Review Summary: 'Face Value is better than this record' - neck.
1976 saw Genesis’ first release without Peter Gabriel, who left to pursue other musical pathways. Without Gabriel’s fluttery voice that signified 70’s Genesis, it was obvious that there were going to be some important changes. What most people didn’t expect, was that they would come out with an amazing – albeit it their last of such calibre- release, with Phil Collins at the reigns. Continuing as merely a four-piece, the band released an album that hit everyone over the head with a saucepan – as they were taken by immediate surprise at the completeness of the record. Although perhaps not as good as SEBTP (but then again, what is) A Trick of the Tail
saw Genesis’ last release before Collins lead them on the road to musical incineration.
Phil Collins, although not as an accomplished singer as his predecessor, performs quite well on this record, showing the world his vocal talent, one that was later identified even more so with his hit single ‘In the Air Tonight.’ Tracks like ‘Entangled,’ where the first half of the song is merely an acoustic piece, contains some very respectable singing by Collins, where he is accompanied by airy backing vocals – also done by himself (and sometimes Banks). The lyrics, again, not meeting the extremely high standard left behind by Gabriel, are still quite competent and make certain songs an interesting listen. ‘Squonk,’ for example, features very nice stanzas that overall boost the song from good to great.
He's a sly one, he's a shy one
Wouldn't you be too.
Scared to be left all on his own.
Hasn't a, hasn't a friend to play with, the Ugly Duckling
The pressure on, the bubble will burst before our eyes.
All the while in perfect time
His tears are falling on the ground
BUT IF YOU DON'T STAND UP YOU DON'T STAND A CHANCE.
Steve Hackett is still one of the world’s best guitarists on this record, although his solos are a slightly less prominent feature. However ‘Robbery, Assault and Battery,’ contains one of his signature guitar phrases. More commonly adopted are fairly simple progressions or riffs, frequently being spiced up by Hackett and his influential guitar-playing. With the exception of the title track, each song clocks in at over 5 minutes, making this record a fairly long listen. However, with all that is going on, like in their previous albums, Genesis manage to captivate the listeners attention, taking them on a wild roller-coaster ride seaming at the brim with ups. Every single instrument gets highlighted at some point in this record. The musicianship and talent displayed on ‘A Trick of the Tail,’ is on par with their earlier work, which featured some of the greatest instrumental work by any band of their era. Phil Collins, once again proves himself to be an amazing drummer, regularly adding in percussion fills of a high standard. Along with writing nearly every song within this record, Tony Banks once again splays the keys with his unmatchable capacity to play, adding a substance to this deep release. The production on this album is also very pleasing, as the bass is turned up high and Mike Rutherfords skill on bass is given a very fair go.
Although the loss of Peter Gabriel was a big blow for Genesis, they managed to release an excellent album before their steady decline into nothingness. ‘A Trick of the Tail,’ will go down in memory as one of Genesis’ paramount efforts, nearly up there with the likes of SEBTP and TLDDOB.
This album is an essential listen to fans of Genesis and progressive rock alike.