Release Date: 1976

Track Listing
1)  Dance On A Volcano
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2)  Entangled
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3)  Squonk
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4)  Mad Man Moon
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5)  Robbery, Assault & Battery
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6)  Ripples
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7)  A Trick of the Tail
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8)  Los Endos
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Member: Constable Napweed
Date: 6/8/2003


This album is what I call, the romantic Genesis album. Not because its overladen with ballads but for the romantic fact that this is the album Genesis came back with after being written off after Peter Gabriel's departure and saw them gain many new fans and a top 5 hit album in Britain. A success that must have had the band as well as the fans purring.

After the complexities and experimentation of The Lamb this album saw the band return in part to the sound and dynamics of Selling England by the Pound, in fact this album is a perfect partner to SEBTP. "Dance on a Volcano", the albums opener, dismissed in some 6 minutes any doubts that the band could survive without Gabriel. Phil Collins now at the mic demonstrated his vocal talents with some aplomb. The track is edgy, heavy and quirky with Collins sounding uncannily like Gabriel...a good start then.

"Entangled" is one of the most beautiful songs Genesis have ever written in my opinion. The acoustic guitar arrangements combined with the keyboards are a lesson to any band as how simple themes can work wonders and sound better than complicated arranging that ultimately goes nowhere...Tony Banks shines in the hairs on the back of your neck ending. "Squonk" is a personal fave of mine and apparently the track that convinced the other members of Genesis that Phil could sing aggressively and ultimately got him the gig as lead vocalist. say no more.

"Mad Man Moon" is delicate and understated, a reflective song to close the old vinyl copy of side 1....gorgeous sounds and arrangements. Then we come to "Robbery Assault and Battery" one of the reasons why I feel that A Trick of the Tail was a natural follow up to Selling England by the Pound. This track is this albums version of "The Battle of Epping Forest" fun stuff....and just listen to the similar vocal vibe within the 2 tracks. Namely for all you fellow trainspotters out there. (Selling England) "Amidst the battle roar, accountants keep the score..10-4 (A Trick of the Tail) " he's leaving via the roof, the bastards got away."

"Ripples" follows and is a real tearjerker of lost youth and the passing of time. Phil is on top form here with his delicate vocals in the verse sections and then his heartfelt singing in the chorus, in the mid section Steve Hackett keeps the vibe going with an almost crying lead guitar sound with Tony Banks piano adding to the emotion.

The title track is a bit of light relief from the intensity that preceded it but is well noteworthy all the same, a song of jauntiness that puts one of the mind of The Beatles " Magical mystery tour " era. Finally to the tour de force..the ending to end all endings. The mighty "Los Endos" explodes into life with energy and emotion, recalling earlier themes from the album, culminating in Phil singing "Theres an angel standing in the sun, freed to get back home...." a nod towards Gabriel, on an album that they proved that they could survive without him.
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Member: Harlequins_Royal_scam (Profile) (All Album Reviews by Harlequins_Royal_scam)
Date: 6/15/2003
Format: CD (Album)

Back in the summer of 1975, it had been officially announced that Genesis front man Peter Gabriel was leaving the band. News speculating the band's demise was prominent, among both fans and critics alike. The confidence level of the public was not very high, and it seemed that most lesser bands would crack under such pressure. However, Genesis made a decision to carry on and didn't seem to waste any time by going ahead with the writing and recording of this album, A Trick of the Tail.

During the making of this album, auditions were made for a new lead singer. While this seemed to be a failed experiment, to say the least, Genesis carried on in the studio, putting down these classic tracks. Phil then volunteered to lay down the vocal tracks while they continued to look for a lead singer. Thankfully, Phil then decided, after many auditions, that he wanted to take it over himself and have a drummer sit in while he was up at the mike. The band agreed, and thus a new era in their career was born. But it all started out with this one, a definite classic, and one that really made everyone take notice that Genesis was here to stay.

"Dance On A Volcano" is a great album opener. It showcases that Phil does have a very powerful voice. His drumming is very oustanding on this track. The powerful bass throughout the song definitely brings in a lot of umph to the track. Steve's guitar and Tony's lead synth duet at the end prove that they are definitely on the same page as they play in sweet unison the melodic harmonies that was missed for many years once the song was performed live. It's still my favourite section of the song. With the guitar effects rolling throughout the song, and the washing of the mellotron's strings and choirs, the entire feel of the song gives the listener a very good indication that Genesis was much more than Peter Gabriel...it was a group effort.

