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Genesis - Nursery Cryme CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

4.42 | 3252 ratings

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4 stars The third album from the band, and the first to feature the 'classic' line-up of Gabriel/Banks/Hackett/Collins/Rutherford. This is one of my favourite Genesis albums. Every track is a gem and worth listening to. All the melodies and atmospheres are incredibly strong here, and the classic Genesis Olde English timelessness is present in copious amounts. The Musical Box became an instant classic, starting with the beautifully subdued guitar work of Hackett and intense vocals of Gabriel. The piece builds wonderfully, moving from the sort of tune you may indeed find in a musical box, to a full blown power stomp at the end with Gabriel in his best form, singing over wonderful keyboard work from Banks and nicely inserted guitar lines from Hackett. And this is just the opener! The brief but beautiful 'For Absent Friends' is another superb piece, evocative of the era, and also noteable as being the first Genesis song Phil Collins was to sing lead on. In fact the vocal harmonies on here are very strong indeed and the lyrics are very poignant and powerful. 'The Return Of The Giant Hogweed' was, for a long time, the closing song at Genesis shows, usurping 'The Knife' if my memory serves me correctly. A typical humorous piece from the band, it is one of those tracks they were able to effortlessly throw into the mix to diffuse any accusations of too much pomp and prog. The keyboards here are intricate, and work well with the likewise intricate guitar work. Hackett and Banks were starting a symbiotic relationship here that was to help define the band's already tight sound. The build up is performed in mock-serious mode and one can't help laughing, once one realises the jokiness of the lyrics. 'Seven Stones' is a more concise song, and probably more indicative of the period than most, with wonderful organ and mellotron work, and a memorable melody sung by Gabriel. Again, it is almost humorous, but at the same time, can be construed as poignant. Brilliant stuff. (Again, nice guitar from Mr Hackett, who took over Ant Phillips's role seamlessly). 'Harold The Barrel' is probably my fave track on here. Steeped in the old music hall tradition, it is best listened to through good speakers, or headphones, as there is much going on here in both channels vocally. It is very, very funny, with both Gabriel and Collins obviously enjoying themselves. And the ending, with Tony Banks's brilliantly restrained piano notes dropping into the song as it finishes, is just perfect. 'Harlequin' is another favourite of mine, and maybe the least known track on here. But it is a lovely short piece, with nice guitars from Hackett (and Rutherford I suspect) and nice harmonies again from Collins and Gabriel. A lovely melody this one, and one that brings out the feminine side of the band. Finally comes the magnificent album closer, 'The Fountain Of Salmacis', another track best heard through good speakers or headphones, as there are two different lines sung in each channel at various times. This is grand pomp, but very enjoyable. The mellotron really comes into its own here, adding oodles of atmosphere behind Gabriel's impassioned voice. Already his storytelling ability was incredibly strong. And the end is, of course, very memorable for the wonderful closing orchestral-like keyboard chords, overlaid with a very unique (for the time) guitar line from Hackett. Or course, like all early Genesis albums, this one is not the best recorded. I have the remastered version, but even on here the drums are not the loudest or clearest, though Phil's ability on them is obvious. And the bass is sometimes a little murky, or punchy. Nevertheless, this is another seminal album from a classic band. And the cover is one of the best covers they had too. One of my two faves in fact. (The other being 'A Trick Of The Tail.) A must have for prog fans. Not quite a masterpiece, but damn near it.
chessman | 4/5 |


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