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Genesis - Selling England by the Pound CD (album) cover

SELLING ENGLAND BY THE POUND

Genesis

 

Symphonic Prog

4.64 | 4261 ratings

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Lupton
5 stars I remember specifically what I was doing when I first heard Selling England By the Pond.It was 1976 and I was upstairs playing with my Lego set when I heard the most beautiful piece of music I had ever heard in my fourteen years wafting from the speakers in the Living Room downstairs.The music I could hear turned out to be the guitar solo from "The Firth of Fifth" and so began an enduring love for the music of Genesis that endures to this day.I thought I would start my review of this album with this little recollection because my ultimate appreciation of it is tied to how I initially experienced it.So to my review...

Genesis eased off a little after the somewhat dark and intense Foxtrot album.This recording is substantially more relaxed and the immaculate production is warm and accessible.It is also a perfectly balanced album with each epic length tracks followed by a shorter song. The opening track, "Dancing With the Moonlit Night" is an absolute Classic starting as a plainsong and gradually building up instrumentally before the rousing chorus and instrumental break which showcases Steve Hackett's innovative finger-tapping technique.The closing section with arpeggiated guitar and mellotron evokes images of floating down a river.Lyrically it is a delight with Peter Gabriel's wonderfully puns and wordplay. The next track is pure pop and a top 30 hit to boot."I Know What I like" is a fun little tune that also helps dispel the notion that Genesis had a purely"Prog" period and a "Pop" period. The next track, "Firth Of Fifth"is for me the quintessential Genesis song,full of grandeur flawlessly structured, with a memorable Tony Banks piano intro and of course that achingly beautiful guitar solo by Steve Hackett.It is truly the best thing on this album. I know a lot of people dislike "More Fool Me"mainly because Phil Collins sings it and it is, well another simple pop song with just simple guitar accompaniment. I must admit I used to feel a bit the same. However after a few listens, it reveals itself to be a particularly poignant ode to love, loss and regret and it is quite beautiful. Side 2 opens with "The Battle Of Epping Forest".I have always loved the way it starts with a little march as if the song is about a real historic battle as opposed to what the song is actually about which is a modern day gang war.Musically it is Genesis at their most light hearted and playful.Again the wordplay and Gabriel's silly voices is what makes this song fun to listen to. At nearly twelve minutes it really is too long but I always end up listening to it all the way through because it is just so entertaining and genuinely amusing. "After the Ordeal" is a pleasant little Steve Hackett instrumental. It has a slightly Medieval feel which suits the mood of the album as a whole. "The Cinema Show"is the other great classic track essentially a two part track with with a vocal first half followed by an exuberant keyboard solo.Michael Rutherford's twelve string guitar playing during the vocal part is quite exquisite.The harmonised vocals by Gabriel and Collins just before the second chorus set against the acoustic guitars reminds me of Crosby Still and Nash. The final track "Aisle Of Plenty" revisits the opening track and brings the album to a logical conclusion with yet more puns.Tess Co-Op erates-pure genius.

I am not sure if I have added anything new next to the myriad of other reviews of this album.It is interesting how this album seems to continue to grow in stature year after year.

Lupton | 5/5 |

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