“Eleventh Earl Of Mar” is a lengthy epic full of Phil’s pounding drums, and he’s starting to get more comfortable with his own voice too. Even longer is “One For The Vine”, which has some beautiful, haunting passages (these guys were always good at melodies) but there’s an odd quote of the stereotypical “Egyptian” theme well known from so many cartoons. A song with mainstream appeal, “Your Own Special Way” doesn’t have the grand scope of the first two tracks, and is a nice pairing of two different ideas. The instrumental section still reminds us of the type of thing Leo Sayer was slathering all over AM radio at the time, but by removing this, a hit single emerges. The love-fest vibe is dispelled by “Wot Gorilla?”, a frenetic instrumental that fades in and out to the wacky effects familiar from “The Waiting Room”.
The cartoony “All In A Mouse’s Night” seems a rather silly idea upon which to hang a song, particularly after the military-based epics on side one. Nice melody in the opening section, though, and the closing guitar solo is grandiose in its own way. In contrast, “Blood On The Rooftops” begins with a Spanish guitar-tinged piece, and continues in a melancholy mode at odds with the lyrics describing various TV shows as social comment. “‘Unquiet Slumbers For The Sleepers…” has another impressionistic guitar intro, inspiring images of misty moors to match the titular quote from Wuthering Heights, continued in the more adventurous “…In That Quiet Earth’”, which incorporates all kinds of familiar melodies, and even predicts Asia’s “Here Comes The Feeling” but goes well into “Afterglow”. With its multiple layered harmonies, this almost Beatlesque track makes a fine finale, though even Tony Banks admits that the melody is too close to “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” for comfort.
Wind & Wuthering just makes it into the thumbs-up column, but it could still use some smoothing. Proof that this was the best they could do at the time is borne out by the subsequent release of the Spot The Pigeon EP, consisting of three leftovers from the sessions: “Match Of The Day”, about soccer; a tirade against “Pigeons” (“who put fifty tons of shit on the office roof” among other transgressions); and “Inside And Out”, a dull song about a paroled rapist with an extended ending that sounds like Styx.
Genesis Wind & Wuthering (1976)—3