And Then There Were Three

Genesis

Atlantic Records, 1978

http://www.genesis-music.com

REVIEW BY: Jeff Clutterbuck

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 05/18/2005

A Trick of the Tail - Peter Gabriel > Wind & Wuthering - Peter Gabriel - Steve Hackett > ...And Then There Were Three...

That one was for all you math whizzes out there, so here's the simple explanation for everyone else: Genesis by 1978 was missing both frontman Peter Gabriel and guitarist Steve Hackett, resulting in this effort from the three remaining members of the band. Phil Collins, Tony Banks and Mike Rutherford try valiantly, but in the end three just isn't enough.

That "edgy" aspect Genesis had to their previous recordings is almost completey absent on ...And The There Were Three... It's natural to expect that seeing as how the departures of Gabriel and Hackett were bound to hurt to the band rather than help it, but that still doesn't excuse the band from recording some bad music. This album is drenched with synthesizers, from start to finish. Attempted epics such as "Burning Rope" suffer as a result; becoming roughly 7 minutes of aimless noodling.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

...And The There Were Three... is truly dichotic in its nature; at this point I can't tell whether Genesis wanted to move in the direction they would later take, or if art-rock was still the preferred style. There is plenty of evidence for both present. Exhibit A: "Follow You Follow Me." This is pure pop, nothing else, and Genesis pulls it off well. A slow paced, but touching ballad with some effective vocals from Collins, "Follow You Follow Me" is the best track on the album, as well as the bands first "real" hit single. One can actually hear a bit of rock and roll during "Ballad of Big," I especially like the group vocal effort.

However there is the other side of the coin; "Burning Rope" and "The Lady Lies." I offer these two numbers up as early Genesis still raising its head. To be honest, the band would have come up with a good track had they combined the vocals of "The Lady Lies" with the comparatively stronger melody of "Burning Rope," but alas that is not the case. Now, as always, there are exceptions to the rule. "Scenes From A Nights Dream" is only about three minutes, but the wonderfully visual lyrics and intense keyboards make this a mini-prog rock effort, and an effective one at that.

Let's get this out of the way; I like Phil Collins as vocalist. He's got a tremendous sense of melody, and had a stronger "timbre" to his vocals than Peter Gabriel. However, Gabriel totally embraced the idea of art-rock; he created characters and made them come alive. A Phil Collins performance is the same performance you can hear on every single song of his. In the end, how much you like a later day Genesis album depends on how much you like Phil's voice.

The major difference between ...And The There Were Three... and later albums such as Abacab and Invisible Touch is simple; those albums were good, and this one is not. At this point in time, Genesis did not know where to go with their sound, and that misdirection is plainly evident on this album.

Rating: C-

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© 2005 Jeff Clutterbuck and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Atlantic Records, and is used for informational purposes only.