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Genesis - The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

4.31 | 3374 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
2 stars When I first heard The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway, I was like a kid on Christmas. I was at the height of my love for Genesis, with their previous three albums nearly defining progressive rock for me. The first day I got the double album from my library, I must have listened to it at least four times and spent half the day reading its story and lyrics. Unlike my beloved Nursery Cryme, Foxtrot, and Selling England By the Pound, however, those first few listens were the most enjoyable I would ever have with The Lamb.

Considering how little had changed in the band since their last offering, it's incredible how different The Lamb sounds from anything Genesis had ever done before. Although the guitar is just as powerful and melodic as ever here, Steve Hackett rarely brings it out, with only a handful of songs having memorable guitar passages. This leaves a gap in the music that the keyboards fill, and become the dominant instrument on this album. Continuing the trend from the last album, Tony Banks is striving for more modern equipment, with synthesizers being his keyboard of choice here. The synth sounds he uses are just a little too bubbly, and end up nagging at me too many times to say that they work well. The piano and Mellotron are brought along for the ride, but the organ that helped craft so much of Foxtrot's sound is nowhere to be found. Mike Rutherford and Phil Collins offer comparable efforts to years past, if possibly less impactful.

Now that we've come to the most prevalent sound found on The Lamb, the vocals, we also come to my first complaint. While Peter Gabriel is still Peter Gabriel here, something has changed in him. His voice has taken on a more raw quality that he hadn't shown before. Maybe it has to do with the characters he's playing, or the nature of the concept of The Lamb, but it's not nearly as enjoyable, and at times reaches levels of annoyance. There are moments of beauty in the vocals, but when I look back on what I've listened to, it's the former that fills my head. The story that Gabriel has crafted is what moves the music along, as we follow its main character Rael from the streets of NYC to a mysterious underground world. The concept is fairly interesting, but ends up being stranger than it is good and compelling.

The second complaint I have with The Lamb applies to the album as a whole: there's simply too much here. I understand that making a double album back in the days of vinyl was an all or nothing deal, but that shouldn't be an excuse for mediocre, and even bad songs. There are some really wonderful songs and passages here, but they are too few, and too interspersed with tracks that just don't cut it. Since getting over the giddiness of my first listens, the music hasn't compelled me enough to make it through in a single listening, which clocks in at just over an hour and a half. This is also a pretty wordy album, and with Gabriel's voice not doing much for me, the fact that there's a lot of it doesn't help.

The bright side of this ordeal is that if Genesis' past work hasn't been your favorite, or you're just looking for a different sound from them, The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway offers a very different experience, and could be something fresh and exciting. If you're already a diehard fan, however, you shouldn't expect to love this album like you love their others. It's worth checking out for the good songs, but they're not enough to hold the whole thing together and make this a great, or even a good album from Genesis.

m2thek | 2/5 |


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