Review Summary: Genesis continue to grow.
After Nursery Cryme
, Genesis were reaching a creative peak and had many directions to go in. They had secured a loyal cult following that was only getting bigger, and with the growing art-rock movement being led by bands like King Crimson, Yes, and Jethro Tull, Genesis took their music to even wilder and more complex heights than before with Foxtrot
Keeping up with tradition, Genesis did nothing but improve their sound with this album. They kept up with expanding on the ideas introduced on Nursery Cryme
(which were somewhat introduced on Trespass
) and took everything to a new extreme - Gabriel's lyrics show a sense of humor that would later become very apparent in his solo career, and his vocals are once again over-the-top and British and all that it was before, yet this time he has become a better singer. Steve Hackett, still a newcomer to the band, makes his presence very much known - "Watcher of the Skies" and "Get 'Em Out by Friday" and the epic "Supper's Ready" all show his virtuosity and skill, with Mike Rutherford playing great basslines to go along. Collins once again proves his worth as a great drummer. Yet the key to the music is still the keyboards of Tony Banks - nearly every track is driven by his masterful playing (except "Horizons," which is an acoustic Steve Hackett solo piece) and whatever Banks plays often serves as the lead of the band, with the other members seemingly basing their playing around him.
While "Watcher of the Skies" and "Get 'Em Out by Friday," as well as "Can-Utility and the Coastliners," are great songs, the real show-stealer is the band's first true epic, "Supper's Ready." The song is 23 minutes long and is a smorgasbord of everything that was great about this era of Genesis. Gabriel's vocal range is amazing - not only can he hit a variety of notes, he can sing with power and energy, or with a dulcet tone, and he changes his voice at the drop of a dime. The track remains vocal and keyboard-driven for much of its runtime, yet it showcases the rest of the band very well because of its many sections. Also in 1972, bands like Yes and Jethro Tull were also writing long and lengthy "compositions" divided into many pieces and sections that each of which of could stand as separate songs, and Genesis were no different. The flow of "Supper's Ready" is unbelievably smooth, and it employs many different styles and sounds across its runtime. The classical and seemingly medieval influence that many of the band's songs had is even more apparent on this track, especially in Hackett's guitar-playing. The song is also incredibly over-the-top, and often both the music and lyrics become silly, yet always enjoyable. "Supper's Ready" stands as a true testament to how unique and creative Genesis were during the early 70's.
is easily the first classic Genesis album. There isn't much filler, it features many of their best and most memorable songs, as well as improved musicianship, lyrics, vocals, and overall sound, and it's unique, creative, silly, and all that a prog rock fan could ask for. It uses pomp and silliness to its advantage. While "Time Table" is a bit of a bore, the rest of the album is exciting and fun prog rock with complexity and pomp taken to then unheard-of levels. This is a must-have album, yet the best of Genesis was yet to come.