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

SELLING ENGLAND BY THE POUND

Genesis

 

Symphonic Prog

4.63 | 2901 ratings

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4 stars More Fool Phil...

The key to this album - and to all pre 1980s Genesis - is "Firth of Fifth", an incredible piece of keyboard work by any standards, moving subtley through time and key changes, using a wide variety of textures and timbres to produce an 8-minute masterpiece that feels MUCH too short - you just want to reach for that rewind button! Firth of Fifth is a 6-star track (out of 5).

"Dancing With the Moonlight Knights" is a wonderful socio-commentary partially dressed in legend. The music evolves delicately and sublimely - so much so that you get to wondering if the guys just sat around the studio going "I think this would sound good next". The levels of intricacy belie any notion that this is pure improvisation, but for the first 3 tracks, the album mixes the improvised feel with ambiguous but rigid structure producing some of the finest music ever committed to tape.

Then it's all undone in an instant. "More Fool Me" is trash. A pulpy love song sung by a straining Collins to a basic acoustic guitar (by Genesis standards). A track that the skip button was made for. This album loses 2 points for such an atrocious piece of dross (hence I only awarded 4 stars).

"The Battle of Epping Forest" is a wierd one. Personally, I find it very irritating and repetitive. However, it has many Genesis hallmarks, and is obviously carefully thought out (unlike "More Fool..."). I still don't like it though.

Fortunately, "Cinema Show" and "Aisle of Plenty" redeem almost everything - shining examples of why Genesis were one of the leaders and forefathers of prog - and everything that's great about the genre. Beautiful guitar and keyboard solos shine above masterly drumming and solid basslines, negotiating perplexing time signatures and key changes as if they were the most natural thing in the world. The album ends as well as it began, with that same improvised yet carefully structured feel.

One day I'll sit down and tear apart the structure to find out where it all goes - because one thing is for sure - there is no such thing as Sonata form utilised anywhere on this album (althoug "More Fool" and "Battle" both utilise the very boring common song structure - verse, chorus, etc. Yuk!).

If you like prog, this should be in your collection even if only for "Firth of Fifth". Quite honestly, this track makes buying this album compulsory!

Certif1ed | 4/5 |

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