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4.3 out of 5 stars
And Then There Were Three
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on 29 September 2008
The title refers to the departure of Steve Hackett, and The album generally divides Genesis fans who cannot agree on where the band's journey to popdom begins. I find myself agreeing with Patrick Bateman (the American Psycho), who believed that "Duke" was the real turning point. Obviously, being a psycho he preferred the later stuff. However, it is true that the dickensian whimsy is no more, Mike Rutherford now has to play lead guitar along with bass (he does a passable job), and Tony Banks keyboard sounds seem more suitable for Dr Who incidental music than rock. He also chooses to part company with his Mellotron after this album, although thankfully it does receive a good send-off here and is used extensively.

All of these new Genesis SACD remasters suffer from I-Pod friendly compression, but "then there were three" appears to gotten off reasonably lightly compared to some of the others. In general, it has a much more expansive soundstage, beautiful clarity, and smoother, deeper bass than the definitive edition remaster. I always loved the original gatefold sleeve (even though Storm Thorgerson of hipgnosis who designed it didn't), and would have liked to have a seen a digipack reproduction of it as part of the package too. Never mind.

The album starts off with the suprisingly strident "Down and Out", and Immediately extra detail over the original CD can be heard in the buzzsaw distortion of the guitar, the thumping bass pedals, and Collins' high-hat cutting crisply through the top end. It's a very promising begining.

The drums on "Undertow" sound terrific and are an improvement over the previous CD release again, although I would prefer them higher in the mix. Mike's Bass has a pleasant percussive snap to it I never noticed before, and I'm hearing yet again (as I did on "Trick" and "Wind") a peculiar dull thumping accompanying Banks' piano. I believe this could be the sustain pedals, in which case that's pretty amazing, It was not apparent on the non SACD discs.

"Ballad of Big" is one of my favourite tracks and an entertaining story about a phantom cowboy. Collins' vocal performance is top notch here, as it is consistently on this album actually. I presume he must have gained some confidence on the preceeding tours. "Deep in the Motherlode" is another proggy cowboy offering (was this to be the beginings of some sort of concept?).

I usually make some notes while listening to review, but by the time I got to "Snowbound" I was enjoying myself too much to write anything down. Another great track, even if the lyrics about a snowman are a little saccharine. The guitars sound great, and there are more bass pedals which I had not noticed before hearing the SACD version.

"Burning Rope" is one of the tracks that makes it vital for Prog fans to check this album out before dismissing it out of hand. Mike Rutherford puts in his best lead guitar performance here, and although it's perfectly acceptable, there is no doubt Hackett would take it to another level. Incidentally, there is a very pleasant little interlude played on tremoloed Glockenspiel which I always listen out for, it's funny how sometimes just a couple of seconds can be a highlight of a song.

The weakest track on the album is "Many too Many". It's the worst sort of pappy love song we know the new Genesis popsters are destined to be associated with. Plus, Collins sings "Mama" in it...Ouch. I would have guessed Phil wrote this one, but it turns out Banks is the culprit. Still, he makes amends later on.

"Scenes from a night's dream" is a slightly silly song about a boy having nightmares. Whatever, I love it to bits - even the lyrics. Another highlight, it also rocks.

I think "Say it's alright Joe" is extremely underrated by fans, it's a wonderful piece, if a little depressing, as it movingly describes a drunk drowning his sorrows.

"The lady lies" is Banks' masterpiece. It's similarly fast paced to "scenes..." and also shares a more whimsical theme; a hero tricked by a demon. The quality of playing on this track is out of this world; the boys are scorching. The fadeout jam is one of my favourites of all time. More please.

The album closes with the guys' first big hit; "Follow you, follow me". it's a pleasant enough tune, but I don't find myself choosing to listen to it that much nowadays. Banks' keyboard solo is brilliant though, even if it does remind me of Cybermen.

In conclusion: yes, the SACDs suffer from compression, but the benefits in other areas far out weigh the disadvantages. Also, to the hardened Prog fans; listen to this before you dismiss it, you are losing out; the rot set in on "Duke".
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33 of 37 people found the following review helpful
on 27 June 2008
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.
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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful
on 8 April 2007
As with 'Wind', I have afforded this new stereo mix (I have not heard the surround mix) 5 stars, not because it is perfect, but because it is nevertheless so much improved over the poorly mixed original.

The vocals are bright and clear, having been stripped of the original cheap muddy reverbs and delays (echoes).

