Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Can-Utility and the Coastliners, Genesis (1972)

Back in the day, Genesis was Peter Gabriel, Steve Hackett, Mike Rutherford, Tony Banks and Phil Collins before he became a glorified lounge singer. Most of the time I had no idea what their songs were about, but that didn't stop me from being drawn in by them just the same.

Genesis was the king of progressive rock while I was in college. I went to several of their concerts with my boyfriend - they started to tour the U.S. after Foxtrot was released - who idolized them and particularly Gabriel's theatrics and costuming. Though all that posturing left me cold, few other groups of the time were as artistic in their musical output, and I remember being quite mesmerized by the sheer tonnage of their instrumental capabilities and the way they were used to create a panoramic emotional experience.

As I've listened to the albums more recently, I've found a lot of the music hasn't really stood the test of time; it's all too precious somehow. (My actual favorite album overall was Genesis from 1983 - but that time frame is outside the approved realm of this blog.)

There are exceptions, though, and one of them is Can-Utility and the Coastliners, an underrated song from Foxtrot that caused my heart to soar then and does now. I used to take dance, and in my first apartment after college I remember dancing almost ecstatically to it. Phil Collins is a great drummer and he is inspired on this, as are the rest of the band on however many instruments are involved here - Mellotrons, bass pedals, 12-strings, organs - it's so intricate that it's impossible for me to tell what all's in the mix.

But it is without question one of the best of early Genesis, and I'm glad I rediscovered it. Interpretive dance, anyone?


cornbread hell said...

somebody needs to comment on this.

Lithopedion said...

'Tis indeed a great song, one of my favorite dynamic build-ups...