Review Summary: ...And Then There Was Pop.5 of 5 thought this review was well written
Following the respective departures of Peter Gabriel and Steve Hackett in ’75 and ’77, Genesis entered into what was to be their longest and most successful period as a trio. Tony Banks, Phil Collins and Mike Rutherford signified this second rearrangement with ...And Then There Were Three...
, which served as the transition from Wind & Wuthering
’s fading progressive wanderings to the pop-infested Duke
. Essentially, this means that the band’s final 70’s recording still seems a little unsure about accepting the popular breakthrough that beckoned. It’s an unsteady merger of Genesis’ artistic and commercial sides, one that ultimately allowed the fan-hated pop to sneak in.
Divided as it is, there are plenty of parts to the album that manage to appease the progressive crowd, even if the average song length is shortened. Collins is coming into his own as a vocalist at this point, seeming more confident and having a far larger presence than before, although the sound still relies heavily on Banks’ keyboards. Rutherford took over as lead guitarist when Hackett’s position wasn’t filled, keeping his bass duties the same way Collins kept his drumming. Obviously, tour musicians were added, but the remaining Genesis core continued to be fully responsible for their output.
During the record’s strongest moments, the pop/prog mix works out well. Burning Rope
balances the two nicely, revealing some classic Genesis passages among catchy melodies. The band’s characteristic storytelling is still upheld with The Lady Lies
, though the narrative is much more straightforward. Accessibility does persist even within the prog-oriented material, and the muddy production doesn’t do much to add some punch to the songs. The positively chaotic rhythm of Down and Out
makes it a misleading opener, which ever so slightly recalls the more intense sections of The Lamb
; references to the past are generally a good thing here.
When the band truly ventures into pop territory, the results are uneven. The oddly placed Follow You Follow Me
is the unavoidable hit, catchy and cleverly written, but lacking in substance. For those who believe the group ever sold their soul for success, this is a particularly great track to blame. Ballad of Big
is their first attempt at a simple rocker, which really fails to make an impression, and the equally unremarkable Many Too Many
finds itself a throwaway among too many (no pun intended) other ballads. Despite the overall inconsistency, there are gems to be found, particularly the Afterglow
and the quiet Snowbound
. Genesis clearly went downhill after the losses of two crucial members, but ...And Then There Were Three...
is just interesting enough to look into.
Genesis Mark V:
Tony Banks – Keyboards
Phil Collins – Vocals, Drums
Mike Rutherford – Guitar, Bass
Down and Out
The Lady Lies