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.
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.
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.
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.
on 11 June 2014
Despite Steve Hackett being one of the finest guitarists around, this album...the 1st without him...is outstanding. The melodies are brilliant and there really isn't a bad song on here. It has a wonderfully dark production sound. Some of the lyrics are questionable in quality, but they are only words after all. For me, this is all about the musicianship, and it's as good as it gets from a keyboard/piano point of view. Get it.
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".
on 16 December 2014
CD was a replacement of a much played record but reflecting back in my opinion STeve Hackett was a much more of a Genesis sound and what made them loss than Gabriel. Commerical success was ever upwards after this but look how popular 'Genesis Revisited' concerts are now with only Hackett involved
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.
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!
on 13 November 2013
Wind and Wuthering was always going to be a hard act to follow and this album, the first post-Hackett offering, has some moments of pure brilliance ('Many Too Many', 'The Lady Lies' and 'Burning Rope', for instance) and some fillers that really should have been dumped (step forward 'Scenes From A Night's Dream'). Overall, this is definitely one to add to your Genesis collection rather than its disappointing successor 'Duke'.