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Genesis - Nursery Cryme CD (album) cover

NURSERY CRYME

Genesis

 

Symphonic Prog

4.42 | 2168 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Negoba
Prog Reviewer
5 stars Slow Burner that will Eventually Capture You with its Brilliance

I went into this review fully expecting to give this album 4 stars and talking about how it was basically Foxtrot's little brother. Foreshadowing greatness, but still undeveloped. Fortunately, as is my habit before reviewing an album as complex as this one, I take several deep, fresh listens. It was only when I did this for this particular review that I realized what a treasure this album is. My main experience with this album was in my first rush of prog about 15 years ago, and at that time this one just didn't grab me in the same way SEBtP did. Now, my experience is quite a bit broader, and more importantly, I've become very familiar with the excellent album Trespass.

Nursery Cryme is not the lesser version of Foxtrot, but rather is the transition between Trespass and Foxtrot. Again, the presence of Anthony Phillips was a huge part of the Trespass sound, and he played a part in the songwriting for Cryme. At the same time, Phil Collins and Steve Hackett are now on board, and the band seems to be brimming with excitement as both members' performances are full of energy, and both are given quite a bit of room to shine. Hackett's powerful leads dominate "Return of Giant Hogweed," while Collins' jazzy virtuosity is all over the entire album but is especially impressive on "Hogweed" and "Fountain of Salmacis."

Thinking of the album looking backward instead of forward, the ethereal voices on "Seven Stones" are the last sign of the debut album's feel. But what is also preserved is some of the best melodic sense of the Peter Gabriel era. "The Musical Box" sounds more like later albums with Gabriel following his characteristic melodic contours while spinning his story telling. But "Harold the Barrel," "Return of Giant Hogweed," "Fountain of Salmacis," and the Collins vocal piece "For Absent Friends" all have hummable melodies that are distinct to the individual songs. Collins' vocals are used to better effect than any album up until he takes over the lead on Trick of the Tail. The short "Harlequin" sounds like it was taken straight off of Trespass.

In fact, the only weak part of the album (which unfortunately affects everything) is the production. Collins' vocals are recorded and mixed very poorly. The whole mix is a little muddy and dull, leaving the band sounding a bit amateurish. At the same time, the low-fi recording makes the disc sound almost live, like a good soundboard recording rather than a true studio disc. The looseness and energy are captured despite the sound being less than sharp.

If you read through the reviews here, the theme I've brought up recurs fairly often. That is, a somewhat weak first impression but deepening appreciation with multiple listens. I do admit that there is nothing here that totally transports me to another world like "Supper's Ready," "Carpet Crawlers", or "Firth of Fifth" but this is an album with very consistent high quality, incredible energy, and deserves its place among the Genesis masterpieces.

Negoba | 5/5 |

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