Genesis: …And Then There Were Three…
Format: Originally on CD
Purchased: Minnow Lake Hock Shop circa 1999/2000
Key Tracks: Down and Out, Follow You Follow Me, Snowbound, Ballad of Big, Deep in the Motherlode
I dig an album whose art work somehow reflects something deeper about the work in question. Certain albums by certain bands just…do that for me; and the effect of this on my listening experience always results in a greater feeling of intimacy with the music.
Such an album to me is this little Genesis gem, released between the period when Genesis were a firmly arty progressive rock unit and an enormously popular progressive pop trio. The cover’s mysterious figures, shaded in brownskycloud highway streaks is suggestively matched to the music on the disc. Not quite there…distant, muddled and a little hazy and yet, disarmingly so. As such, on a musical level it can be a little awkward and grandiose at moments…almost a flawed big-ginning (pardon the pun if you will, and if you won’t… to quote Archie Bunker “Wuddeveh).
Damned thing is, I’m hard pressed to find an awkward moment that isn’t nonetheless charming. Who the hell writes a song about a snow man of all things?! Or Captain Nemo? Or Big Jim? It all comes together in this very much attached to its production era recording. Synth flourishes color the crazy quilt knit drumming (Phil Collins is something else entirely…check out “Down and Out” for what is perhaps the most puzzling time signature ever to rock) and the awkward yet incredibly evocative guitar work lends a sense of solitude to the proceedings. The whole thing sounds like a kid’s lonely winter’s day.
Bought this on CD back in the day along with their first proper album, Tresspass. The two sound like the work of two different bands. Each, in its own way, charmed the hell out of me. While you always needed to take Genesis’ chops seriously, there was always something cunningly absurd about their music. On none of their other work is this absurdity mined more weiner-ishly than on this one and that’s precisely what sells me on it.