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Genesis - Nursery Cryme CD (album) cover

NURSERY CRYME

Genesis

 

Symphonic Prog

4.42 | 2126 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Xonty
5 stars "Nursery Cryme" is the album when Genesis began their true progressive rock ethos, producing a string of sophisticated, prog rock masterpieces, this being the first one. After recruiting Hackett and Collins, following the departure of Anthony Phillips (one of their main driving forces), they began to knuckle down and their new style began to take shape on this album. Whilst not their best of the "Classic era", it marks a cornerstone from the more juvenile "Trespass". Yes, "Trespass" is my all-time favourite album but it's just because of a connection due to the previous line-up - more of a coincidence - but this is where they began writing better songs, all 7 of which on "Nursery Cryme" told a very specific fantasy story, which you could so easily get lost in.

"The Musical Box" is a classic Genesis piece, and an excellent opener to the album. It contains Hackett's new guitar style and tone, giving you an idea of what's to come on the album, and the overall zeitgeist of the album. The story, as depicted on the iconic album cover, is about a young girl (Cynthia) who creeps up behind a boy during a game of croquet and decapitates him with her mallet. Already, it is quite sinister (emphasised too by the sound of the musical box). After being rejected from heaven, the boy comes back down to Earth inside a musical box which, when opened, he will reappear as a spirit and age very quickly undergoing all of the sexual desires a man feels in his life at once, whilst still essentially a child. Anyway, musically and lyrically, to track is extraordinary. Great areas of light and shade, plus some strong climaxes. "And the nurse will tell you lies, of a kingdom beyond the skies" is such a great line and delivered so beautifully by Peter's vocals on here. The album on a whole however is quite badly produced (as with the previous 2), which is always a shame for me, because there is no real atmosphere. Overall, some great chord progressions too with some nice little lines underneath the whole thing, and my favourite song on the album (probably because it's the longest and allows enough time to indulge into it). The song was written by Anthony and I think it would have more suited his tastes and playing than Steve's (apart from the solos), so it was quite a shame that the early 60s Genesis had disbanded for me. Nonetheless, awesome.

"For Absent Friends" is quite a contrast to the heavy ending "The Musical Box". Phil's vocals are very sensitive, and Hackett's acoustic guitar brings a certain pastoral quality to the song - suitable for the story. The story itself can be interpreted in a few different ways so I won't say what I think in case I disrupt your ideas of it. I like the lenience of these kind of stories, because the way you interpret it makes it more personal in my opinion. "Return Of The Giant Hogweed" is pretty self-explanatory story-wise (just read the lyrics) but very detailed. I think that this is where Hackett comes into his element on the album, showing his early tapping techniques (very basic compared to what he does on "Selling England" and "The Lamb"). Gabriel also has very great harsh lyrics in the verses (i.e. "Turn and run!" which suit the power of the music very well. Not so sure about the ending vocals though (with the high pitched latin singing), perhaps too far into the story? Very clever and catchy on the whole, and one of the best songs on the album. Also, the ending chord progressions really shouldn't work when you look at it, but they just seem to. Does go on for a bit too long though (they could have cut out the last 30 seconds or so).

"Seven Stones" also has quite intriguing lyrics, which have lots of symbolism that can be found behind them. Again, I won't state this because I don't want to corrupt your view of the song. Tony Banks introduces the mellotron into here quite beautifully - very fitting - and Gabriel's vocals are excellent here. None of their other albums sound quite like this one vocally, as Peter makes a transition between the more immature (in a good way) to a sophisticated approach. Of course, there are some rough patches found on "Nursery Cryme", where he doesn't seem to do either, but on the whole excellent. Such a relaxing song (well sequenced between the 2 more active pieces on the album), and very underrated from the output of Genesis (as is the album itself). "Harold The Barrel" is right up there for me next to "The Musical Box". The story is so detailed and you really feel as if you're in it, plus you can feel very empathetic towards "Harold" for some reason. The song moves on at a very quick pace (how I like it), so it takes a couple of listens to get to grips with the whole thing but superb! Love the odd rhythms, all of the melodies just thrown together, and the tightness of the musicians, and their talent on here. Really holds the essence of the album in this little 3 or 4 minute piece. Furthermore, it sounds quite well produced compared to the rest of the album. To be honest, it's completely flawless - really can't find a fault with it, and possibly my favourite song on the album.

"Harlequin" is probably the worst song in the album, but only because the others hold the bar so high. Very sweet and gentle, with some underrated acoustic playing by Steve Hackett once again. There is really a strong storyline on it; acts more as an interlude between "Harold The Barrel" and the last track. Some great little sections and falsetto harmonies by Gabriel and Collins. On the whole, just a brilliant song. The final track "The Fountain Of Salmacis" is quite a big closer, but probably one of my least favourite really. The melody never really worked for me, and I didn't really like the 2 voices singing - at times they sort of clashed together in rhymes. Not as good as the sort you hear on "The Mountain" by Haken which is more structured, mature, and thought out. I still love Hackett and Banks working together on here. They bring a very powerful atmosphere on here, and some interesting chord progressions pop up every now and then. You can never really get bored of it, but I do believe it goes on a bit too long. They could have cut it back to about 6 minutes, and even added some new material into it to fill it back out. These are just all of the negatives but, for such a long song, there is so much good in there - especially in the guitar playing. Just heavenly, and easily Steve's best on the album - the only real competition being "The Musical Box". The solo at 3 minutes something is just incredible too, plus the keyboards and little flute section Gabriel adds in. Anyway, the album definitely ends on a very big and bold statement (similar to what "Caress Of Steel" is to do in 1975), and sums up the whole thing brilliantly.

A - The beginning of excellent things for Genesis, this being the first and paving the way to even greater albums such as "Foxtrot".

The Musical Box: ****** For Absent Friends: ***** Return Of The Giant Hogweed: ***** Seven Stones: ***** Harold The Barrel: ***** Harlequin: **** The Fountain Of Salmacis: ****

Xonty | 5/5 |

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