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Genesis - ...And Then There Were Three... CD (album) cover

...AND THEN THERE WERE THREE...

Genesis

 

Symphonic Prog

3.43 | 1333 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

ThulŽatan
Prog Reviewer
5 stars Despite wondering how wonderful this could have sounded with Hackett still around to soften its edges and further advance the searing guitars that leak in and out of the tracks, '...And Then There Were Three...' still stands as a superb album. The three piece most certainly moved onward to new ground here - while still retaining the sense that they were offering a complete package, for the first time in their 70s material Genesis were out to empower their shorter pieces more than anything else, so this is very much an album of separates, with little thematic continuity from track to track. But this is by no means a hindrance to the record, and there are some intriguing moments captured here that can't be found anywhere else in the band's history.

The music almost feels like a natural progression from the heavy synth and drum-led prog of 'Wind And Wuthering', now refined into smaller bursts of energy. The opener 'Down And Out' firmly states this, moving from its tense, fragile synth (very much an introduction for the album and not just the track) into a veritable overdrive of marching drums and guitar, rolling in and out of step, laden with Banks' favourite key sounds of the time. If you're playing the record at the proper volume, you'd have to seriously be looking the other way to miss the power here, as Phil launches into a rendering of some ruthless executive imparting his 'wisdom' to players in danger of being ousted by the times - applicable of course to the music business as much as anything else.

This is followed up by the beautiful 'Undertow', a Tony Banks piece featuring both his thoughtful lyrics as well as the trademark washes of piano and synth. It's worth mentioning the credit that must go to the band and David Hentschel for managing to mix so many dense sounds together equally without completely burying the drums and the vocals, particularly in the chorus strains of this piece about surviving through 'dark nights of the soul', where Phil's aching vocal fights a wall of sound from Banks. This effect is mirrored in the Rutherford piece 'Snowbound', a fairytale-like piece in which hides a glimpse of something sinister and quite sad, where in the ending the distant calls for the snowman ring out against a backdrop of soaring, thick, undulating synth waves that Tangerine Dream would have been proud of (let it be a commentary on the quality of this album that even though my favourite Genesis era is the earlier era, and my favourite albums are Trick and The Lamb, 'Snowbound' is still among my favourite tracks).

The priceless offerings continue with tracks like the towering 'Burning Rope', 'Deep In The Motherlode', 'Many Too Many', and 'Say It's Alright Joe', all offering more excitement, dynamics, and moving lyricism in their short minutes than entire albums by the band would achieve in later times. Rutherford handles all the guitar duties rather well, and even though Hackett's absence is obvious, the usual range of sounds can still be found, from delicate 12-string passages to pronounced soloing (check out the awesome break in 'Burning Rope').

If there are blemishes on the album, they would be the somewhat pointless story of 'Ballad Of Big' (a shame, since the piece is musically very strong), and the pop song 'Follow You Follow Me', where the band create a simplistic summary of their own style and run with one hook melody while Phil sings in a mode nobody ever really wanted to hear Genesis enter... it's not 'More Fool Me', and it's not even 'Your Own Special Way', this is a one dimensional love song. For shame, lads. Four and a half stars - a half star off for closing this majestic album with a turkey.

ThulŽatan | 5/5 |

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