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Genesis - Selling England by the Pound CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

4.64 | 4292 ratings

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5 stars This is my favorite GENESIS album, and thus a perennial member of the imaginary top ten list that rattles through my head from year to year. Not to take anything away from "Foxtrot" or "Lamb Lies Down", but it's here that the band really breaks free. "Selling England..." creates a fictional world (aurally and visually) peopled with musical vignettes sometimes epic in impact ("Firth of Fifth") and sometimes intimate in nature ("More Fool Me"). The advantage over "Foxtrot" comes from a saturated sound on "Selling England" versus its predecessor's slightly brittle tone.

Michael RUTHEFORD plays the bass with actual relish, Steve HACKETT expounds on his guitar with an expanded lexicon of new noises, and Peter GABRIEL's voice has grown noticeably richer. Their progression is palpable on this album; far from slighting BANKS and COLLINS, I'll note that they already sounded brilliant on "Foxtrot". With all five engines firing, BANKS is free to explore sounds that affect the mood of the music: ornate piano introductions, majestic organ chords, and so on. As visible as his keyboards are, HACKETT's guitar often seems invisible, pairing up with the keyboards and bass at different stages to emphasize certain passages. His technique is almost antithetical to a lead guitarist, though it would be impossible to imagine these songs without his contributions.

The opening "Dancing With The Moonlit Knight" (the de facto title track) gently lifts the listener into this new musical world, followed by the charming "I Know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe)", which became the band's first big single. BANKS elevates the musical discussion with "Firth of Fifth", but the band quickly deflates all trace of pomposity with the ballad "More Fool Me". (For anyone who enjoyed that track, please seek out Anthony PHILLIPS' "The Geese & The Ghost".) The album's most ambitious work may be "The Battle of Epping Forest", the sort of multi-character musical last heard on "Get 'Em Out By Friday". The remaining three tracks are simply sublime. Few albums transport the listener like "Selling England By The Pound"; if you don't own it, you're missing the best part.

daveconn | 5/5 |


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