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Genesis - Nursery Cryme CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

4.42 | 3250 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars With this album GENESIS signaled to the world that they were capable of music worthy of anyone's time. Certainly this album is worthy of yours.

Melodic themes of beauty intertwine with moments of drama: driving rhythms counterpoint quiet acoustic and keyboard sections. But 'Nursery Cryme' is greater than the sum of its parts. It exhibits all of the necessary ingredients of the progressive sensibility. These are melody, complexity, meaning, quirky humour and consideration of the shape of the album. This last idea is crucial: albums without progressive sensibility were merely a collection of songs. Progressive albums took care in the placement of tracks, as the album was designed as a single listening experience. Humour is also an essential part of the progressive sensibility, acting as a balance to the pretentiousness of many of the musical and lyrical themes. Melody and complexity need no explanation.

This album does have flaws, however. The overall playfulness and zaniness obscures many of the serious messages in the lyrics, which is a pity. While GABRIEL remained a part of the lineup, GENESIS never found an appropriate balance: on every album there are times when the lyrics made listeners cringe. 'Hasn't got a leg to stand on,' GABRIEL sings in 'Harold the Barrel'. Doesn't work for me, sorry, though I enjoy the playfulness of the song.

'The Musical Box' is regarded as a classic, and rightly so. This track alone ensured the album would be a success. The other 'epic' tracks, 'Fountain of Salamacis' and 'Return of the Giant Hogweed', do not reach the same heights. It is left for the shorter tracks to carry the album, and I find beauty in each of them. I particularly treasure the maligned 'Seven Stones'.

The other serious flaw is the production. This is the first album with the classic line-up, but they are not equally treated. PETER GABRIEL and TONY BANKS stand out in the mix, while the other three are muted. Even the recent remastered version doesn't deliver sound quality of the standard the music requires.

An album already in the collection of every fan of classic progressive music. It's not quite essential that all others listen to it, and this is not the one GENESIS album you need. But I'm sure you'll enjoy much of what you hear.

russellk | 4/5 |


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