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Genesis - The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

4.29 | 2732 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
5 stars Well, I'll be dashed! Why is this album not in the everlasting Prog Archives Top Five? Surely you cannot deny that its musicianship is superior to any of the things you'll hear on a-certain-album-with-a-fox-in-a-red-dress-on-its-cover? Perhaps some Genesis fans find THE LAMB too wordy? Or are they disappointed by the relatively large number of weak patches on its second disc?

Be that as it may, I believe THE LAMB's first disc (and its original A-side in particular) contains the finest sequence of songs Genesis ever recorded. THE LAMB boasts the most exciting intro of any Genesis album and the most remarkable build-up of tension (yes, all on that same A-side).

I could devote my entire review to a discussion of THE LAMB's felicities, but I'm sure they have already been pointed out by earlier reviewers. Which prog lover doesn't enjoy Tony Banks' synth solos on 'In the Cage' or 'Riding the Scree', Steve Hackett's guitar cadenza on 'The Supernatural Anaesthesist' or Peter Gabriel's ultra-dynamic vocals on 'Back in N.Y.C.'? Who has never sung along with 'Counting Out Time'? And who will deny that with pieces like 'The Chamber of 32 Doors' or 'In the Rapids' Genesis moved into completely new territory? The raw emotionality of such songs is unparallelled in the band's oeuvre; it would take several solo albums before Peter Gabriel so openly revealed his emotional insecurity again. As if all this were not enough, 'The Carpet Crawlers' is simply the most beautiful song in the Genesis canon. Nowhere else did they equal its simple beauty and grace.

But since all of these things have already been discussed on Prog Archives, let me say a few words in praise of PG's lyrics. I'll be the first to admit that, conceptually speaking, THE LAMB is flawed. No matter how you twist or turn it, the storyline doesn't make much sense. Gabriel simply cannot decide if he's on the mean streets of New York City, in a British boarding school ('The Lamia' was based on a poem by John Keats; 'Slippermen' opens with a quotation from Wordsworth), in Lewis Carroll's Wonderland or even in Hollywood... But just listen to some of the lines he wrote! More than on any other album, PG let his imagination run riot here, while his diction remained impeccable. No-one else in prog has such a richly absurd sense of humour; no-one else understands so completely how lyrics ought to SOUND. For example, take the way Gabriel declaims: 'Groucho, with his movies trailing, stands alone with his punchline failing.' Or: 'There's Howard Hughes in blue suede shoes, smiling at the majorettes, smoking Winston cigarettes.' Such lines are not merely entertaining; if you happen to know of more sophisticated use of ASSONANCE in rock, let me know where you found it. As far as I can tell, only Dylan ever was able to match this. Some more examples: 'The fleas cling to the golden fleece, hoping they'll find peace.' And: 'As they nibble the fruit of my flesh, I feel no pain, only a magic that a name would stain'. These final quotations are from songs that evoke a solemn and truly mysterious atmosphere.

No, 'a masterpiece of progressive rock' really doesn't seem exaggerated.

fuxi | 5/5 |


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