Genesis - 'Selling England By The Pound' (landmark album review) Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     April 21, 2017    
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A true masterpiece.

This is a Rocktopia™ landmark review (album review no. 4993, pls. click HERE for more information)

Hearing this album for the first time proved a pivotal moment in my musical journey. As a child of the sixties music was a significant factor in our house, The Beatles, The Carpenters, Simon & Garfunkel and Bread were amongst family favourites, but the moment the school hippie handed me a carrier bag containing a selection of albums, including this one, it was a life changer as I'd discovered Rock. Deep Purple and Black Sabbath were interesting, but from the second I heard Peter Gabriel's A Cappella opening to 'Dancing With the Mooonlit Knight' I was well and truly hooked.

Here's music not bound by the three minute single convention, but tracks that are multi-faceted, stretching out over extended periods to tell stories with recurring musical themes often returning in different guises. Lyrics conjuring images in your head, painting pictures; they're clever, often funny and containing Gabriel's speciality of word-play, all of which resonate with me.

On top of all that there's the wonderful instrumentation. The only word I can use is majestic. Here are superb musicians creating the most fantastic tapestries, the solos are truly sensational. Little did I know that Steve Hackett was about to become one of my life long heroes, his playing going way beyond the traditional riffing guitarist, here is a true virtuoso. Tony Banks' piano and keyboard work is also equally splendid. The bloke on drums (Phil Collins) isn't just keeping time, he's producing some tasty runs and fills and the bass of Mike Rutherford adds really lovely motifs of his own.

Fireworks - The Ultimate Magazine For Melodic Rock Music

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Every one of the eight tracks is a winner, with the epic numbers being interspersed by shorter, but none the less wonderful songs. Three of these epics are classics of the genre with the aforementioned '...Moonlit Knight' being joined by 'Cinema Show' and my all-time favourite 'Firth Of Fifth'. 'The Battle Of Epping Forest' isn't quite as revered, but to me it's still brilliant with Gabriel giving vent to both his lyrical and theatrical genius.

If one needed a single track to demonstrate the band's genius, then it is 'Firth Of Fifth'. Banks' exquisite piano introduction is a delight, whilst the lyrics are beautifully crafted and perfectly pitched for a geography study, as I was at the time. The piano and flute interlude is utterly compelling as is the synth solo where Rutherford's bass and Collins' drums are so integral, and then it's that solo. Still, in my opinion, one of the greatest guitar solos ever, Hackett is supreme, but listen to what's underpinning it and you'll hear that everyone's contribution is vital in producing an absolute classic track. My love of Prog was forged right there. 'Cinema Show' is just as special and then there's the wonderful, poignant 'After The Ordeal' which delivers pathos in spades.

Needless to say I played this album repeatedly and kept it until I could scrape together the cash to buy my own copy. I still play it regularly. A true masterpiece.

Gary Marshall

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