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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Genesis

And Then There Were Three

Review by Gary Hill

There are those out there who basically think that any Genesis album once they were a three piece is just plain pop tripe. Well, I have to tell you that I think you are wrong. Did the band wander way too far into pop territory? For my tastes the answer is “yes.” The thing is, though, this disc and the one that followed it (Duke) are both well worth having – and include plenty of classic Genesis material. In fact, this one, although rather understated, is one of my favorite albums from the band.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2007 Volume 1 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Down And Out
Keys start this in ambient, almost dark and mysterious ways that tend to call to mind vintage Genesis. As the guitar begins to rise from this backdrop those classic Genesis tendencies are more prevalent. This is quirky and oh so tasty. I can’t think of a better way to start off the disc. I really like the chorus segment with its great vocals and keyboard layerings a lot. There is a nice keyboard solo dominated instrumental break on the track, too. This one is a definite winner.
Undertow
This cut essentially alternates from a beautiful balladic portion and a more energized one. It feels a lot like it could have fit on the Wind and Wuthering album and is truly one of the highlights on an album that I enjoy a lot. The extended verse segment is purely awe-inspiring in terms of its evocative textures. If you have a friend who is a fan of older Genesis who says that this disc is worthless, play this one for him by itself and see if he can argue his way out of that corner.
Ballad of Big
Lyrically this one seems a bit silly. Musically, though, it starts off nicely with a keyboard dominated introduction, then shifts out into a bouncing Genesis rocker. It’s more consistently fast paced than the tracks that preceded it. Frankly, this one has its moments, but is probably the weakest cut on show here.
Snowbound
This is another of my favorites on the disc. While it’s basically a gentle ballad sort of number, the textures and overlayers on this on are purely beautiful. I see the charm of this one to be similar to the treasures found in “The Carpet Crawlers.”
Burning Rope
Here we get another great Genesis song. This is less ballad-like than a lot of the album and feels a bit like something that could have come from an earlier period in the band’s history. At over seven minutes it’s the longest cut on the album. It’s also the most dynamic, packing in a number of varying segments in its length. This is definitely another that should be played for And Then There Were Three naysayers. Shades of many periods of the group’s catalog can be heard here.
Deep In The Motherlode
This one is not a real standout cut, but it’s still a solid Genesis rocker that works pretty well. The more textural segment on this one is a step up towards greatness, as are some of the guitar melodies.
Many Too Many
“Many Too Many” is a wonderfully pretty ballad. It starts off with piano and builds on this general musical sound for the basis of the track. Other sounds join in the mix as it carries forward, but they pull it off without ever losing the evocative textures that started it off. Genesis always had a way of creating exceptionally emotional pieces of music, and this is a great example of that skill. It’s also one of my favorites on the disc.
Scenes From A Night's Dream
While the lyrics to this one also have a bit of silliness to them; it’s all in good fun and works better than “Ballad of Big.” Musically this one has some great moments and features a fast paced, rather poppy prog rock texture.
Say It's Alright Joe
Another song that feels rather melancholy, this one has a sultry jazz sort of texture to it. It’s also another highlight of a disc that has no shortage of strong material. They do work in a faster paced, harder rocking segment that works quite well.
The Lady Lies
This one has a sultry groove to it and a fantasy theme to the lyrics. It’s another that isn’t really a standout, but works reasonably well. The chorus segment is particularly intriguing, too.
Follow You, Follow Me
A definite hit for the band, this cut has been raked over the coals by a lot of people, but frankly, I think it’s a great number.
 
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