(All Album Reviews by Sean)
Foxtrot was the first of the Peter Gabriel era releases I ever purchased and remains a favorite of mine. It's a very well rounded album that is solid from beginning to end. Gabriel is in fantastic voice here and the band finally hits their stride as well. Everything comes together for Genesis on this album. Things only hinted at earlier finally gel and define their sound.
I originally heard the epic "Suppers Ready" on the live Seconds Out album. I wanted to hear what it was like with Gabriel singing instead of Phil Collins, so I picked up Foxtrot when the record company finally released the Genesis remasters. I liked the Gabriel version better from the first listen. A friend had given me a mixed tape with a few Genesis tunes on it and "Supper" was one of them. "It's like Genesis' “Close To The Edge!” he told me. That piqued my interest...
Foxtrot opens with the Genesis anthem of the Pete era, "Watcher Of The Skies", a great slab of classic prog rock. Opening with lush and foreboding mellotron, "Watcher" soon kicks into high gear as the band joins in with a punctuated beat. By the time the vocals enter, you’re on the fast track for some classic Genesis inspiration! All the best elements of this era are right here in this song.
"Get 'Em Out By Friday" is one of Gabriel's best storytelling vocals. Told from the view of the landlord and also the tenants that have to be "out by Friday", this tune paints some incredibly vivid images with words. The loping Hammond groove draws the listener in as well.
"Can Utility And The Coastliners" reminds me of a mix of older Genesis and Genesis that would soon come. A mix of "White Mountain", "Cinema Show" and "Squonk" maybe?? A lost Genesis classic. Wonderful tune!
"Horizon's" is a beautiful classical guitar piece by Steve Hackett and makes a great intro to the grandest epic in the Genesis catalog....
"Suppers Ready" is indeed Genesis' stab at a side long epic and for the most part it works. It really can't be compared to “Close To The Edge” from Yes though (my friend was a little off the mark there) except in length. While "CTTE" comes storming out of the gate, "Supper" starts slow and reflective (the Lovers Leap section) with acoustic guitars and Pete's vocal inspired by a real life incident. There is some lovely interplay between the guitars and Gabriel's flute following the vocals. Soon the organ enters and breaks into the anthemic hook (Eternal Sanctuary Man) "Can't you see he's fooled you all..." which is reprised at the end. Over the course of the next 15 minutes this epic takes a number of twists and turns. One of my favorites is the "Willow Farm" section, probably the heaviest section of the tune. As through all of "Supper" Gabriel's use of lyrical imagery is excellent and at times very amusing. Here he and Collins conjure up a variety of odd voices "the soil, soil, soil". After this the popular 9/8 section carries the listener along on a punctuated beat. On top of this is roiling organ courtesy of Tony Banks. Eventually the anthemic hook from the beginning reenters and gives the listener a hair-raising experience that is really satisfying. You feel like you have come full circle on an amazing journey.
For classic Genesis, it doesn’t get much better than Foxtrot! It builds on the ideas hinted at on Trespass and Nursery Cryme and furthers them with amazing results.
Foxtrot is the second best Genesis album in my opinion. It has "Supper's Ready", which is a work of giants.
Song by song review:
“Watcher of the Skies”:
I don't know why this one is so celebrated... It's a pretty basic instrumental piece (when comparing to other Genesis tracks) with a much-too-long warm-up intro. The lyrics and vocals are cool, but still there's nothing different in this song (as far as I can see).
This is a very soft and beautiful song, with nice lyrics and vocals. Instrumental doesn't shine yet, just like "Watcher..."
“Get 'Em Out by Friday”:
Here we go! This is a Genesis tune! The previous two are too weak compared to this one! Everything is perfect here: there's humor in the lyrics, there are little characters for Gabriel to bring to life, there's Rutherford backing Steve on the 12-string guitar, there's a strong bass-line, a nice guitar solo and an awesome flute solo! I love this one!
“Can-Utility and the Coastliners”:
Things slow down again, but in the ending, there is a very nice keyboard solo. The background guitars are very warm too.
Hackett on the classical guitar. What else should I say? Genius? Master? Teacher? The-best-of-all-who-think-they-are-the-best? By far the most beautiful song on the album.
This is a move forward in progressive rock. There are very many themes arranged here. Everyone has space to show their abilities. I can't find the words to describe what happens on this song. But beware: you need to be very relaxed to listen to this song, or else you won't like it (it happened to me). It's one of those songs like Tull's "Thick as a brick", Floyd's "Echoes", if you know what I mean.
I would give it 9 in a 10 star rating.