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Genesis - Nursery Cryme CD (album) cover

NURSERY CRYME

Genesis

 

Symphonic Prog

4.41 | 3088 ratings

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TheWillowFarmer
4 stars Genesis had some internal struggles after recording Trespass, which resulted in John Mayhew and Anthony Phillips leaving the band and their respective positions would later be occupied by drummer Phil Collins and guitarist Steve Hackett. Nursery Cryme was released in 1971 and marks the debut of the classic Genesis line-up: Peter Gabriel, Steve Hackett, Tony Banks, Phil Collins and Mike Rutherford, which is most people's favorite incarnation of Genesis, and for good reason.

The Musical Box (10:30) - ★★★★★

Probably my favorite opening track from the Peter Gabriel era of Genesis, the new Genesis line-up shows that it means business now and brings us a dynamic song that seamlessly segues between a relaxing acoustic number with only Gabriel and Hackett on the lead and a rocking full band work, some of the heaviest material from Genesis there and Hackett's guitar work is breath-taking. Gabriel's vocal performance is also amazing, especially in the closing section of the song when he sings "Why don't you touch me? TOUCH ME! NOW! NOW! NOW! NOW! NOW!", bringing life to the rather creepy lyrical content about a girl who cut a boy's head and now his ghost posessed his musical box and wants to have sex with her.

For Absent Friends (1:48) - ★★★★☆

Written by no less than the two new guys, Collins and Hackett, this one is somewhat special because it also is the first song to feature Phil Collins on vocals, and his vocals are beautiful here, kinda similar to Peter Gabriel, but more soothing. The song itself is a simple, short acoustic number that serves more as an interlude after the intense ending to The Musical Box and the next track, and the lyrics are just about two widows visiting the graves of their lost loved ones. Short, but very sweet, I like this a lot for what it's worth.

The Return of the Giant Hogweed (8:09) - ★★★★★

Right after that, the album starts to rock again, I love how Steve Hackett's guitar work and Tony Banks' organ work perfectly well together, Mike has a great bassline, Gabriel sings in a rougher tone than normal, making the song sound more threatening, and Phil Collins' drumming also kicks ass, especially his pedal work near the end. What makes me like this song as well is that it does sound all serious and intense while the lyrical content about giant hogweeds growing up, eating people and dominating the country is kinda comical or at least absurd in a way.

Seven Stones (5:08) - ★★★★☆

This feels a bit like something that would come out of Trespass, but not in a bad Visions of Angels or Dusk way, but more like White Mountain instead. Banks' keyboard gives this track a pretty bleak atmosphere compared to the ones before it, especially near the end when he uses the mellotron he got from King Crimson, it's pretty haunting stuff. But that's not all of it, Gabriel and Collins sing the chorus on this one together near the end and their voices harmonize perfectly with each other, this has always been one of my favorite things about this Genesis line-up. I don't really understand what the lyrics are about, though, I guess it's about an old man telling stories about how he escaped life and death situations by mere chance, I dunno.

Harold the Barrel (3:01) - ★★★★☆

The poppiest track from this album, Phil's drumming sounds funky as hell and he once again dual sings with Gabriel as they're accompanied by Banks' piano and Rutherford's bass, Hackett's presence is kinda subtle this time around. But this bouncy, seemingly happy track tells the story about Harold, a restaurant owner who's about to jump off the top of a building and commit suicide as a mob, the guys from BBC and even his mother convince him to not do so, all of these being interpreted by Gabriel, who changes his vocal tone as he incarnates all the different characters. This is more or less the contrary of The Return of the Giant Hogweed, with a slightly serious lyrical content accompanied by happy-sounding music, and I like it.

Harlequin (2:56) - ★★★☆☆

Well, this one is my least favorite track here, you might say it's filler, but it does have its charm, another acoustic number, but this time with Peter and Phil singing together, although I do think Phil's voice is much more audble than Peter's... maybe it's just my imagination, but oh well.

The Fountain of Salmacis (8:02) - ★★★★★

Closing Nursery Cryme with aplomb is this fantastic track with some of Phil's best drumming in the band being complemented by Mike's pulsating basslines, Banks' mellotron work is even greater than before and Hackett has some of his strongest guitar moments here and Gabriel performing some falsettos are my favorite moments here, especially in the "Nothing will cause us to part, heed me o gods!" part. Lyrically, it's based off Greek mythology, telling the story of Salmacis' attempt at raping Hermaphroditus.

Nursery Cryme is not as widely regarded as the three albums Genesis would release later on, but I love it, the more I listen to this album, the better it gets. But I would advise you to listen to the 2007 remaster, the original one has a very muddy production and the actual music does suffer from that, which made some critics dislike Nursery Cryme back then as well.

TheWillowFarmer | 4/5 |

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