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Genesis - Nursery Cryme CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

4.42 | 3250 ratings

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3 stars Maybe if I had heard the balance of this album as often as I heard "The Musical Box" before I "got it", I would rate this as the best album ever, but that isn't gonna happen 30+ years on. Familiarity is just as likely to breed contempt, and my main issue with early Genesis was the general tweeness of the lyrics as well as the production values which resulted in certain passages exploding and others retreating beneath base white noise levels.

So we have the Musical Box, one of the most perfectly constructed and powerful songs in prog history, featuring vocal passages mostly low and mysterious, and instrumental breaks increasing in intensity until finally even Peter Gabriel has to cut loose at the end. The wordless sections are so refreshingly dominated by Mr Hackett's quirky expressions rather than the overused organ, and the ending is a master stroke.

Then what? Not much frankly. The best sections of "Hogweed" seem patterned after the Musical Box but not as effectively, and from there it's mostly downhill until the "Fountain of Salmacis", which sufficiently redeems the recording to place it firmly in the three star band. Salmacis features the best mellotron on the album and is also more poetic than most of the intervening songs, but it is far from a classic.

With Nursery Cryme, Genesis began to lay the foundation for a whole school of symphonic progressive rock, a school in which some pupils would surpass the teachers, in short bursts of quality if not in longevity. Several later albums would show improvement on multiple levels and, although few individual works can match "The Musical Box", this album would not be my first recommendation to younger prog fans or older ones who have lived under a rock since 1968. It's not a cryme, but more of an imperfect work of philanthropy to the musical world.

kenethlevine | 3/5 |


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