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Genesis - Nursery Cryme CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

4.42 | 3250 ratings

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4 stars While not as much of a stark jump in terms of sound and quality from 'Trespass' compared to the difference between that and 'From Genesis To Revelation', I do find this album to be in some ways, more significant with what steps were taken. The most apparent change is the increase of musicianship present here, with a great deal of it due to this being the album in which both Steve Hackett and Phil Collins made their first appearance. Along with this, while similar in sound to 'Trespass', this album is much more mature in general. Each song feels more distinctive, and it's clear that this is a much more ambitious effort in general, with 3 songs clocking in at over 8 minutes, each without a moment wasted. Furthermore, there is definitely a sense of comfort here, no uncertainty that you could find in parts of 'Trespass', allowing the band to sound more fun in the process, while still maintaining high quality.

The album opens boldly ad powerfully with 'The Musical Box', which is just as great as is generally considered by fans of the band, that is to say, this piece is amazing. I love the opening few minutes of it, with its absolute beauty, with Gabriel's voice sounding excellent, especially during the chorus. The constant build up past these first few minutes is what really impresses me though, with what begins as a light, folksy melody developing into a highly energetic instrumental passage, all dying down before crescendoing a second time, this time even more spectacularly until the song explodes. 'Return of the Giant Hogweed' is the other song that I would consider to be the high point of the album, taking a slightly heavier, more energetic approach in the vein of 'The Knife', all the way down to an intro that sounds fairly similar, this one just containing more guitar. Despite the fact that the sound mixing is quite thin, and that 'Genesis' in general is a light sounding band, this song still manages to contain an incredible amount of intensity and power, but still manages to be such a fun track at the same time. This also features some of Gabriel;s more interesting lyricism that borders on absurdism at points, and while this is explored more later, I do find this to be one of my favourite examples of it, mostly because of the somewhat amusing imagery it provides. The final epic on the album, the closer 'The Fountain Of Salmacis', while not quite as amazing as the other two, still manages to be an excellent track. It's a much more beautiful track in general, with the instrumentation at points being much more focused on creating particular soundscapes or capturing emotion. This provides sections of the song in which I feel as if I could just melt and be carried away by the music. The one other track which I find extremely noteworthy is the short, amusing 'Harold the Barrell', which is the song that accentuates the fact that the band was finally becoming much more comfortable with their music and was finally able to have some of their personality shine through. Unlike the consistently awful and often talked about humour pieces by 'Emerson, Lake and Palmer', this feels much more natural, as if it is a part of the band rather than something just tacked on. This isn't even mentioning the fact that it's wonderfully catchy and generally enjoyable to listen to, and while not the best composed, I do love what it represents in terms of 'Genesis'' evolution.

Despite the absolutely immense praise I have for the high points of this album, I can't overlook the few flaws this album has. For one, 'For Absent Friends' and 'Harlequin' are throwaway filler without anything particularly special about them. I also find the song 'Seven Stones', while overall very pretty, to simply be somewhat unmemorable and bland. As a final note, I do find the mic in general to be quite uneven in parts, with the bass almost always being barely audible, along with the sound for the majority of the tracks ('The Fountain of Salmacis' being a big exception) being quite thin.

There is no doubt in my mind that this is a great album, with some tracks being nothing short of breathtaking, and these high points made this album a hard one to score for me. On one hand, there were so many moments which blew me away, but on the other hand, there were certain tracks or moments which felt unnecessary or dull. In the end I've gone with a 4 star rating as opposed 5, simply because I do find that the album's listening experience is somewhat centred around waiting for the next amazing track, rather than simply taking in and enjoying what is going on, leading to the conclusion that while cohesive in sound, the album isn't as tight a listening experience as it could have been. I absolutely love this album, and I highly recommend it if you're one of the few who hasn't delved into the work of 'Genesis'.

Best songs: The Musical Box, Return of the Giant Hogweed, The Fountain of Salmacis

Weakest songs: For Absent Friends, Harlequin

Verdict: This is where Genesis definitely began to gather steam, with more refined and ambitious compositions, along with allowing their personality to flourish, all with great instrumentation. While I personally find it it be slightly patchy, I still find this album to be well worth listening to.

Kempokid | 4/5 |


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