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Genesis - Selling England By The Pound CD (album) cover

SELLING ENGLAND BY THE POUND

Genesis

 

Symphonic Prog

4.64 | 4094 ratings

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apps79
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars During the tour for promoting ''Foxtrot'' Charisma found a good chance to launch the first ever live album of Genesis.''Live'' was released in July 73', the bulk of the album was recorded at the De Montfort Hall in Leicester, while ''The return of the giant hogweed'' was captured at the Free Trade Hall in Manchester.It was around the same time, when most of Genesis members started working on former bandmate Anthony Phillips' solo album ''The geese and the ghost'', a work not released until 1977.Shorty afterwards Genesis revisited the Island Studios with producer John Burns to record ''Selling England by the pound'', an ironic title for those believing that Genesis shifted towards the US market scene.The album was released in October of the same year.

One of the most complete works in the history of Prog Rock, featuring satirical lyrics from the British culture, but also monumental musicianship and an impressive prog value.''Dancing with the moonlit knight'' is a fabulous opener, where shades of Genesis' folky flavors are still around, but well adapted by a highly symphonic sound with loads of Melotron, synths and organ and Hackett delivering his new guitar techniques, this one is swirling around very complex themes and dramatic symphonic breaks.''I know what I like (in your wardrobe)'' is a lovely Pop Rock ballad with charming vocal harmonies and an airy atmosphere, which still retains much of Genesis' sophisticated profile, but ''Firth Of fifth'' is the real deal of the opening side.With Gabriel's excellent vocal alternations from sweet singing to a hoarse lyricism and a masterful instrumental background, featuring smooth but professional grand piano preludes and interludes and Banks' soaring Moog synthesizer flights, the track is slowly led to a majestic outro with Hackett's crying solos and Banks' organ sounding like an orchestra.Absolutely brilliant.''More fool me'' is a short acoustic piece with Collins on lead vocals, somekind of a British lullaby soundwise, pretty sweet and easy going.

Side 2 opens with the 12-min. ''The battle of epping forest'', a symphonic tour-de-force along the lines of the 70's British Prog academy with light rural overtones over an orchestral, complicated instrumental enviroment, interrupted by lyrical parts and melodic lines.One of the most theatrical still flawless vocal performances of Gabriel is featured on the track, which manages to keep an unmet balance between electric, acoustic and keyboard-led themes, with Banks playing nicely the organ and electric piano, while the ending section is again superb with a dramatic atmosphere.''After the ordeal'' has to be one of the most underrated pieces ever written by the band, a light Symphonic Rock instrumental with an ethereal atmosphere, shining through the collaboration between Hackett's FOCUS-like soft electric tunes and Banks' lovely Classical-drenched piano lines, ending with some folky flute by Gabriel and a memorable melodic solo.What an introduction for what has to be one of the best pieces in Prog Rock history, the 11-min. ''The cinema show'', which may sound too bucolic and mellow for its opening half, but structurewise it's one of the best songs ever written.Gabriel at his best, and his best demands a calm, rural atmosphere of acoustic textures, piano, organ and flute, with Hackett entering gently in the process for a soft electric enviroment, soon to break into Banks' Mellotron washes and unforgettable Moog synth soloing, eventually the piece will close in a more complex way, which still is showered by lovely melodic lines on keyboards.The very short ''Aisle of plenty'' plays its role in a sufficient way, a mellow farewell with Mellotron, guitar and soft drumming with Gabriel behind the microphone, brilliant way to close the ultimate prog journey.

Words are poor to describe the inspiration and influence of this album in Prog Rock history.A Symphonic Rock monument, which is pretty complex with all these thematic moves, keyboard flashing and electroacoustic changes, but still keeps a down-to-earth profile.Among the top 10 Prog Rock albums of all times, no doubt, and an essential way to start your collection regarding the genre.

apps79 | 5/5 |

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