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

SELLING ENGLAND BY THE POUND

Genesis

 

Symphonic Prog

4.64 | 4049 ratings

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Deliriumist
5 stars In case anybody's wondering, this happens to be my favorite album in music history. Why? - because it has a bunch of brilliant musical ideas come to life on one single piece of plastic. If there's ever going to be a Genesis reunion, I hope that when they record new material, they take this album as an example.

1. Dancing with the Moonlit Knight - Many reviewers have wrote that this track starts with Gabriel singing a capella and yes, it's true - he does in fact a good job at it. Although Gabriel has always had an edgy voice and also misses quite a few notes, he still keeps the listener interested. This proves why Gabriel is a much better singer than any robot. At some point of the beginning Gabriel stops and Hackett kicks in with a very simple but solid guitar riff with light support from Phil and Mike. Sometimes I wonder if this riff will ever be used in a hip-hop song - still I hope it never happens. Gabriel's vocals join in and the music progresses into something that could be considered as the chorus of this song. This is a very powerful and majestic section of the song much due to the mellotrons humming in the back and Gabriel changing his tone in favour of a more agressive manner. Also Phil and Mike are playng rhythms that seem to have no certain measure at all and Hackett adds more grandiosity with his guitar sounding like a band of trumpets. With the chorus passed, the music advances to a new section never heard from Genesis before - intersting listening to Genesis playing something reminiscent to Hard Rock/Heavy Metal with Hackett blasting his axe like a machine gun, Phil and Mike giving an upbeat support. Then the whole thing shifts up a gear while Hackett tapps away. Here he has a chance for a small solo wich then progresses to a harder version of the simple guitar riff heard in the beginning. The riff is then followed by the grandiose chorus shortly after. This time the upbeat 'Meta'l section after the chorus is stopped by a new weird theme from Banks (the sound is somewhat of an early digital harpsichord) . In this section there are many time changes with odd passages and stagnations. Then just as the listener expects a culmination, the music pulls back to a light atmospheric motion, based on two chords played by a harp??. Then a couple of minutes of this fluidity concludes the first track.

2. I Know What I Like - The big mother of an opening track is followed by a simple and naive second track. I know the lyrics have something to do with a lawn mower and so do the strange sound effects in the beginning. This song reminds me of a late Genesis song "Land of Confusion". These two songs have similar disco'ish choruses I think. There's not much to write about this one I'm afraid. The track is an excellent piece for a live act where the band can execute extended solos and...well...take a brake between the other more virtuosic works they've created.

3. Firth of Fifth - I don't know what the title means and I do not care. This is one of Genesis' best pieces. The intro - Bank's solo on a grand piano...it must be the best piano section ever...I mean it. It only takes this short intro to explain why Banks is a genius. Though it might seem there are many changes in time signatures, the measure always remains 4/4. After Banks proves his class, he builds a simple and a logical bridge to link the intro with the following. No hesitation - it all moves on with the same power as Banks left off. It's a very majestic section right in the beginning with few calmer low tides in the middle, but it still gives a colossal impression. The section is then cut off by Banks again (this song must be HIS masterpiece). In this section Banks gives support to a beautiful theme introduced by Gabriel's flute. After that Banks carries on alone with a more upbeat theme while Phil and Mike give slight accent to the beat. The same verse keeps on repeating and Banks keeps developing the theme until the music comes up to an unexpected bridge to...what?? It's the theme of Banks' intro, but now with the whole orchestra of Genesis. Prog just doesn't get any better than this...The biggest credit should go to Mike Rutheford who presents a very active and alive bass support throughout this section. And then Hackett steps in...he presents his most famous solo on the theme first presented by Gabriel's flute. The solo section is very dramatic and a bit melancholy. The same verse is repeated about 3-4 times until it finally solves into major...the emotion is undescribable here. Shortly after, the listener is presented with the majestic section from the beginning (I guess it gives the feeling of a complete piece). The song ends just the way it began...pleasantly

4. More Fool Me - Many have said that this song doesn't belong in this album. I actually don't mind this little piece here. It's only 3' long...It's a simple and a sweet song presented by a duet of Gabriel and Collins supported by Hackett's guitar. It's a kind of song you could hear at campfires and on albums like "Selling England by the Pound". Besides...your head would get screwed if you had complex tracks like "Firth of Fifth" and the following piece next to each other.

5. The Battle of Epping Forest - This is the most complex track on the album. I won't go to details because it's one hell of a difficult piece. So...most people know the story of the gangs...bla-bla...if not - read some other reviews. The piece begins with a cheery march - it fades in, it fades out. Everything, the fine musicians of Genesis do in this song creates a clear picture of what's happening. Big credit goes to Mr. Gabriel and his fantastic characteristics and lyrics in the middle section. It's a part when Gabriel tells a story of a priest who finds himself in some stripclub or something. The section is also a fine moment for Hackett, where he presents a fascinating and mysterious support line. Another great part is the very ending, where Hackett gets a chance for a solo again and what I like about this section the most is Phil's drumming. A sentence is carried out multible times and at the end of each sentence Collins performs a drummroll wich always ends half a beat too late, meaning that in one sentence Phil plays along measure, in the following he plays against it...I really like that one.

6. After the Ordeal - A piece from Hackett, yes? I tend to skip this one if I don't plan to listen to the album as a whole. This instrumental does have it's beautiful moments, but at times it's a piece of crap. The music doesn't seem to go in any certain direction and it's just a mix of some ideas from Hackett put together in a negligent manner. Of course that's only what I think. No, actually I think it's an OK track - a pleasant filler.

7. Cinema Show - The track begins with a beautiful 12-stringer intro wich gives hope for a very good song. And then Gabriel starts singing with a very soft and moving tone. Very romantic...No wonder - it's about Romeo and Juliet. More beauty is added by Gabriel's almost unnoticeable flute. The music then progresses to the chorus of the song wich is taken to a more intensive level while still keeping the sweetness. After that the listener is presented with a guitar section quite reminicient to one in Genesis' "Supper's Ready". Here Gabriel and Collins pick up a little tune singing, wich only adds more loveliness to the song. Then the music progresses to the chorus again. The second chorus is followed by a typical long instrumental section where Banks performs an extended keyboard solo wich finally with a variation of Hackett's riff in the opening song.

8. Aisle of Plenty - This track could be considered as the sequel to the first track. The track is mostly Hackett's now familiar riff repeated over and over again. Gabriel sings a couple of verses and then starts to make odd yodeling noises layered on one another, while the song gently fades away...

Deliriumist | 5/5 |

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