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Genesis - Nursery Cryme CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

4.42 | 3376 ratings

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5 stars Somehow the entire vibe of 'Nursery Cryme' evokes the weird underbelly of Victorian culture, a little of which is depicted in the artwork. It's definitely got an "old-time-y" feel, while also being a shining example of a band pressing nowhere but forward. A true prog masterpiece that I can't find any fault with.

The addition of Phil Collins on drums and Steve Hackett on guitar brought the band to a whole new level, Hackett's wide array of effects only beginning to reveal themselves on this album. In Collins they gained an effective back-up vocalist as well as a stellar drummer. It's him on "For Absent Friends", is it not? It's rarely discussed or revealed, more people claiming 1973's "More Fool Me" as his first lead vocal for Genesis, but this song seems to show otherwise. (He's also all over "Harlequin".) "For Absent Friends" is an innocent enough track, a mild rest-stop between the ultra-dramatic intensity of "The Musical Box" and regal "The Return Of The Giant Hogweed". "The Musical Box" is to this era of Genesis what "The Knife" was to the 'Trespass' era, a definitive piece, perfectly written and totally convincing. Gabriel takes on the characters with ease, and I much prefer this studio version over the way the vocal was treated live--I feel like Gabriel went too far with the old man's cracking, croaking voice in the song's final moments. Sure, he was getting totally into character, but it seemed to be at the expense of the magnificent melodies he creates here.

Other gigantic Genesis epics are here in the form of "The Return Of The Giant Hogweed" and "The Fountain Of Salmacis". Tony Banks really lays down solid foundations on these awesome tracks, getting the most out of his limited keyboard arsenal (which exploded in size in the band's next phase!). The synergy of the Rutherford/Hackett team takes off marvelously inside these songs, Rutherford owner of one of the best bass sounds in prog at this time.

Solid and slightly more sensible (less manic?) tracks appear too. "Harold The Barrel" is a fun and nutty romp, Gabriel at his eccentric tale-telling best. "Seven Stones" is an underrated song, one they should've played long into their career, a stirring tune that recalls the melancholy of 'Trespass' in the best way. "Harlequin"'s vocal harmonies carry an almost Crosby, Stills & Nash tone to them. "Yuck!" you might say, and I might too if the song didn't expand outward to add another comforting bit of color to this already well-rounded album.

It's strange that Tony Banks says they were disappointed with this album once they'd completed it, feeling they hadn't progressed far enough from 'Trespass'. While the link between 'Trespass' and 'Nursery Cryme' is closer than that of 'From Genesis To Revelation' to 'Trespass', the tunes are all brighter and more dynamic, everything just a little more involved and complex. The instrumentation is allowed to shine thanks to their ever- improving skills and the lift in production quality--still raw at this point, but there's such charm to John Anthony's work, it suits the material well. So I'll have to disagree with the master, this is no let-down, just one of the best Genesis albums you'll ever hear.

slipperman | 5/5 |


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