A Trick Of The Tail
A Trick of the Tail, the first post-Peter Gabriel Genesis LP, confirms that the group still has enough talent to compensate for the departure of their former lead singer, surprisingly drawing most of its strength from the writing of keyboardist Tony Banks, who contributed to all eight of the songs.
Guitarist Steve Hackett backs off from sound-effect guitar to blend with Banks's keyboards. They trade solos, but it's Banks's assortment of piano, synthesizer and mellotron that dominates instrumentally. The vocal problem has been easily solved. The twin harmonies of Genesis's early work suggested the similarity between drummer-turned-vocalist Phil Collins's and Peter Gabriel's voices. But on his own, Collins is unexpectedly adept at duplicating Gabriel's quality. Differences are hard to find, although he lacks a little in projection.
With the absence of Gabriel, however, Genesis now relies on subtlety and melodic continuity more than studio gimmickry. The title track, based on a choppy piano rhythm, is the closest they've come to a pop single. Although the familiar themes are always apparent, A Trick of the Tail is much more straightforward, possibly because it's more a joint effort than the Gabriel-oriented albums. On their seventh attempt, Genesis has managed to turn the possible catastrophe of Gabriel's departure into their first broad-based American success.
Kris Nicholson, Rolling Stone, 5/20/76