Genesis - A Trick of the Tail
(Charisma, February 20th 1976)
A Trick of the Tail were the first album Genesis released after the departure of vocalist and lyricist Peter Gabriel in 1975. While the band didn't quite know how to continue when Gabriel quit, they went in to London's Trident Studio in autumn of 1975. Keyboardist Peter Banks wasn't a stranger to the thought of continuing as a instrumental band. With that in mind the band recorded the bulk of the album without lyrics. Drummer Phil Collins had been singing backup on the bands earlier releases and he recorded a vocal-take for the song "Squonk" which ended up in him becoming the vocalist, something he was reluctant to. That decission however were taken after the band had auditioned some 400 singers.
The resulting album is one of my favourite by Genesis. I am not deeply familiar with all their material so this may change in the future. While the lyrics tend to get a bit to "out there" for me the melodies are great. Especially the tracks "Squonk", "Ripples" and "A Trick of the Tail" stand out for me. Collins' vocals are great throughout the album, a great double-track effect makes it even better on some tracks. Some reviewers even said that Collins sang more like Gabriel than Gabriel did.
The instrumental album closer "Los Endos" is also really great, and may be telling us some of the direction the band may have taken had they chosen the instrumental path. Though this track is very good I for one are very happy that they didn't take that path.
A Trick of the Tail are a great album, perhaps the best of the middle-era Genesis. Maybe not prog enough for the progenthuiasts but more than progressive enough for the rest of us.