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Genesis - Nursery Cryme CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

4.42 | 2898 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

5 stars So, "Nursery Cryme." Oh, I've got some stuff to say about this album. Believe me, it took me about two and a half years to get this album. That's a long time. I know. I'll do my best at not writing something that sounds a lot like a synopsis of the album as I usually do. This is an epic review, so do not eat the whole sandwich; find the ingredients that you think you would like.

What is the essence of the album? Well, I have some breaking news for you: there is not a single sucker on this album, except for, maybe, the silly 'Harold the Barrel.' I mean, it has nothing to do with the loud, rocksy side of Genesis, nor does it have anything to do with the soft, ambient side of the group. At least Peter Gabriel's vocal melodies are very much acceptable along with the piano coda. And the whole song is so fast it's just funny, but it in a good way. I don't think the music in it, nor the lyrics, need to be taken seriously. It's just there for fun, especially since some of Peter's brief comic vocal outtakes are audible.

Other than that, the album is simply delightful unless I once again feel this indirect (i.e. indeliberate) pressure from the prog rock fans, George Starostin, and John McFerrin, who love 'The Return of the Giant Hogweed.' Under such psychological circumstances I usually experience the awakening of this instinct inside me that says: "OK, find something you hate about this album." Time has told me that now I just can't find anything dismal. I just hate that counter-acting (or reacting) instinct. But sometimes I just keep following it. I don't know why. But enough of me and back to the album. I just wanted to point out a significant factor that affects my judgement.

To the really good parts of the album now. Oh, we are looking at six tracks out of seven here! 'The Musical Box' is nothing short of a deeply emotional, schizophrenic piece. Why schizophrenic? Well, it is two-sided. On one hand you have this gentle and pretty ambient side maintained with a bunch of excerpts like the intro, the part about Ol' King Cole's fiesta, and the fugue "She is a lady, she's got time", penned by Tony Banks. I think those ideas sprung up somehow from "Trespass" and paved way for something that would become the coda to "Dancing with the Moonlit Knight" and the whole of "More Fool Me." On the other hand, you have a freaking powerhorse making its way like the wind through time as Phil Collins is hitting his butt off on the drums, aptly backing Steve Hackett and Tony Banks. All of that is topped off with a cherry in the form of a sexual coda: "Why don't you touch me?! Touch me?!" Peter Gabriel wanted sex and violence (particularly violence a little similar to that on 'The Knife'), and he got it. He wanted something in the spirit of The Who, and he got something more powerful than anything I've heard from The Who's catalog. Hear that bad girl at least once in your lives. Spoiler alert: it has a Hackett solo that is mixed too low. But that's the only rough spot on the track. Other than that, you have to mark the following words: the whole thing is one of the best things, if not exactly the best thing, that I have ever heard in all of prog rock. I'm not taking a dogmatic stance here! How about that?

After that we have the underrated "For Absent Friends", Collins and Hackett's first shot at songwriting for the group. I have some other breaking news for you: this is a one fine mighty ballad. For me it works like decent ambient music. In my opinion, decent ambient music evokes images in my head to complement the sound; it does not leave me with a choice to come up with some images myself. Same can be said of this song. You have an afternoon with an overcast sky, with people walking out of the church and "leaving two-pence on the plate." Then "they wait to board the bus that ambles down the street." Here I could consider Phil Collins as a "vocal twin" of Peter Gabriel. That just almost reduced me to tears. There is just something about this kind of atmosphere that acts on my deepest senses. Maybe it's because I was born and partly raised in St.-Petersburg, Russia. We St.-Petersburgians are used to kind of thing almost every day, that is the overcast sky and the rain. I have some positive psychological thoughts about rain. I suppose it has something to do with my personal nostalgia, but I may be wrong.

OK, enough melancholy, because the next track is something different. Get this: it's about a plant conquering human race. Can you dig it? That Victorian explorer sure was clueless about the hogweed. Here is the group's another chance to demonstrate their taste in good music, if not just some instrumental prowess. It sure has a weird plot, but that does not act as a turn-off to me. Wait a minute; don't miss that one-minute coda where the band is just flipping out! Without that coda the track definitely would have earned an okayish four from me. If you think about it, again, it seems like some of the ideas from "Trespass" are recycled into Genesis' later works, like the ending. The ending sounds somewhat like the ending of 'Visions of Angels' - long and moody. I just had to give 'Hogweed' a five for that coda, no matter how sophomoric in terms of music-writing the rest sounds.

The next track, which was a five-star nominee in accord with my judgment, is 'Seven Stones.' Moody and dramatic, it keeps me enthralled throughout its entire time. However, the excessive references to The Old Man wiggle my patience a wee-bit (like Gabriel's singing about mortar and trees, although the mentioning of nature is, actually, better.) What is the thing that almost earned it the fifth star? It's the moving Mellotron solo that starts at 3:58. Don't miss it. Is this white music at its absolute best? Probably. Not that Katy Perry and Justin Bieber fans would care much; but if you like serious music that is not as serious as that from two-three centuries ago, give it at least one listen.

Since we have discussed track number five, let's get to something that in a matter of about ten minutes made its way out of the two-star status into five stars after having the low rating for those two and a half years. I do have a little reservation about 'Harlequin''s quality. That is because the harmonic complexity of the verses manages to lose me every once in a while. "But, hey, man! How did it get a five?" The answer is simple: the chorus. Every time I hear the first words of the chorus, evocatively sung by Peter Gabriel, I'm ready to hear Hackett's guitar supplying some darn fine moodiness, to which I would add one more note of my own. "That's it?" Well, yes! It's that guitar that turned me on to the entire song that lit up like a light bulb. Talking about magic, huh? Overall, the song is very pretty, but it's the chorus that was the hit for me. Then "Though your eyes are dim, all of the pieces in the sky" clicked with me. After that the music of the verses was no longer a problem.

Last, but not least, "The Fountain of Salmacis" is another four-star victor in my Windows Media Player. Time did not allow me to grasp the beauty and power of this puppy right away, as in the case of the rest of the album. I remember writing a bad review on it inside my head about four months ago. But things had finally happened for the two of us, starting with that tense instrumental clip that begins at 3:15. Then Gabriel's melodies became pure delight, which followed by Banks' Mellotron and Hackett's guitar in the end of the piece. Unfortunately, the guitar is too low in the mix (a-gain). Well, what can I do?

"I have one question for you, sir. If you have so many reservations about the album, why are you giving at a five?" I gave the album four and a half stars, actually. It is in accord with the general impression the record made on me, granted that it took a long time to be fully appreciated, so it's close to prog perfection. It also makes sense as an arithmetic average. But how did I rate each track individually?


'Musical Box' - *****

'For Absent Friends' - *****

'The Return of the Giant Hogweed' - *****

'Seven Stones' - ****

'Harold the Barrel' - ***

'Harlequin - *****

'The Fountain of Salmacis' - ****

Stamp: "I like it" (i.e. not for modern pop lovers.)

Dayvenkirq | 5/5 |


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