GENESIS – A Trick of the Tail (1976)

Review by: Eric Pember
Album assigned by: Ifran Hidayatullah

People tend to assume that Genesis went straight into pop after Peter Gabriel left. That assertion is quite incorrect. In fact, for this album and the next few, most of the songwriting credits still went to Banks and Rutherford.

That would lead to bad results on the next few albums, but worked out well on this one. In fact, one could easily argue that this, not Lamb, was the culmination of Genesis’s steady improvement in quality.

From Genesis To Revelation was pretty great, but they had a pretty tricky time becoming an actual prog band. It could be argued that they only fully managed it on Selling England By The Pound, in fact.

On this album, they do a good job of keeping even the story-based songs like “Squonk” musically interesting in a way that Gabriel-era Genesis often struggled with. The album overall is more low-key than Gabriel-era Genesis, but to its benefit, because it allows them to tighten the songwriting. They were already working on this on Selling England and Lamb Lies, but both of them still suffer from their second halves being fairly aimless. 

“Mad Man Moon” and “Robbery, Assault And Battery” still kinda suffer from the aimlessness, but the rest of the tracks are perfectly composed. In fact, “Los Endos” does what was previously unthinkable for the band and makes a complete instrumental sound sonically interesting.

The only real flaws on the album are the slight aimlessness of those two aforementioned tracks, and the near-complete lack of Steve Hackett on the album (save for some soloing on “Ripples”). However, even Gabriel-era Genesis dramatically underused him, so it’s of no surprise that continues here.

My favourite track on this album is “A Trick of the Tail”, which positioned on the album like it was, almost comes off as a farewell to “Classic Genesis”. By the time they were able to write good songs again, they would already be well within their pop phase. The pop phase, of course, has its own charms, but this is not the place for me to talk about them. 

GÉNESIS – Génesis (1974)

Review by: Dinar Khayrutdinov
Album assigned by: Alejandro Muñoz G

Génesis, whose name should not be confused with the classic British prog-rock group’s, is a 1970s Colombian band who obviously took part of the inspiration from folksy late 60s psychedelia (something in the vein of Traffic or Spooky Tooth) and the other part from Colombian ethnic music (which itself is most probably a cross between Latin American and Native American tunes and rhythms). This 1974 self-titled offering is the band’s sophomore album and it is… an okay-to-good record. Yes, for some reason, this is pretty much the only adequate epithet I can come up with. It’s pleasant, it has nice melodies and professional musicianship, yet it is hardly anything groundbreaking or even in any way unique, apart from the fact that the album is incredibly short (only 24 minutes!) but they managed to cram 8 songs and 1 bluesy instrumental into this short running time. To be perfectly frank, after the first listen I was going to dismiss the album as generic and derivative, however these tunes grew on me on subsequent listens, and I really enjoyed the authentic American atmosphere. The album’s flow is smooth, with more folk-rock in the first half and more atmospheric “Native American” tracks (that flute-driven sound is pretty cool!) in the second half of the album. The only element that is deserving to be deemed ‘bad’ here is definitely the production – unfortunately, the album’s sound is muddy and somewhat muffled to the point that you can hardly hear some of the instruments sometimes. In some weird way this reminded me of early efforts by my favourite Russian band Aquarium who had similar production problems early on in their career, so my guess is that, like Aquarium, Génesis probably just did not have good equipment to record on. The parallels, however, do not end there – Génesis’s brand of folk-rock is at times eerily similar to what the Soviet rockers tried to do, albeit a decade later. One track that sounded especially familiar to my Russian ear was Sueñas, Quieres, Dices – listen to Aquarium’s early stuff and you’ll get what I mean.

Overall – I’m not sure I will ever return to this band, but the experience was enjoyable and rewarding.