Genesis – Foxtrot – Our Shootout Winner from 2013

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A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame.

After struggling with this album for YEARS, Foxtrot Hot Stamper are back! It is INSANELY difficult to find good sound for this album. We’ve laid out hundreds of bucks on clear Brit originals over the years hoping to find that magical pressing, but could not manage to get the kind of sound we were hoping for. We the started bringing in every variety of pressing we could find and finally found a few copies that actually delivered. Here’s the best of them all — a White Hot Stamper with an A+++ side one, and A++ to A+++ side two and quiet vinyl. Genesis fans, the long wait is over — it’s time to hear this album sound right.  

This pressing has the best sound we’ve heard for this album, bar none. Having said that, this is probably not going to be the first record you reach for when friends ask you to put something on so they can hear how good your system is sounding. This recording is all over the place — parts of it sound amazing but other parts are always a bit murky. In that respect it has much in common with all the Genesis recordings from the era. Finding one with presence and clarity in the midrange is no mean feat. Here’s one that we think fans of the band should have no trouble recognizing as superior to whatever they may have heard. Demo disc sound? Not exactly. Better than other pressings? Without a doubt.

Side one is livelier and more dynamic than the other copies we played — and it wasn’t even close. The sound is cleaner and clearer with more transparency and more presence. You get a big, solid bottom end and more tubey qualities than you do on the average copy. You’re going to have an incredibly tough time finding a side one that comes even close. A+++ all the way.

Side two earned an A++ to A+++ grade. The best sounding parts of the album are on this side, so even at a half-plus lower than side one you may get your biggest thrills here. The sound is rich, fill and lively. The vocals sound natural with nice texture and real immediacy. Most copies tend to be veiled on this side, but not this one — it’s clearer and more open than we heard elsewhere. It’s also big, bold, and dynamic, which are qualities that bring out the best in this music. Again, it will be very hard to find a side two nearly as good as this one.

TRACK LISTING

Side One

Watcher of the Skies
Time Table 
Get’em Out by Friday
Can-Utility and the Coastliners

Side Two

Horizons 
Supper’s Ready 
i. Lover’s Leap 
ii. The Guaranteed Eternal Sanctuary Man 
iii. Ikhnaton and Itsacon and Their Band of Merry Men 
iv. How Dare I Be So Beautiful 
v. Willow Farm 
vi. Apocalypse in 9/8 (Co-Starring the Delicious Talents of Gabble Ratchet) 
vii. As Sure As Eggs Is Eggs (Aching Men’s Feet)

Words & Music

This is Genesis’ fourth album, their second for Charisma, and the second as a mature band. The tracks (I omit the word “songs” purposely) on Foxtrot seem more accessible, more defined, than on their last album, Nursery Cryme.

The opener, “Watcher In The Skies,” is a beautifully constructed sci-fi tale presented against glittering sheets of cascading sound, running in torrents like a burst dam, across the aural spectrum; it rolls and boils and flows like thick velvet of varying colors.

By contrast, “Time Table,” is simplicity itself — Tony Banks’ medieval piano behind Peter Gabriel’s voice spinning its web of wonder.

But it’s “Get ‘Em Out By Friday” that is the real gem of the album (even though Side Two holds a marvelous seven part suite). It is, in fact, an execution, a mini-opera with six characters represented. On the surface, the struggle concerns Styx Enterprises (represented by Mr. John Pebble and Mr. Mark Hall) who have just bought an apartment building, and Mrs. Barrow (a tenant) who’s threatened with eviction. But this is the year 2012, and Genetic Control has put a “four foot restriction on humanoid height.” And why, pray tell? Becuase G.C. had the foresight to buy up housing property and now can get double the number of tenants in each building. The track ends with the reading of a memo from Satin Peter of Rock Developments Ltd.: “With land in your hand you’ll be happy on earth/Then invest in the Church for your heaven.”

All this presented unceremoniously, unpretensiously and with the utmost professionalism. Throughout, there are acres of marvelous solos. But Genesis really transcends such banal and pedestrian inventions as categories.

This is, needless to say, an important album to listen to. Maybe you’ll dig it, maybe you won’t, but this is the kind of band (especially now) that we need to support. And the word is that they’re even better live. I’ve gotta see. And I will.

– Eric Van Lustbader, Words & Music, 1/73.

AMG Review

This was the point where all of the talent simmering and occasionally boiling up out of Genesis blew”… the lid off the pot. There isn’t a weak song here, and the two showpieces, “Watcher of the Skies” and “Supper’s Ready,” presented the group at its strongest in medium-length and extended-length songs.