Genesis – A Trick of the Tail Track-by-Track Review

Genesis - A Trick of the Tail

Princess Diana’s favourite album. The first without Gabriel and the first to actually sell decently. This greatly outsold all the band’s previous efforts, going to #3 in the UK. However, the content itself sounds just like Gabriel-era Genesis…only without the Gabriel. I don’t know if I prefer Peter or Phil in the lead vocalist spot. What I do know is that the band actually auditioned vocalists to fill Peter’s shoes. One day Phil sang the song “Squonk” and the other members decided he would do. The sound and production here is a vast improvement over all previous albums and the music benefits from it. Like SEBTP, this is a long single album(for the time) being over 50 minutes long.

Gabriel left because he complained the band was interfering with his family time. The other four wrote the majority of the music for The Lamb without him. It seems only natural that they could make another album by themselves. “Mad Man Moon” and “Ripples” were always my least favourite tracks on the album. The rest of it is some of the best music the band has ever made. “Mad Man Moon” starts off melancholic and easy-going. Later it gets more classical sounding. Once the drums enter the song gets more interesting. “Ripples” opens with vocals and 12-string guitar in a ballad/folk kind of way. Drums come in during the second chorus. Then it changes to more classical sounding with backwards guitar.

“Dance On A Volcano” is one of the best openers of any Genesis album. Love the ‘squeek, squeek’. What a great middle section; intense stuff. And what’s more intense? The ‘dance’ at the end. Great stuff, just as essential Genesis as anything on their previous albums. “Entangled” is one of the band’s most hauntingly beautiful songs ever. Collins was going to end up singing this song no matter what…because there are no drums(ha). Features the other dudes on 12 string guitars. Excellent overdubbed harmony vocals. I love how the keyboards gradually get added and by the end they overwhelm the whole song. That ending section is one of the greatest things you will ever hear on a Genesis album: superb mix of Mellotron choir, synth and 12-string guitar.

“Squonk” is a highlight. What a groove! Always loved that keyboard melody before and after the ‘chorus’ part. Collins certainly shows that he is a capable vocalist for this song. The ending section is great although I wish it didn’t fade out so quickly. “Robbery, Assault & Battery” is another highlight. Features some of Tony Banks’ best ever keyboard work. Collins’ drumming and vocals are great in this track. That middle section is just pure awesomeness. One of the band’s most unique songs. The title track points towards the band’s more radio-friendly future in a way that say, songs like “I Know What I Like” and “Counting Out Time” did not. It is the most ‘single’ oriented track on the album. The lyrics however are not your typical pop fare: humans being judged by creatures they don’t even know exist.

The best part is at the end…literally, “Los Endos”. For many reasons, one of which is the incorporation of other songs into it. The beginning comes from another song called “It’s Yourself” which the band wrote around this time but recorded later as a B-side. Towards the end both “Dance” and “Squonk” are reprised. When the track is fading out you hear Collins sing: “there’s an angel standing in the sun…free to get back home”. Those are lyrics from “Supper’s Ready”. Apart from that the track is completely instrumental. Love the jungle type rhythm used. The way the track just morphs and changes is brilliant. Just before “Squonk” is reprised is the best part: the drums, Mellotron and synth. Excellent.

One of the groups’ best efforts and the last really super terrific awesome one. The followup Wind & Wuthering is similar but not quite as strong (with even more hints of their radio- friendly future). After that Hackett leaves. They would get less proggy after he left yet sell way more albums. Gabriel would soon start his own solo career which would take him in a different direction entirely (although both would end up making R&B-influenced pop/rock hits in the 1980s).


1. Dance On A Volcano (5:53)
2. Entangled (6:28)
3. Squonk (6:27)
4. Mad Man Moon (7:35)
5. Robbery, Assault & Battery (6:15)
6. Ripples (8:03)
7. A Trick Of The Tail (4:34)
8. Los Endos (5:46)


* Tony Banks Рpianos, synthesizers, organ, mellotron, 12 string guitar, backing vocals
* Phil Collins – drums, percussion, lead and back vocals
* Steve Hackett – electric guitar, 12 string guitar
* Mike Rutherford – 12 string guitar, basses, bass pedals

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