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

SELLING ENGLAND BY THE POUND

Genesis

 

Symphonic Prog

4.62 | 2847 ratings

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Mr. Gone
4 stars This is a very good album - probably my favorite of the Gabriel era. It has some wonderful melodies, deep moods, and some very nifty lyrical turns. A nice pastoral feel permeates the proceedings.

So why only four stars? It comes down to a couple of things for me - firstly, "The Battle of Epping Forest" has some dodgy, weak moments - notably Peter Gabriel's more spoken-word sections (not the "reverend" bit, but the sections preceding "Here comes the cavalry..."). Add to it the not-terrible but not-fantastic "More Fool Me". So there are these downers - but that wouldn't necessarily in and of itself chop off a star for me.

The bigger issue, as I see it, is that there seems to be a certain lack of energy at certain points. I think this most specifically applies to "The Cinema Show". The rendering on "Seconds Out" just blows this version away - much more power, enthusiasm and sheer majesty during the ending keyboard solo (and yes, I will say that I kind of missed the oboe/flute passages on that live version that were present here, although Steve Hackett's guitar tweets during that section are a very nice substitute). Live versions of "I Know What I Like" and "Firth of Fifth" also often had a bit more "oomph" to them.

There's no question that this is a highly worthy album. It's intricate, at times beautiful, and a very enjoyable listening experience. "Dancing With the Moonlit Knight" is a fun, energetic romp with distinctly wry take on British society and a gorgeous ending section. Hackett's solo on "Fifth" may be his single finest moment in Genesis (or maybe his career) - just incredible feeling emanating from those strings, while Mike Rutherford and Phil Collins provide the perfect foundation with bass/guitar and drums to let the solo truly soar. "After the Ordeal" is a pleasant instrumental fitting nicely with the overall feel of the album. "Aisle of Plenty" reprises "Dancing"'s musical themes but with a weird take on being in a supermarket, presented with odd vocal overlays and a nifty drum roll at its peak. And "I Know What I Like" features sitar and extensive percussion - impossible to replicate live, but rather neat-sounding in this context (even if the protagonist is a bit of an underachiever).

All that having been said - I sometimes wish there was just a bit more muscle here. So, that's why I give it four well-earned stars.

Mr. Gone | 4/5 |

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