Trespass was the beginning of Genesis' wild wacky journey into progressive rock. Many Genesis fans ignore the fact that they had an album before this. From Genesis to Revelation
was their debut, and was a pop album, and to 70s Genesis fans, that means crap. But that wasn't Genesis' last venture into pop. After two key members of Genesis (Peter Gabriel, to name one) in the mid seventies, drummer/occasional vocalist Phil Collins took over. And Genesis once again became what their fans disliked so much. So, with a fresh line-up and probably some uncertainty, Genesis made their first prog rock album.
Trespass is a much calmer album than later Genesis works. One of the reasons could be because Steve Hackett had not joined Genesis yet, a tremendous guitarist, whose sound added a lot to Genesis' stuff. He joined on the album's successor Nursery Cryme
where Genesis had established a classic line-up. Like many Genesis albums, Trespass is very keyboard driven, probably one of the first prog bands to be so keyboard oriented. Sometimes the keyboards make the music a bit boring, sometimes it gives the music a breath of life. Either way, it's almost always the 'lead' instrument on Trespass. Tony Banks' organ, piano and Mellotron playing is definitely at the top of Genesis' arsenal on this album. Visions of Angels is a perfect example, everything else is outshined in this very angelic, orchestral song. John Mayhew's drumming is also very notable on Trespass, accompanying Banks on his ascending organ runs. Ironically though, Banks doesn't make very complicated keyboard arrangements, adding further to the fact that Genesis were not fully established as a progressive band.
As mentioned before, this LP doesn't deliver too much guitar-wise. White Mountain is lead by an acoustic guitar, until drowned out by the organ. It returns in the little interludes, and then fades into the background while Banks and the exceptional rhythm section work. Ironically, Anthony Phillips who played lead guitar on this album left Genesis because of stage fright. Even so, White Mountain is a very good and catchy song. Dusk, one of the most soothing songs I've ever heard, has the best showcase of acoustic guitar on Trespass, and beautiful backing voices singing with Peter Gabriel. Gabriel's vocals are probably my least favourite thing about the album, they sound very shaky and uneasy. While I think he's always had that type of characteristic in the Genesis 70s era, here it's more noticeable and bothersome. His storytelling, of course, is always top-notch, usually a medieval-based tale, which fits perfectly to the music.
Then there's The Knife. While it's probably sort of unfitting for this album, it's such a good song that it doesn't seem to matter. This song shows the best group work on the album, Phillips' guitar truly shining, the only Trespass song with his electric guitar. With a dark edge, Mayhew's frantic drumming and Banks' lively organ find a comfortable place in this Genesis classic (the only well-known song from this album.) This song definitely paved the way for future Genesis. Trespass isn't that well-known, or praised as much as later Genesis works like Foxtrot
, The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway
or Selling England by the Pound
, but is still definitely worth a listen for any Genesis fan. It didn't sell too well either when it came out, Genesis fans claim it was ahead of its time (1970 wasn't a big year in prog.) Perhaps not for Progressive fans in general, Trespass doesn't fit as a genre-defining album, but is still very good. And if you want to check some of it out, all I can say is you won't be disappointed by The Knife.
Trespass-----------------> 3.5 stars