"Entangled," primarily written by Steve Hackett, with some bits thrown in by Tony Banks, shows the acoustic side of them that they were most known for in those days...the big 12-string sound is back and in full force and dominates the song. Phil, with his folkish vocal harmonies round out the song very beautifully. The blend of Tony, Steve and Mike's guitars are very light and very orchestral. At the end of the song, when Tony comes in with the Mellotron choir and his solo soprano synth, it runs a chill down your spine with the dramatic interplay between the keyboards and the guitars, with some nice pedal bass thrown in for good measure.

"Squonk," probably the most famous song on this album...not to mention the first one that Phil sang lead on for this one...is basically a funky, pseudo pop tune. It's a very basic song, musically speaking, although there are lots of words in the song. This one does take a while to get into, but it is also one of the most revered songs that Tony and Mike wrote together that fans just can't get enough of. Also, a live favourite.

"Mad Man Moon" is a beautiful piano piece by Tony and the band. Sometimes, I wonder how the band would have done it with an orchestra (you can check out the We Know What We Like - The Music of Genesis album by the London Symphony Orchestra to get a feel for how it would come across). But there's something about this song that is just so amazing. The lyrics are very poetic and the music is unmistakably Tony Banks. Big chords and light arpeggiated licks make for the mid-section of the piece. Once again, showing what a true genius Tony Banks was with his writing.

"Robbery, Assault & Battery" was another live favourite in the late 70s. This song about a heist gone wrong shows the energy of a lot of the Gabriel story songs. This one was co-written by Tony and Phil Collins, who I would believe helped out with the 13/8 section. Phil's drumming and Mike's Bass during this section is very tight, considering the time signature that is involved. It's very tough to do live, so credit must be given where credit is due. Tony's keyboard solo is almost schizophrenic as to where it's going in the piece, almost not sure as to where it'll end up in the grand scheme of things, you can't help but think about the robber trying to hide out from the cops.

"Ripples" is probably the benchmark of the post Gabriel ballads that Genesis did. This later became a live favourite in the late 70s/early 80s. Once again, the acoustic guitars come back, this time with acoustic piano. Mike and Tony once again are responsible for this one. It just shows that they are natural collaborators and that they work well off of each other. Phil's smooth and sensitive vocals are very dominant in the mix, but really work for the tune, during its softer parts and he really brings up the power in his voice with the bigger, more grandiose parts at the end of the song. The instrumental section is the big gem however, with Steve's melodic playing at the core of the section. Tony's synth part supports Steve's playing with a counter melodic part that highlights Steve's parts throughout the whole instrumental section. A true gem in every sense of the word.

"A Trick of the Tail" is a really nice, really cute song about an alien or some sort of being with horns and a tail (the devil, perhaps?...at least that's what it looked like on the album art) who is in a different world and longs to return to the place that he came from. The interesting thing about this song is that it sounds like a vaudeville type of tune, with that swing feel. Steve's guitar, is only reduced to sound effects on this one unfortunately, but they are very effective, and very Genesis-esque. Phil's vocals on this song harks back to the days when he was a child actor and shows an enthusiastic energy throughout the song. The whole band sounds like they're having fun on this one.

"Los Endos." If there's a second famous song off this album (other than "Squonk"), it would be this tune. An instrumental credited to the group, you can hear a latin tinged influence throughout the main section of the song. A song that originally borrowed its theme from another song that was recorded during these sessions, but but released only as a B-side ("It's Yourself"), it takes that theme and makes it into a powerful jam. Once again, Steve and Tony interact very well. Phil goes manic on the drums and the percussion, and Mike is just going wild on his bass. This is the song where they want to show that they are great musicians, and it shows. A very fitting end with themes from several other songs previously heard on the album, this serves as a great finale. There's even a nice subtle tribute to Peter on this tune (chances are you already know what I'm talking about. If you don't, I'm not going to spoil it for you...buy the album...you won't be sorry). And on that note, ends this review of one of the greatest rock albums out there, IMHO.

It's a very well-rounded album and a fitting way to begin an era of music which would showcase a whole new way of recording and performing for the band. 1976 was a good year for the boys. It still is, and this album is living proof that they overcame the odds and did what was true to them. It ended up being more successful than all the previous albums combined. Genesis were well on their way, and this album showed that there was no turning back. Hope you enjoy the album

Arik
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Member: Wilton Said... (Profile) (All Album Reviews by Wilton Said...)
Date: 2/1/2007
Format: CD (Album)

Warning, this review is biased!

I love this album I think it's the best Genesis album ever. Now then, I've got that out of my system, now the review.

Even though this was the first album to feature Phil Collins on lead vocals, it was by no means a Phil Collins era album, it was very much a Peter Gabriel era, only without Peter on vocals. What I mean by this is that they hadn't gone pop yet. Most of the music was still either being jammed out like on previous albums, or mainly being written by keyboardist Tony Banks and bassist Mike Rutherford.

