Peter Gabriel had left a few years earlier and the fan base had become used to drummer Phil Collins as frontman. No doubt Gabriel was still sorely missed by some, but the new arrangement seemed to be working. After all, "A Trick of the Tail" and "Wind and Wuthering" had both been decent records and the release of "Seconds Out" meant that there was available testimony that the band were still a solid live act, even if the dramatics of Gabriel were now absent. But honestly, could the band seriously continue after the departure of fine guitarist Steve Hackett. Surely not.....
Wrong! "...And Then There Were Three..." is a fantastic record that arguably was never beaten by the 3-man version of Genesis. The flaunted progressive rock traits that had made the band so successful were dying away here, although the roots are still evident. Sure, there are no extensive structures or virtuoso solos, but that orchestral backdrop, those contrasting section, and virtuosity of the group as a whole can still be heard throughout the record (as it can in most, with the possible exception of `Invisible Touch'). In any case, it was probably a wise decision to drop any strong leanings towards progressive rock at this point, as people had grown rather tired of it. Some fans, therefore, would probably accuse them of selling out from this point onwards. Well, lets just say that from this point onwards, they certainly sold!
The album opens with the familiar dramaticism of previous Genesis. High resonating keyboard notes and chords are first heard, creating an image of lights in the distance, before the guitar riff begins towards the back of the mix moving forward, as if this light is coming towards you. Suddenly, there is an explosion, and Collins rolls around the drum kit at what sounds like a death-defying rate around before the band masterfully handle the track's slightly awkward 9/10/11 beat riff. The song is aggressive and impressive. `Undertow' then offers a contrast as something of a ballad with an admirably solid yet fascinating melody. `Ballad of Big' offers two contrasting sections that the song seems to write itself around. The sudden shifts from the rhythm of one section to the other is something Genesis were more than used and, therefore, deliver flawlessly, offering and element of surprise whilst maintaining a seamless performance.
Highlights include the track `Snowbound' with its powerful melody and vocal performance, and its reflecting verse and intense chorus, and the sudden chromatic figure that seems to appear from nowhere in `Scenes From A Night's Dream'. Once again, melodic mastery cannot be denied in `Say its alright Joe', and of course, there is the closing track, the brilliant `Follow You Follow Me', surely one of the greatest `love songs' ever conceived. The melody is strong, the chorus is alluring, and the sound is captivating. This song was a hit single at a time when many of these production techniques, sounds, and keyboard solos were not all that familiar to a singles buying audience. The whole mix slides up and down, and the mellotron shadows the vocal, finally creating a chorus that overpowers the vocalist as the album fades to a perfect finish.
There is something hugely addictive about this album, something in its sound. It was a signal that Genesis were moving away from their progressive rock roots and beginning to exclusively favour the 3-minute pop format. As mentioned above, this was not necessarily a bad thing, and certainly this record does not suffer from this new direction.