Genesis – Foxtrot (1972/2013)

Genesis - Foxtrot (1972)
Artist: Genesis
Album: Foxtrot
Genre: Symphonic Prog
Label: Virgin
Year Of Release: 1972/2013
Quality: FLAC (tracks+.cue)

Tracklist:
1. Watcher of the Skies (7:19)
2. Time Table (4:40)
3. Get ’em Out by Friday (8:35)
4. Can-Utility and the Coastliners (5:43)
5. Horizons (1:38)
6. Supper’s Ready (22:58) :
– a. Lover’s Leap
– b. The Guaranteed Eternal Sanctuary Man
– c. Ikhnaton and Itsacon and Their Band of Merry Men
– d. How Dare I Be So Beautiful?
– e. Willow Farm
– f. Apocalypse in 9/8 (featuring the delicious talents of Gabble Ratchet)
– g. As Sure as Eggs Is Eggs (Aching Men’s Feet)

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Personnel:
– Peter Gabriel / lead vocals, flute, oboe, tambourine, bass drum
– Steve Hackett / guitars (electric, acoustic 6- & 12-string)
– Tony Banks / organ, Mellotron MKII, piano & electric piano, 12-string guitar, backing vocals
– Mike Rutherford / bass, bass pedals, 12-string guitar, cello, backing vocals
– Phil Collins / drums, percussion, backing vocals

“Foxtrot” is the fourth studio album of Genesis and that was released in 1972. The line up on the album is Tony Banks, Phil Collins, Peter Gabriel, Steve Hackett and Mike Rutherford.

Genesis is probably the best known and former progressive rock band among the classic English groups. Who doesn’t know pieces like “Invisible Touch” or “I Can’t Dance”, even if only from the radio? But, this actually, isn’t even strictly speaking half of the truth. So, which is the band that was an integral part of the music scene for over 30 years and that are even considered the fathers of the neo-prog, by some? Of course and naturally, we are talking about Genesis.

For Genesis, the follow up album of “Nursery Cryme” would be very important. The group wasn’t 100% satisfied with the album either since it combined very highlights with some low tracks, as Rutherford put it in an interview. And Banks said about it that only “The Musical Box” and “Fountain Of Salmacis” really stood out, for him. So, with “Foxtrot” Genesis took the giant revolution that they’d made with “Nursery Cryme”. They pick up the same formula, accentuated the positives and substantially decreased the weaknesses. The result is the first true awesome album in their career.

We can say that “Foxtrot” became a landmark for Genesis and for prog rock music in general. In 1972, there were only few albums that stood out among the steady stream of prog releases. Yes released “Close To The Edge”, Jethro Tull “Thick As A Brick” and Genesis “Foxtrot”, all in 1972. But, “Foxtrot” was even more important because it was basically the reason why Gabriel started dressing up in strange masks and costumes. It’s something never saw before and earned the band a bit of extra attention they needed to be noticed by a larger audience. That extra attention was largely focused on Gabriel, giving him a rock star status that he did not desire. It caused him to leave Genesis a few years later.

“Foxtrot” was the album that made of Genesis one of the leading forces in the British symphonic progressive rock music, really. It included the most Genesis fans’ ultimate favourite track in form of the 23 minute suite “Supper’s Ready”. This suite consisted of several different parts and compositions that, unlike the title track from Yes’ “Close To The Edge”, clearly were separate ideas that later were glued together to make the whole track. But, it all worked superb, and the binding main melody is undoubtedly one of the best and most beautiful melodies the band ever wrote and the composition stand as one of progressive rock’s ultimate masterpieces. So, “Foxtrot” is the album that contains one of the songs that people still talk about with a certain reverence and which inspired many other bands to write long songs.

“Foxtrot” opens with “Watcher Of The Skies”. The melody is memorable and the lyrics are fun. It manages to go from stately and calm to ranging and rocking with the transition effectuated smoother than most prog rock bands could ever manage. “Time Table”, while it might not seem as incredible at first, it’s just as impressive as the other pieces but just on a more subtle scale. Banks’ piano is beautiful, the lyrics are profound and the melody is memorable. “Get ‘Em Out By Friday” is a protest song against the way landlords treated their tenants. It goes from aggressive fast sections to calm flowing ones. It contains some great bass, drums and organ works. “Can-Utility And The Coastliners” has some lovely bass pedal and Mellotron sections. It also features one of the few guitar solos on the album. “Horizons” is in the Baroque style, and is a typical Hackett’s classical guitar song. It’s influenced by the “Prelude Of The First Cello Suite” by the Baroque composer Bach, whose Hackett is a huge fan. Still, it wasn’t just a concession to Hackett because all band’s members liked it. “Supper’s Ready” is a 23 minutes suite and a pure treat from the beginning to the end. It feels like a nightmarish dream, chaotic, patchy and in many respects a combination of reality, horror and fantasy. Lyrically, in these days Gabriel probably couldn’t tell you exactly what the whole thing is about, the Book of Revelations, atomic war and flowers. Musically, there is such variety of different textures, moods and melodies that always surprised me, really.

Conclusion: “Foxtrot” is one of the best Genesis’ works, indeed. Outstanding tracks like their opus “Supper’s Ready”, which is in general considered their best track ever, and another early concert staples showed the band’s continual musical evolvement. It’s an amazing album, and surely, one of the greatest prog works ever, not only in its amazing array of textures, moods and melodies, but also on its consistently entertaining and great beauty. It represents also Gabriel’s peak as a lyricist. In his imagery Gabriel relies on Germanic and Celtic mythology and old folk tales and pagan practices rather than in social Britain life. So, we might say that Genesis certainly delved itself a unique niche in British progressive rock. But, what impresses me most on “Foxtrot” is the pure musical force on it. This is a rare progressive rock album that excels all what we were expecting for and it represents one of the pinnacles of the genre and decade.

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