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

SELLING ENGLAND BY THE POUND

Genesis

 

Symphonic Prog

4.62 | 2848 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

JCDenton
4 stars "Dancing with the Moonlit Knight" (8.5-9.0 / 10) is a dramatic tune with the most highs and lows, dynamically and in tempo. This tune gives the first of what will be many mystical moods and feelings throughout this album. The song begins with more gentle playing and beautiful guitar and piano work. The song erupts into the more anthematic chorus before the driving jam section kicks in, which features guitar tapping, fast guitar riffing underneath, some splendid work on keys, and some very solid, sporadic drumming from Phil Collins. The song reprises the chorus section and the jam again briefly before moody major 7 guitar chords tone down the song, settling down into the final acoustic guitar arpeggiating the last chords of the song with occasional atmospheric textures seeping in and out as the song finally closes in a fade. The song establishes a fantastic mood. It's an epic, no doubt!

"I Know What I Like" (7.5-8.0 / 10) is a decent tune in verse-chorus format, with rather silly lyrical moments. The song has some occasional bubbling sonic fading in and out, as in the intro and the end, with various moments between sections. The song is neatly textured, with an ascending baseline in the chorus, a good and lifting vocal melody, multiple keyboards riffing simultaneously, diddling on the toms during various moments to spark a little energy, and a flute mini-solo is featured later on in the song. It's a decent tune! "More Fool Me" (7.5-8.0 / 10) is another shorter tune on the album. More ballad-like, featuring soft acoustic guitar accompanying Peter Gabriel's vocals, which is sometimes double-layered. The song picks up with more heavy playing, a dynamic peak, and more voices singing harmonies. The song repeats its format. Building to a dynamic peak, then toning back down to an end.

"Firth of Fifth" (8.5-9.0 / 10) fell between the previous two tracks mentioned, and I wanted to save a longer paragraph for it. The piano/keys on this song are some of the absolute best one will hear in all of Rock music. I can't remember who wrote the lyrics (Banks?) but I recall reading he was not satisfied with his work! Of all tunes to be remembered, it had the be one with amazing music but dissatisfying lyrics to the writer. But musically, this song is absolutely superb. The melodies are fantastic. Phil's drumming swells at just all the right moments. The song is very harmonically pleasing, using effectively suspended chords, key changes, 7th chords, beautiful and sometimes odd movements. The long instrumental section features excellent soloing from a flute, keys, and guitar. I like the unified effort between all instruments. The gorgeous piano from the intro is reprised, and the instruments all move with its patterns, with the standout to my ears being Phil on his fills corresponding to the syncopation in the piano. This song is just so dang beautiful. It has many different moods, with a more foreboding, but climactic guitar solo, before the section settles back into a major key, relaxing a moment, then building tension with its chord usage before returning us to those brightening verses, then finishing out an amazing tune. Though "Moonlit Knight" and "Cinema Show" aren't far behind, this is the best track on the album.

"The Battle of Epping Forest" (6.5-7.0 / 10) weaves through many different segments, running back and forth between musical ideas. Though I do like some moments of this song, it is the longest song and should not be. It has a march-style beginning before a quicker-paced verse section. Nice textures, like the guitar licks occasionally chiming in, organ playing, a decent fast groove. The chorus is also nice. The song has a cheeriness about it. Later on there is an acoustically-driven section in a compound meter. Some more melancholy chords appear, but the mood between all sections remain peppy, and the song lacks a desired dynamic mood. The chorus pops back up a time or two. The song doesn't have quite the diversity to support through its nearly 12-minute duration. I apologize for this view, but the song becomes a tad annoying after awhile.

"After the Ordeal" (8.0-8.5 / 10) is a pleasing track with many atypical chord movements that keep one on their toes. It feels majestic and driving despite just having piano and guitar to work with. Halfway through we get an acoustic guitar solo and drums and bass down below, and even though those additions were made, the mood is actually more mellow than the first half. The melody and chords are still rather majestic and inspiring. A good instrumental track!

"The Cinema Show" (8.5/10) is very harmonically pleasing. Probably the prettiest tune of the album. Pure and free instrumental parts and exciting at its peaks. Some deceptive changes. The guitar work in particular stands out on this track. Whether it's a solo or arpeggiating sections, it's wonderful. This is a great tune that transitions into a more driving, solo section with tension and speed. Good work from all musicians once again. This section also feels cool because it's in 7/8 time. The beginning uses the i to IV movement (which every Progger seems to love doing once or multiple times within their "epic" songs) with some 9ths added on top. Like I said, this is a very harmonically pleasing song. It's beautiful. The song runs right into "Aisle of Plenty", which reprises "Moonlit Knight" in some beautifully bittersweet-mooded melodies. A good, almost rather haunting end to the album.

It's a bittersweet moment when I have to give an album with so much great content a 4/5 stars. "I Know What I Like" and "More Fool Me" aren't necessarily the best or worst tunes, but those weren't enough to bring down my rating to 4 stars. It's "Epping Forest" primarily. Darn you, "Epping Forest"!!

JCDenton | 4/5 |

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