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Genesis: Trespass (1970)

In 1969 Genesis released From Genesis to Revelation. Although opinions differ, I thought that album was crap, sounding like psychedelic Muzak to me. Of course, the band could be forgiven, since the guys in the band just graduated from Charterhouse Public School (a public school, for those living in America, is the English equivalent of a private school, in which Charterhouse had a reputation of being very exclusive) and they just got started and perhaps didn’t get the best record deal or manager. A year later, they switched producers from Jonathan King to John Anthony, and labels from Decca to Charisma, and a drastic change in the sound.

Trespass is the results and I could not have been more pleasantly surprised. This is Genesis the way they’re supposed to sound: the epitome of all that’s great in ’70s prog. While Trespass is not regarded by many as one of the better efforts from these guys, I still think it’s full of great stuff like “White Mountain”, “Dusk”, “Stagnation”, and of course, “The Knife”. Gone are the Muzak-like strings from the first album, in its place are the Mellotron and Hammond organ, and both electric and acoustic guitars. Not to mention a much better sound quality (From Genesis to Revelation sounded like it was recorded in a tin can).

Trespass does tend to be a bit moodier than the following albums, and the humor element you might find in songs like “Harold the Barrel” and parts of “Supper’s Ready” isn’t found here. Anthony Phillips found his style which, by far and large, tended more to the pastoral end (he would later explore this style further in 1977 when he released his first solo effort, The Geese & the Ghost).

Phil Collins still hadn’t joined the band at that time, instead it was someone by the name of John Mayhew handling the drums, who I know very little of, except for this album. Both Phillips and Mayhew left after this album, to be replaced of course, by Steve Hackett and Phil Collins.

I personally like Trespass, and this is the sound of the band doing the very first dip in to prog waters, and you can tell only better things will come with this band, which following albums only prove. If you want to try any pre-Duke albums, you’re better off starting off with The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway, Nursery Cryme, Foxtrot, or Selling England By the Pound first, but if you’re convinced then try this album.

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