Towards the end of the 1970s, the premiere progressive band Genesis was in a state of flux and looking towards a new direction. They had lost their lead singer a few albums previously, but had ably continued with drummer Phil Collins stepping to the mike. They lost their lead guitarist only recently and released an album aptly titled And Then There Were Three. This recording was a dark and moody piece, with very little of the English pastoral sound they had been famous for in the past. With all this change happening, core members of the band began to make their first forays into solo recordings.
This is an album of two parts. One is the multi segment epic, “Smallcreep’s Day” and the other part are the various shorter songs on the alternate side of the original vinyl LP. This record came out shortly after Genesis’ 1980s album Duke and carries much of that same sensibility. The instrumentation is first-rate with contributions from excellent vocalist Noel McCalla and Mike’s old friend from the early days of the band, Ant (Anthony) Phillips. We are also treated to some remarkable percussion from prog stalwarts Morris Pert and Simon Phillips.
The epic is rather enigmatic, seeming to be a story of a timid man slaving to a worklife of boredom and drudgery. A situation I’m sure many of us could associate with. Although I am normally prone to consider the longer songs as the more desirable from a progressive rock standpoint, I’m not certain that would be the case here, as Rutherford truly shines on some of the more mainstream material on the shorts side.
This is a strong album and well worth purchasing if you’re looking to expand your Genesis vocabulary for the modern era of Genesis.
Reviewed by Terry Jackson on January 8th, 2011