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Genesis

Nursery Cryme

Review by Gary Hill

This disc is one of my favorites from Genesis. I’ve read reviews where people essentially dismiss a lot of this, citing two tracks, “The Musical Box” and “The Fountain Of Salmacis” as the reasons to own this. For my money those tracks are the two highlights and both are exceptionally powerful epics, but there are plenty of other “must have” tracks on here. I’d only consider a couple pieces as “only very good – not great.” This album is one you must have to really appreciate old Genesis.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2009  Volume 1 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
The Musical Box

This ten minute plus epic is a Genesis classic and an amazing piece of music. There’s a rather medieval texture to much of this – particularly the mellow opening balladic section. In fact, this gets incredibly dramatic and powerful without really rising up the hard rocking territory through the first several minutes. There are a number of alternating musical excursions and themes, but yet it feels very organic. There’s a definite theatrical texture to this. We’re actually past the three and a half minute mark – the length of a typical pop song, before it moves out into the realm of real rock music. They get quite involved and almost crunchy at times. This definitely isn’t metal, but it’s as close to it as Genesis ever got in those days. Still, this jam drops away before the five minute mark and they bring back the more sedate sounds for another dramatic verse. When they fire back out a bit before the six minute mark this is even more powerful hard rocking music. Still, this doesn’t hold it for the rest of the song. They drop it back down just a bit past the seven and a half minute mark to another dramatic and theatrical ballad section. From there they bring us out into a keyboard dominated climactic movement that’s got a definite classical symphonic element to it. This is Genesis at its best and an incredible piece of music. When it comes to Genesis’ catalog you can’t get much better than this. This track by itself would be worth the price of admission, but it doesn’t have to stand alone as there are plenty of strong supporting players.

For Absent Friends
This is a gentle balladic piece. Less than two minutes in length, this is just sort of a little interlude. 
The Return Of The Giant Hogweed
With a hard edged, but unique, sound I’ve always thought this rocker is quite similar to “Get Em Out By Friday.” The lyrics here remind me of “Day of the Triffids.” It’s definitely got a science fiction type story. This is dramatic and theatrical. There are mellower sections and more rocking ones. It’s a great track and another good reason to pick up this album. The building instrumental section late in the piece is definitely strong. 
Seven Stones
“And the changes no consequence will pick up the reigns from no where.” Don’t ask me why, but I’ve always loved that line. In any event, this cut alternates between a gentle and melodic ballad styling and a harder rocking, dramatic section. This is certainly one of the lesser cuts on show here, but there’s a certain magic and charm to it that’s given it a special place in my heart. They do a lot with a fairly minor track moving different textures and elements in and out to create a dramatic piece of music. The symphonic sounding movement along with the hard rocking textures that accompany it are awesome. 
Harold The Barrel
This is a fast paced track that has a playful sort of texture to it. I’ve always liked this dramatic cut a lot, despite it having a bit of a “weird” mode to some of it. This is very theatric and has some mellower motifs here and there. 
Harlequin
Perhaps the most forgettable song here, this is still a good piece of music. It’s got a definite medieval feeling to a lot of it. There’s a pretty balladic section and this is delicate. At less than three minutes long this is also one of the shortest pieces on the disc. 
The Fountain Of Salmacis

The disc is closed by another powerful track. This moves through a number of varying segments. It’s lush in its arrangement and dramatic in its structure. Here’s another that’s in the “must have” category. Like the opener we are moved through a number of varying sections and sounds. This never gets stuck in a rut and yet there is an organic texture to the progression. It’s another killer piece of music and a great way to close things off.

 
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