This might be Genesis last foray into the English pastoral stylings with prominent 12-string guitars and acoustic beauty. It is sadly also Steve Hackett’s last record with the band. Fortunately Steve would have a prolific solo career after he left, so we had much more to look forward to from Mr. Hackett.
My opinion is that Wind & Wuthering starts off just a bit weaker than previous records by the band. “Eleventh Earl of Mar” has never been one of my favorite pieces by my favorite band, yet I can’t deny the power of the drumming throughout and the lovely melody at the quiet acoustic middle of the song. The group more than make up for it in the next song with “One for the Vine.” This is perhaps my favorite of any Tony Banks epic and has an interesting lyrical idea that neatly and wonderfully folds back into itself with the story it’s telling. A neat time-travel trick that quirks in the right way.
Need a single? Michael Rutherford’s “Your Own Special Way” is a romantic ballad in waltz time and way better than the more successful “Follow You Follow Me” from next album’s And Then There Were Three. “All In a Mouse’s Night” can be a little “twee,” but it holds a soft spot in my heart as the kind of humorous piece they would have done in their salad days. Phil Collins is at his most successful aping this aspect of former frontman Peter Gabriel on this cut than any other attempts made in my opinion. It’s a”dork”able, to borrow a recent phrase.
The next few songs are perhaps Hackett’s final contributions to the band, beginning with “Blood On the Rooftops.” It is wonderfully evocative of much of Hackett’s later solo career, as is the next two stunning instrumental pieces “Unquiet Slumbers for the Sleepers…” and “…In That Quiet Earth.” These two are part of an extended epic including the last three songs on the record. It’s uninterrupted even if the songs are separated by tracks, ending with another absolutely gorgeous Bank’s piece “Afterglow.” This song, with its simple melody and breathtaking beauty is again one of Bank’s finest compositions. I actually enjoy the more straightforward way of bringing in expressive ideas to the songwriting since Gabriel left as principal lyricist. Sometimes Peter got a bit esoteric in his flights of fancy. But ya know, that worked too.
We would never again see this version of Genesis again and this record is a strong testament to the fact that the band could indeed carryon quite well without Gabriel. They would of course, prove this time and again in the future, but this is the last time they would do it playing on the same field.
Reviewed by Terry Jackson on October 27th, 2011