Genesis Selling England by the Pound 1973 Review by Lofcaudio

Prog Rock
The Good, Bad and the Average

The Good: Firth of Fifth and The Cinema Show

While these two songs are very solid, they do not make this album a masterpiece. "Firth of Fifth" is the third song and showcases some nice instrumentation in the way of keyboards early and guitar late. Banks and Hackett showcase their skills rather nicely in this song and the overall effect is impressive. "The Cinema Show" is an epic which weaves a nice story with a melody that never bores or gets old. The whole band contributes nicely with Gabriel doing some emotive singing which adds some texture to the work.

The Average: Dancing with the Moonlit Knight, I Know What I Like, More Fool Me, After the Ordeal

"Dancing with the Moonlit Knight" starts off well but seems to drag about midway through the song. In my humble opinion, it is long only for the sake of being long. Good progressive rock songs should capture your attention and not let go. This song just doesn't do that for me. After about three minutes, I am ready for the next song, which is..."I Know What I Like" has a catchy melody and is fun to sing along with, but it does not grab my imagination. So while I am glad that the day has broken on the "Moonlit Knight" with this song, I am already looking ahead to the aforementioned "Firth of Fifth". "More Fool Me" showcases Collins' vocals nicely. But other than that, it is a pretty forgettable love (pop?) song which really slows the pace coming in right after "Firth of Fifth." "After the Ordeal" is basically an intermission piece stuffed between the two eleven-minute epics on this disc. It is so forgettable in ... -> show full review
Comment by Semprini 7 years ago
One of the best ever. Hackett and Banks were the kings of this era for sure. All four long tracks are stellar, unique compositions, while the shorter tracks are very nice to listen to. Firth of Fifth is the highlight here
Review by OpenMind 12 years ago <Permalink>
Symphonic Prog Rock
Apart from "Lamb Lies Down on Broadway" (which is too long/weird/rambling for many people) this is often cited as the best album of Genesis's prog-rock period. Indeed for most of this album they are on fine form. It starts starkly with Peter Gabriel's unaccompanied voice singing "can you tell me where my country lies" , continuing with some lovely resonant layers of guitar, and more firmly English-themed lyrics. "I Know What I Like" is an entertaining but silly single. "Firth of Fifth" is another great symphonic prog-rock piece. Tony Banks's solo piano introduction sets the scene for the song which builds gradually towards Steve Hackett's gloriously lyrical guitar solo. Its one weakness is in the vague and rambling lyrics.

However the album is spoiled by "The Battle of Epping Forest". Peter Gabriel playing a series of Cockney gangsters in silly voices, to an uninteresting tune, is OK for 2 minutes but not for a whole 11, please. This is appropriately followed by the mellow, pleasing instrumental "After the Ordeal", while "More Fool Me" is a throwaway ballad for Phil to practice his limp singing style for the future... "The Cinema Show" starts off with gentle layers of 12-string guitars and flutes, the typical Genesis sound again, and continues through the brief mellow song to an extended, but tasteful, band jam. The short coda consists of Gabriel reciting a 70's English grocery price list "seventeen-and-a-half p..." in layered vocals to a reprise of the opening tune.
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