would go to the moon and back, but “Entangled” pretty much stays put, preferring merely to wallow around in a gentle texture. Nonetheless, a good song is a good song, and “Entangled” certainly fits that bill.

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by Reviewer: Don Ignacio (blogging at Don Ignacio's Album Reviews)

Genesis' first album without Peter Gabriel was written by the band with little idea as to who would actually sing the new songs. They did hold auditions, but the band eventually agreed that drummer Phil Collins could sing better than any of the guys who had auditioned, so why not?

A fine set of songs, A Trick of the Tail. Banks seems to have had a large hand in the songwriting, collaborating with all the other guys in various combinations. Collins actually only has two writing credits, but his influence in that department would increase in subsequent years.

This really is a musical album, melodic and always interesting. The vocals may be weak compared to Gabriel's, but the music is so good that doesn't really detract at all.

by Reviewer: Adrian Denning