Steve Hackett has left Genesis as far behind as he can. To pursue a career as a songwriter, he's abandoned all of his old band's epic devices, but his wonderful orchestral guitar playing, which once governed his subtle use of effects, has unfortunately evaporated in the baldness of his new material. Hackett's guitar is still engaging at times: the reverberant acoustic picking that opens "Narnia" is sprightly and eager to please, and it carries the song's rinky-dink arrangement. But the thick fuzz tone of "Racing in A," the classical sentiment in "Kim" and the drecky genre parodies that make up side two are examples of mere excess.
Hackett has written verses, choruses and a few guitar solos but no developments, counterpoints or lasting melodies. His worst offense is trying to assume colloquialisms and dialect jokes in the name of the blues. It's really funny when guest vocalist Richie Havens, no Uncle Remus, sings every one of them with perfect diction and knocks them all flat.
Genesis fares even poorer musically....And Then There Were Three... lumbers about in a pea-soup fog of electronics, twists through a maze of odd tempos and dropped beats and ultimately spends itself in gratuitous effects. The melodies have never been less substantial, while the songs revel in pettiness and two-bit theatricality. In short, this contemptible opus is but the palest shadow of the group's earlier accomplishments. Not only is the damage irreversible, it's been widely endorsed: ...And Then There Were Three...is Genesis' first U.S. gold record. (RS 271)
(Posted: Aug 10, 1978)
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