The album kicks off with "Dance on a Volcano". Its 7/8 timing along with its wild vocal melody can make it a bit of a challenge to listen too, but nonetheless still remains my favorite Genesis song of all time for that very reason. "Entangled" is a beautiful light airy song with haunting textures. "Squonk", not one of my favorites, lyrically follows the search for a mythical creature. For me the song's a bit too long and nothing much happens. "Mad Man Moon", "Ripples" and the title track are the ballads of the album, all of them beautiful. Genesis had a lovely way with texture with Steve Hacketts guitar arpeggios and Tony Banks' mellotron sounds. "Robbery Assault and Battery" is an upbeat tune with verses and chorus in 4/4, and an amazing instrumental section with odd and changing time signatures. The last song titled "Los Endos" is an instrumental that also includes a few snippets of "Dance on a Volcano" and ends using the chord progression to "Squonk".

For those fans that say Genesis had nothing to offer after Gabriel left, I urge them to take a listen to Trick of the Tail and the next album Wind and Wuthering. Both had all the same musical elements as albums such as The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway, Selling England by the Pound, Foxtrot or Nursery Cryme.
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Member: Chuck AzEee! (Profile) (All Album Reviews by Chuck AzEee!)
Date: 3/24/2011
Format: CD (Album)

First of all the rest of the band were a bit hesitant if whether or not Phil could sing on the harder tracks, but upon further listen, Phil handled them effortlessly. Steve not being with the band during the intial stages of the rehearsals (finishing up the mixing of his debut solo album) So the "core" trio of Collins, Banks and Rutherford began the rehearsals for their seventh studio album and began working on songs written by Tony, Mike and later Steve (Entangled) and produced this wonderful album, yet the tensions although not as pronounced as The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway and Wind And Wuthering many years later Tony would admit that he was angered that Steve produced his solo album when some of the songs would could have been used on A Trick Of a Tail.

The "feel" of A Trick Of a Tail seemed much "looser" and more jovial in nature like a sequel to Selling England By The Pound not only in nature, but similar with the "Bookend theme" (The Cinema Show/Aisle of Plenty/Dancing With The Moonlit Knight) and (Dance on Volcano/It's Yourself/Los Endos/Squonk).
The album wound up doing extremely well worldwide and helped a band in dire debt from their previous tour re-coup and make a bit of money alongst the way.
Now there was bit of a problem, the drummer Phil Collins now the lead singer, needed a drummer who would handled the drumming chores while Phil sang the majority of the time. Problem adverted when Phil's buddy and drum virtuoso Bill Bruford filled in for the tour.
Of all the tours, this album represented officially live are but a handful of songs, the extrodinary version of "The Cinema Show" on Second's Out, the spirited medley "It/Watchers OF The Skies" on Side Four of Three Sides Live and "Entangled" on the second Genesis Archives #2 1976-1992. Bill Bruford being used to drumming technical proficient bands like Yes and King Crimson, found Genesis music unchallenging and at times his oft kiltered drumming sometimes threw of members of the band, whom rarely improvised live and had a hard time finding their place back to the music's basic structure.

For those fortunate enough to have heard any bootlegs from this tour are amazed by the brilliance of the band, actually performing such crowd pleasers like "Lamb Stew" (The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway/Fly On A Windshield/The Carpet Crawlers) "Supper's Ready", The Cinema Show", "Firth of Fifth". Songs from the current album "Squonk", "Robbery, Assualt and Battery", "Entangled", "Dance On A Volcano" and "Los Endos" in their entirety, and a long lost classic in "White Mountain". Most of the tour took place in the US with a handful of shows in their native United Kingdom.
Following the tour, Bill Bruford not really in tune with Genesis "structured" music left the band as their "tour drummer" which left Genesis in need of finding a drummer to take over for Phil while he was upfront singing. But that a story for another time.
Personally I love this album, and in my opinion is one of four albums in their collection that I love every single track. Reading about the history of this album, Steve was disappointed that he never got to play "Ripples" live. The band would make "promo" videos for three tracks "Robbery, Assualt and Battery", "Ripples" and the title track, which Phil loathes. And although Bill Bruford was mainly a bad match with Genesis, Phil, Steve, Mike and Tony still thank Bill for his "professionalism" and giving them the will to solder on after losing a key member whose departure could have destroyed the band.

A Trick of A Tail is a wonderful album and the tour brought Mike Rutherford and the rather shy Steve Hackett to the forefront, but with the latter would bring the further frustration and eventually lead to his departure.

Charles
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