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

SELLING ENGLAND BY THE POUND

Genesis

 

Symphonic Prog

4.62 | 2771 ratings

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Cesar Inca
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Though not achieving the "perfect perfection" (blame it on 'More Fool Me'), I consider 'Selling England' as Genesis' top achievement and one of the most crucial works generated in the prog genre. Gabriel's a capella entry at the start of 'Dancing with the Moonlit Knight' is one of the most memorable moments in symph prog history. and it gets better as the song progresses through its alternation between lyrical and aggressive passages until its arrival to the dreamy climax, a succession of lead guitar, synth, flute, mellotron and percussive sounds upon a recurrent chord sequence of Mike's electric 12- string. Brilliant! Taking off from the pompous density of 'Foxtrot', 'Selling England' adds a richer pallete of sonic resources in order to explore the band's full compositional potential: you can even tell that Hackett is already fully integrated into the band's ideology, stretching his own styling and skills for the benefit of the album's repertoire. Meanwhile, Banks can't hide the fact that he's overtly enthusiastic with his ARP Soloist and 2600 synths, so his arsenal of keyboards is reinforced in its determining role for Genesis' overall sound. Simultaneously, Collins exercises his jazz-oriented prowess effectively, functioning properly in both the most solemn and the most energetic passages of the repertoire. 'I Know What I Like' is a funny number, something like 'I Am the Walrus' infected with pseudo-tropical touches: the song has a pop feel in it (after all, it was the single) without falling into the traps of easy catchiness. This leads us to the magnificent 'Firth of Fifth', which shows Banks at his best on piano and organ: Hackett once more approaches his electric axe with his special touch of magic, making his solo in the interlude shine over the layers of Hammond and mellotron. 'The Battle of Epping Forest' recreates some of the irony and cynical humour of previous Genesis numbers ('Giant Hogweed', 'Get 'Em Out'), in the spirit of the band's momentum: it is clear how well have the fivesome grown together as a band of performers. One minor flaw resides in the "hyper-abundance" of sung parts - or maybe, the lack of longer instrumental passages -, but it's a great song anyway. Though not as great as the last two songs, 'The Cinema Show' and 'Aisle of Plenty', coupled as a unit. This 2-part suite starts with a pastoral-oriented section; then follows an extended jam articulated in order to allow Banks shine on his ARP adventures, until the reprise of 'Dancing.' resurfaces as a reflective closure of melancholy and social disappointment. What a way to end an album! I can't forget to mention the awesome beauty of 'After the Ordeal', an instrumental piece basically penned by Hackett that serves as a bridge of calmness between the two epics. This album is a masterpiece - I have no doubt about it, and I know for a fact that I am not alone in stating this.
Cesar Inca | 5/5 |

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