Genesis' masterpiece in my humble opinion!
I never heard Genesis instrumentally tighter than here! The guys "shine on as crazy diamonds" in every tune!
You MUST buy this album!
Song by song review:
“Dancing with the moonlit knight”:
My very favorite Genesis song ever! I'm a guitar player, I must state, and if this is not the best Hackett/Rutherford/Banks guitar work, then I'm a monkey. Every single note on this song is placed there with a genius care and love, I'm sure. Hackett makes a blazing fast tapping solo, alongside Banks. Gabriel makes his best here. I wish I was him. I doubt it if there is a better singer in the world...
“I Know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe)”:
There is strong humor in this song. The lyrics are very funny. Collins' vocals are louder here, I think. Hackett keeps repeating the very same riff throughout the song. The instrumental is not what one would expect from Genesis, but the song is very nice.
“Firth of Fifth”:
This one begins with Banks on the piano, then the vocals. I heard it a billion times, and still I cannot tell if Collins is more audible than Gabriel or vice versa... The solo: Hackett's finest solo, IMHO. There is so much feeling in here, than there ever was in any David Gilmour solo! Hackett uses his eBow (http://www.ebow.com) to make an infinite sustain that almost makes me cry!
“More Fool Me”:
Arguably the weakest spot on the album, this is a Collins sung ballad. It seems to me that it’s the mold for the later "Entangled", which is very beautiful too.
“The Battle of Epping Forest”:
This one tells a story of a street gang's fight for something I'm not sure yet... Gabriel is the star here. There are little characters all around in the story, giving Gabriel freedom to make all of them alive. I think this is Gabriel's showroom for someone who doesn't know his talents yet.
“After the Ordeal”:
This instrumental has Hackett on the acoustic, making a very beautiful piece, while Banks frantic piano makes a very warm mood. Then they slow things down and Hackett makes another "almost makes me cry" solo, with Gabriel on the flute at the very ending of the song.
“The Cinema Show”:
I can't quite figure out who sings the first part of the song, but it's a very nice acoustic piece, with Hackett and Rutherford backing each other. Then there's a burst when Gabriel sings, and Hackett makes a very nice solo. After all is sung, Banks makes what I call "his best performance ever" on the who-knows-what-o-tron, or something (I'm terrible identifying keyboard types...). There's a "segue" to the last track, which is very nice and smooth.
“Aisle of Plenty”:
There are a few variations of the main theme on the acoustic from "Dancing out...", then Gabriel makes another vocal that makes you want to die!
I would give it 345,7 on a 10 star rating.
(All Album Reviews by Burgess Penguin)
In the magical year of 1973, Peter Gabriel and his able-bodied cohorts released what would be regarded as a landmark album for them, on which everything they'd been working towards musically was coming together and blossoming like mad.
Overall, the songwriting and arrangements showed amazing growth and ambition, in addition the production and recording quality ahd taken a major leap forward to where every instrument sat perfectly in the mix and the bass frequencies were not over-saturated.
Track-by-track, I offer my comments:
“Dancing With the Moonlit Knight”: A beautifully constructed epic starting with nothing more than voice and piano. The subject matter, for all its obtuseness, it lamented the commercialization of the band's beloved England (hence the album's title). The song gradually builds with eerie Mellotron choirs sneaking in, warm-tone guitar chordal work and finally an explosive ntrance into the main themes. This gives way to a fiery near fusion workout with great exchanges between Hackett and Banks as Phil Collins lights a fire under everyone with his complex polymetric drumming. The track gradually winds down and as the dust settles, an eerie nocturnal atmosphere takes hold with a subtle synth rhythm, long sustained guitar cries from Hackett buoyed by unsettleing Mellotron strings to a mysterious fadeout.
“I Know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe)”: With the roar of a lawnmower (done on synth), thus starts the tale of a directionless slacker getting all kinds of admonitions from helpful folks, as he seems content with his job asa lawnmower. The song features choruses as catchy as a disease and an arangement as big as all outdoors.
“Firth of Fifth”: With a dramatic piano intro worthy of Rachmaninoff, the band charges into an elaborate epic using much religious imagery. This track is also famous for it's achingly beautiful and eerie Steve Hackett guitar solo that leads back to an apocalyptic conclusion.
“More Fool Me”: Phil Collins steps up to the mike here for a brief folky tale of love gone sour, backed by just acoustic guitars (12-string). Some would either praise or curse this particular moment in the band's history, it's actually oddly endearing but not really earthshattering by any stretch.
“The Battle of Epping Forest”: With marching drums and Mellotron flutes, our lads tear into a tale (based on true newspaper accounts of London gang-wars over protection rackets). What's amazing is that Gabriel actually managed to pull off this EXTREMELY wordy song at all, where most mortals would be tongue-tied after the first verse or two. The music is relentless in its intensity, complexity and firepower. A lot to digest for sure but well worth it.
“After the Ordeal”: No matter how many times I've played this, it just does NOT grab me at all. Yes, it's nicely played but quite frankly, sounds like a small pit orchestra in its sleep, between the sluggish tempo and rather underwhelming theme. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzz
“The Cinema Show”: And what better way to close than with an epic fairy-tale, subtly started with almost harpsichord-like 12-strings spinning forth pretty melodies. The song builds gradually to a colorful, lengthy and fiery instrumental section where Tony Banks really takes center stage, and then winding down to------
“Aisle of Plenty”: Reiterating some of the themes from "Dancing With The Moonlit Knight", Peter Gabriel winds up the obtuse tale with a bizarre conclusion, reciting sales specials from local supermarkets as the band fades out. Hmmmmmmmmmmmm.
Even with the less-than-stellar tracks like "More Fool Me" and "After The Ordeal", this album STILL stands as a triumph for Genesis, and logically paved the way to their magnum opus, The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway.
Highly recommended by this Owl