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

SELLING ENGLAND BY THE POUND

Genesis

 

Symphonic Prog

4.62 | 2874 ratings

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Queen By-Tor
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Would someone tell him where his country lies already!?

Selling England By The Pound is yet another one of those albums that really doesn't need another review stacked on top of it's already hundreds upon hundreds of reviews that already say more about it that any one person could. Of course, like most other 'classic' albums, this is for a reason. When it came to the prog game in the 70s there were few that could match the symphonic power of Genesis at the top of their game. The albums they released with the full power line-up (and even two without) are considered among the best to ever be recorded by the progressive genre in general. This little disc is no exception. Following close on the heels of their freshly released masterpiece Foxtrot, Genesis here decides to carry on the style they'd tinkered with on Trespass and mastered on Nursery Cryme. Larger than life orchestrations backed by clever and inspired lyrics sung by one of prog's great minstrels, a Mr. Peter Gabriel himself.

This albums does not have a monster side long track like Supper's Ready, but the main compositions it does house have just as much power backed into a more concise punch. For those who have not yet heard the album, it contains four main compositions as well as four 'minor' (minor used loosely here) compositions. On the first side all the songs are on the short side (two between 8-9 minutes and two between 3-4 minutes) and each song holds well on its own. The second side has the two songs which break the 10-minute barrier and also two supporting tracks which work in tandem with the rest of the album. Even the layout of the album itself has been well thought out it seems, and while it may remain a mystery if it is so just because of the limit of working on 'sides', it still works none the less.

On side one we have a couple of Genesis's best moments. Opening the fray is Dancing With The Moonlit Knight, a tour-de-force of heavy synths and guitars after a mellow intro which has sometimes been called, ''an unexpected headbanging moment'' as the tone shifts. Less heavy and more on the 'beautiful' side is the other longer composition, Firth Of Fifth. This one with it's swirling synth work and excellent instrumental sections has sometimes been called ''Genesis's best moment'', and some will even argue that it tops the entirety of Supper's Ready. Judge for yourself, but the instrumental interplay in this song is simply wonderful and a joy to listen to over and over again. The other two songs on the first side are sometimes frowned upon, likely because of their relative simplicity. But they still work. I Know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe) has a catchy chorus backed by harmonized vocals. A fun and short song. More Fool Me comes off as rather uninteresting at times, but it still has a kick coming into the song when Collins finally lets loose with the vocals. Somewhat of a sign of things to come from later (and less popular with the proggers) Genesis, but a modest song on the album. But even one modest song cannot stop this behemoth of an album now.

Coming into the second side we're treated with another couple of Genesis's finest moments. The Battle Of Epping Forest is another heavier song with its sharp and pressing vocals from Gabriel backed by war-like instruments to further the atmosphere of the tune which reaches its coda with After The Ordeal, a soft outro. The Cinema Show is another exercise in keyboard wizardry backed by some great vocals and guitars, all around good performances make for a very moody song in the same kind of atmosphere that Firth was in before. It all comes to an end with a medley of all the songs on the album in Aisle Of Plenty.

Chuck this review on top of the already massive pile. No surprise that this one is going to get a blistering 5 out of 5. This is an - if not the - essential masterpiece by a wonderful prog band in their classic era. This is one that no prog fan should be without. Recommended for all! Don't miss it!!

Queen By-Tor | 5/5 |

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