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




Symphonic Prog

4.63 | 3836 ratings

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5 stars In 1973, after releasing their first live album, Genesis made a work of art that is very far removed from traditional rock and roll. If you're not a fan of prog, you might not like this one, but then again maybe: there are some great melodies throughout. Otherwise, this is music that you really have to sit down and pay attention to to fully grasp. The first time I heard it was at a friend's house as background music to discussion, large groups of people drinking, and band equipment and furniture being moved, and the only thing that stood out were the keyboard solos. When I got it home, though, it revealed itself to have much more depth than just its instrumental workouts, and even after the next listen, I hadn't really caught on to it completely. These are some rich compositions, well thought-out and perfectly played, with witty, obscure lyrics everywhere. I'll be honest - I don't know what all or even many of Peter Gabriel's puns and play-on-words, etc. refer to, but almost every line is a nod to something that was going on in England or the world around that time, and along with the complex music, can serve as a multi-layered puzzle if one so wishes to dissect it. The first piece, "Dancing With the Moonlit Knight", is a journey, going from a sombre a cappella intro that gradually adds instruments to a sudden fast section that may or may not have already been described before as space-prog-metal. Steve Hackett pulls out those hammer-on arpeggios he used on "The Musical Box", but this time it's tasteful and classy, as is the second jam where the sound of him in harmony with Tony Banks on a tricky long run that kinda reminds me of Yes is almost indistinguishable. In between these two sections is a powerfully majestic 4/4 stomp boasting a breathtaking choir Mellotron sound and Phil Collins' ability to effortlessly jazz-up a straight beat. After the aforementioned long run, fading in and out atmospherics from both Tony and Steve that is so relaxing and transportative, it's hard to believe it's on a rock record. This is just one example of how much is going on on this album, and to describe the classically formed "Firth of Fifth", the witty, untraditionally structured "Battle of Epping Forest", and the delicately gorgeous "Cinema Show" in such (or even more) detail would be possible, but to hear them is really the only way... I will say, though, that both "Firth of Fifth" and "Battle of Epping Forest" contain two of Steve Hackett's best solos ever, the end of "Cinema Show" may be Tony Banks' best solo, and the whole album contains some of the band's best playing.
7headedchicken | 5/5 |


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