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Genesis - The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

4.30 | 2777 ratings

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4 stars The first Gabriel solo album

And in that context, the best Gabriel solo album as it avoids excessive dance tendencies and world music nonsense. Plus it was his best backing band. Obviously I'm joking a bit but you really can hear for the first time on this Genesis album the future artist Peter Gabriel breaking free from the boys he grew up with. You can hear moments that sound like his early solo albums, though the results are much better here, as early Gabriel solo records were pretty iffy affairs. Reading the words of the band members themselves it is pretty clear that the wheels were coming off the wagon.

"Something changed in the mood between Selling England and Lamb" (Hackett)

"The Lamb was at times a particularly miserable experience." (Collins)

"Of all my time in Genesis, my least favorite period was the writing of The Lamb." (Banks)

Gabriel's wife was having a difficult pregnancy, he was entertaining side projects which was angering the others, members were getting married and divorced, and the pressures of the group were escalating. In a tacky hotel room in Cleveland Ohio, Peter announced he was leaving the band after the completion of the current dates. So given the turbulence running through every layer of the band and creative process it is not surprising the final Gabriel era album is controversial, their own "Topographic Oceans" in some ways. It's a great album but falls just short of masterpiece status in my view.

I'll be brief. It is one of those grandiose epic progressive rock feasts that takes many plays over time to truly appreciate, and while far from my favorite Genesis album I have come to appreciate many parts of it. But to be a masterpiece an album of this length really needs to inspire me on the basis of the music because frankly the overblown lyrical themes are not enough. Topographic blew me away because the music was so phenomenally deep and mysterious but The Lamb can struggle with inconsistency. Had they opted to condense the best material to a single disc I believe it would be another masterpiece but here the killer quotient is just too diluted. Nice melodies emerge from tracks like "Carpet Crawlers", "Lilywhite Lilith," and "The Lamia" and occasionally Banks and Hackett deliver scrumptious lead work. I love a good long, meandering double album for the secrets that they bear out over time. Despite my mixed feelings of some tracks The Lamb is easily a must album for fans of Genesis and also of Gabriel solo. In fact Gabriel fans sampling Genesis for the first time should probably start here. As cool as it is, I believe the execution dropped a bit from the previous album, the masterpiece Selling England, and thus can only go 4 stars. Sometimes band conflict births absolute brilliance but not always. It almost worked here but there is some piece of the puzzle missing and I've not quite put my finger on it yet. Someday.

The version from the remastered box set sounds a bit flat to my ears, and the dreadful packaging of this version is just unforgivable. The discs slide in and out of stiff paper slots that virtually guarantee eventual scratching. When will they learn to stick with jewel cases in boxed sets and leave the paper sleeves to the professionals?

Finnforest | 4/5 |


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