9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
A big improvement over the CD releases,
This review is from: And Then There Were Three [Hybrid SACD + DVD] (Audio CD)
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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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 21 Oct 2014 20:02:20 BDT
Timothy Hooper says:
Thank you for a really helpful review. I was truly delighted with the 2007 mix improvement of 'Wind & Wuthering' and I've been wondering if 'And then There Were Three' had benefited too. From your review I'd say yes and I'll buy the new version. Isn't it interesting that these two LPs were both recorded at Relight studios and were both horribly flat and muddy in their original incarnations?
In reply to an earlier post on 3 Dec 2014 00:38:17 GMT
Pd Davies says:
these remixes are all money spinners...I bought 'wind and wuthering' in 1977 and I fell in love with it then...loved the 1992 remasters...hate the remixes...why remix the originals...appreciate the surround sound, not the remixes...1992 remasters.....genesis money making again...
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