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




Symphonic Prog

4.64 | 4053 ratings

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4 stars I've never really been able to get into Genesis very easily. There is just something about their sound that irks me half the time. I think it's probably the pretention that turns me off; having said that, they are such a talented group. When I do manage to penetrate the level 10 self importance field I find myself enjoying things. Selling England by the Pound, manages to let me in every now and then to a truly stupendous album, not quite as much as Foxtrot, but much more so than the Lamb.

SEBTP is one of these albums which unfortunately uses up its best work right off the bat. I do not like anything on the album more than the first half of the Moonlit Knight. It is all Gabriel's doing, it's pure poetry; challenging word play great singing and which ebbs and flows with the dark lilting support. The Knight is able to keep it up almost all the way through. By the end though, it gets a little drawn out.

After the Knight is I Know What I Like, one of the very limited selections of early Genesis' songs I've actually heard on the radio. It isn't their most interesting work, but it is one of the easier tracks to get into. It gets a little goofy at times, which Genesis is prone to do. Things take a turn for the classical in short order though on Firth of Fifth. Tony Banks plays one of the most memorable intros. Firth then proceeds to change many times over, sometimes loud, sometimes soft, sometimes jazzy, sometimes rocking. It's a great track even if it doesn't manage to always live up the ear grabbing intro.

More Fool Me is another nice little short piece. The interplay of acoustic guitar and Gabriel's vocals make it a worthwhile listen. It also serves as the calm before the storm. The aforementioned storm of course is The Battle of Epping forest. This is the elephant in the room when it comes to SEBTP. For some it totally breaks things for others it makes the whole sh-bang. I am kind of indifferent. There are parts I like and parts I don't. For starters it really doesn't know when to end. For another kind of goofy piece a la I Know What, it really shouldn't last this long. On the other hand, it's pretty funny in a Benny the Bouncer sort of way and has some excellent instrumental portions.

Following the extraordinary ruckus is After the Ordeal. This is the only total instrumental on Selling England by the Pound. It begins with a classical sort of feel again with the nylon guitar and organ. Just over halfway through it gets more demure with soft drums and a wailing guitar in the distance. As it's closing up shop the keyboards make another brief appearance. All in all, an excellent if short track which leads into the curious Cinema Show. Gabriel is pretty annoying to begin with. Much to all of our good fortune it doesn't remain annoying for long. At nearly 12 minutes that would probably kill the album. Instead, the very good vocal portion morphs into an extended instrumental, which as it turns out is even better. As Cinema Show drifts into the Isle of Plenty the Moonlit Knight's theme makes a return to close the album on a welcome full circle.

Genesis isn't so much my cup of tea, but Selling England by the Pound aside from some inconsistencies is a excellent album. Is it essential? Not to me. Four out of Five.

R-A-N-M-A | 4/5 |


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