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also by Genesis:
This relatively little-known Genesis album was the last before Steve Hackett left, arguably their last "prog rock" album, and contains a lot of strong material. It holds together better and is more confident than its predecessor "Trick of the Tail".
It opens with "Eleventh Earl of Mar", a classic-Genesis style symphonic track with a powerful intro and a haunting atmospheric interlude in the middle. Banks's keyboards and Hackett's guitar blend very well together here. "One for the Vine", a rather simplistic political/religious fable, tells its story with some pleasing musical moments along the way, but doesn't deserve 10 minutes. Rutherford's sentimental ballad "Your Own Special Way" is not as bad as it's often made out to be. The bare electric piano solo in the middle was a good choice - much more tasteful than a big-haired guitar solo would have been.
Phil Collins's jazzy drumming tendencies at the time are indulged in the little instrumental "Wot Gorilla". It's good fun, even though they dropped Hackett's far superior dynamic rocker "Please Don't Touch" (to be found later on his album of the same name) in favour of it. "All in a Mouse's Night" is a fun rodenty fable but is mostly throwaway music. But then we have "Blood on the Rooftops" - with some beautiful classical guitar from Hackett, mellotron and lovely chord progressions. Although the high point of the album is Hackett's final moment of glory before leaving - the instrumental segue of "Unquiet... In That Quiet Earth". The band mesh together perfectly with some great energetic fusion-tinged playing, with Steve's solo soaring above. After all this, "Afterglow" is a slightly disappointing finish. It seems they wanted to end with a grand anthemic finale but this just comes across as stodgy, with its syrupy lyrics and layers of wordless-voice mush.
November 20, 2003