The guitars and keyboards are nicely balanced also, with Rutherford's guitar given a little more prominence than before.

But for me the biggest gain is in the sound of the drums, which no longer sound like Collins bashing a load of cardboard boxes. Ok, I exagerate, the sound wasn't quite that bad, but you take my point.

There are a couple of tracks, however, where - inexplicably - the drums (particularly the snare) are mixed far too low. 'Follow You Follow Me' is a case in point, and my favourite track of the album 'The Lady Lies' also lacks some drumming dynamics.

As with all of the five re-releases, the overall mix suffers with some harsh brick-wall compression flattening the dynamics and stopping the music 'breathing'. But when set against the improvements in clarity over the original (which was never that dynamic in the first place) this is tolerable. Who knows - maybe in another 10-20 years time these historic albums will be re-mixed/re-mastered once again and treated to a more subtle and sympathetic compression.

The DVD contains some nice extras. As with all the re-releases in the series, it houses a roughly 15-minute section of the band interview, in which all members - particularly Banks - speak eloquently, fondly, and critically of the album and the period.

A rather quaint 50-minute BBC documentary from 1978 documents pop combo Genesis on tour! Some of the naive narration from the BBC reporter is hilarious: 'You may have never heard of them, but you can bet your children have' - this of a band that had already been around for about a decade! Tremendous fun.

Buy this, be awed by the new clarity, and stick your original in the loft.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
The title of this 1978 album refers to the departure of guitarist Steve Hackett from Genesis the year prior to its release; Hackett was not replaced, and the remaining members decided to continue as a three-piece: Collins, Banks & Rutherford.

ATTWT is an OK album with some good `stadium rock' numbers, but lacks the subtlety and complexity of earlier Genesis music. Prog had gone out of fashion in the New Wave punk-rock era, and the band started to re-invent themselves. Nothing wrong with that, you may say; but the result is not prog and not exactly pop but a between-two-stools product pointing the way to a more mainstream verse-chorus music designed to attract a new audience. `Follow you follow me' was the band's first commercially successful pop single which delivered a new generation of fans who neither listened to nor cared about the earlier Genesis prog-rock legacy.

`Three' is what it is: a good album in its own terms with some fine songs and great hooks, but no more. If you like Genesis music post-`Duke' & `Abacab' then you'll probably like it. If however you're a diehard fan of the long musical pieces typical of Gabriel-era Genesis with complex time-signature changes and quirky English-eccentric storytelling, well, in that case you may not warm to it so much.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 30 June 2014
For any band that has had more then one lead vocalist, there will always be a debate over which lead they prefer. Some will say Peter Gabriel, and some who will go for Phil Collins. With this 1978 album, And Then There Were Three, not only does it provide an excellent to Collins-led Genesis, it also provides some proof that this kind of Genesis still had an element of prog-rock amongst some of its latter, and more commercial rock, offerings (We Can't Dance, Invisible Touch).
From 'Down and Out' to its popular single Follow You Follow Me, the albums feels more of a journey from one track to another, rather then just a bunch of songs crammed into an album. Fans of some of their music from the 1980s and 1990s may have to forgive some of the dated music production, which reflect this era of rock music, particular those that rely on the synthesisers, such as 'Ballad of Big'. But most of the tracks have such epic production values that this might not be a major issue.
And Then There Were Three is an excellent album in the Genesis back catalogue; but with the whole Gabriel-Collins debate, it may not be the only gem from them from the 1970s.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 6 November 2008
Great to hear this after such a long time, used to have it on vinyl, and thought it was about time to get this on cd.
At the time the question was could Genesis survive with the departure of Steve Hacket, and remain as a 3 piece. Well the answer was a resounding yes, ok from here on in their sound changed and the new genesis began as we know them, but Im a big Phill Collins fan so I dont really care.Dont get me wrong I like Pete Gabriels Genesis, but I prefer 75 onwards.
This still sound brill now, from the starter, "Down and out!,to ",Deep in the motherlode",Scenes from a night dream", to some of the slower tracks "Many to Many" and of course "Follow you follow me, it just flows as an album, it is definately one of my favourite Genesis records.
Brought back a lot of good memory`s. Go Buy.
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on 12 November 2013
The first post Hackett release from Banks, Collins & Rutherford has always found a place in my heart, but I have never been able to explain exactly why.
A move to shorter songs & away from the traditional prog material of the past this album in a way carries on the dark themes expressed in Wind & Wuthering. The change to 5 mins a piece from 8-10 means that the music has less time to develop & in parts this gives ATTWT a somewhat hurried feel. It's as though the guys are still trying to write longer songs but have less time in which to play them.
The absence of Steve Hackett means Mike Rutherford has to take on guitar duties as well as bass & his (albeit hardly colossal) shortcomings as an 'axeman' do show up from time to time.
There are a couple of (imo) less than adequate tracks on here. Ballad of Big gives us a first indication of Phil's love of the wild west, & it ain't so rootin'/tootin'. Scenes From a Nights Dream is frankly just plain awful & is a 'skip' track every time. But having dealt with the not so good there are some cracking songs on here; Down & Out really gets going after a deeply melodic intro & is one of the heaviest things they ever did. Undertow is a heart wrenching ballad of love & loss, in the style of Afterglow & should go down as one of Tony's best ever songs. Snowbound should be a stinker but turns out to be a lovely song of innocence & desire in a winter setting. Deep in the Motherlode is Mike's turn to play cowboy as a young prospector heads west to seek his fortune in the gold fields of 19th century California, a rollocking good tune it is to. Many too Many is a Tony Banks ballad that has a nice piano phrase but Phil clearly isn't comfortable with the lyric, while Say it's Alright Joe will go down as one of Mike's best ever songs, as a bar fly sits & examines his life with just Joe the barman for company. The Lady Lies is a return to fantasy (an updated Fountain of Salmacis if you like) & although not lyrically too adept it's pace & humour make it acceptable. Everyone will know Follow You Follow Me as their first real hit single, a jaunty enough ditty that skips along with a catchy chorus & shows us that they can do pop.

