The name of the album refers to two separate things. "Wind" refers to a piece Hackett had written that became a part of "Eleventh Earl of Mar". "Wuthering" is a reference to the novel "Wuthering Heights" by Emily Bronte. The titles of a two-part instrumental piece on the album, "Unquiet Skimmer For Sleepers" and "In That Quiet Earth", are taken from the ending of Bronte's novel. In general, this album has a very atmospheric feel, more focus is placed on instrumental arrangements, not a lot of rock riffs. But everything is clearly crafted well crafted.
The album features the band's first charting single with Collins as lead vocalist, "Your Own Special Way". Is a pleasant, soft love song, but not one of the band's strongest singles, not one of the album's strongest tracks. It didn't last long in their live sets, and doesn't make many of their greatest hits collections. "Afterglow" fares better. It's another simple piece, by with an emotional build that is better earned. This has been used as the choose to the "In the Cage" medleys ever since.
"Eleventh Earl of Mar" is a historical piece written by guitarist Mike Rutherford. It refers to purported Eleventh Earl of Mar Join Erskine, and was inspired by a book Rutherford read about a failed Scottish uprising. Collins' voice provides the perfect counterpoint to the melody in the first and last parts of the song; the middle becomes a quiet acoustic piece by Hackett.
The strongest piece as a whole here is "One For The Vine", a Banks-written piece about a disillusioned follower becoming a leader, and looking up to see that he has made the same mistakes as those he died from. In classic Genesis fashion, the song goes through several changes, starting slow, then going through an extended, fast-tempo instrumental section before a reprise of the opening closes the song. Story songs are always ambitious, as they can lose the listener, but this one is easy to track, and the listener can draw their own conclusion at the end. Longer songs never get radio airplay, but the composition of this one is gorgeous, an excellent prog-rock song.
The two part instrumental is another strong point, as it takes the listener through another, strictly musical, journey. In classic Genesis fashion, the piece goes through many changes while maintaining a consistent feel throughout. Hackett continue to play this one in his solo shows today.
This is an interesting album that often gets lost in the shuffle, as it falls in the period after Gabriel's departure, and before the band really established their new identity. Musically, it contains some of their strongest work, by not necessarily their most accessible. They straddle the line between prog and pop/rock, not really yet sure where they fit, and this makes for some fascinating music.