So all in all not their best, but far from their worst, although it does appear that even the band themselves now acknowledge that writing good short songs was not their forte in 1978. Two fewer tracks & extending some of the rest would have made for a better end product, but then hindsight has always been a wonderful thing.
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19 of 23 people found the following review helpful
on 11 August 2002
And then there were three is Genesis' most underrated albums of their career. This album is a break-away from the old Genesis sound into a new tighter,more structured feel that results in shorter songs. However,the music is a refreshing change with some superb tracks. Perhaps the best song on the album is 'Undertow', which to me is an outstanding track with a totally
absorbing chorus; closely followed are Burning Rope, Deep in the Motherlode, Many to Many and Snowbound. The rest of the album is a collection of great songs. For me the weakest is 'Scenes from a nights dream', although I consider it the weakest it is still a colourful and catchy tune but does not shine like the others.
Anyone considering buying this album should. Anyone who is familar with the new Genesis should invest in this album as a link to the old, progressive rock Genesis which still remains their best work to date. The loss of Peter Gabriel and Steve Hackett is apparent, but this is an album that I can listen to on a Sunday afternoon and drift away into a nostalgic, tranquil state of indulgence in a truely fabulous album.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 3 March 2009
After the departure of Steve Hackett, Genesis startet their trip in to pop boredom. However, on this album (and the next "Duke"), things were working out well for the group. This is a more prog-pop than prog-rock, but threre are also tracks that can satisfy hardcore prog fans, like f.ex. "Deep In The Motherlode". The girls get their share with nice ballads like "Undertow" and "Snowbound". The latter with a fantastic arrangement, thanks to Bank's keyboard and also nice guitar from "new" guitarist Mike Rutherford.

The new remaster/remix is a mixed bag. The compression is flattening the dynamics a bit, but that's a bigger problem on "Trick of..." and "Wind and Wuthering". As many reviewers are mentioning, the high pitch, especially on the vocals, can be too bright, but remember the 1994 definitive remaster was far from perfect. The music is nicely balanced and clear. I prefer this remix, but it's pretty close!
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on 29 November 2013
I'm 29 now but have loved this album since I was about 10, naughtily going through my old mans record collection. I've never really got on with Gabriel era Genesis, for me I can't get to grips with the style. Not that it's bad, I just don't particularly enjoy the experience of listening to it.
Anyway, the drumming on this album, is the best I've heard from Phil Collins. Combined with the more stripped back sound having shed another member, it has the perfect sound in my opinion. The storytelling is great, with Snowbound, The Lady Lies, and The Ballad Of Big being my lyrical highlights. I think this is the perfect entry level Genesis album, as it still has some of the abstract content, mixed with a more commercial feel to songs like Many Too Many and Follow You Follow Me. Earlier albums may be too artsy, later too poppy to get a true feel of what Genesis were about.
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