Genesis
Nursery Cryme


4.5
superb

Review

by Fugue USER (58 Reviews)
January 18th, 2011 | 210 replies | 17,968 views


Release Date: 1971 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Genesis’ first masterpiece: Nursery Cryme is a thoughtful symphonic prog-rock release driven by youthful imagination and a will to succeed.

8 of 8 thought this review was well written

The late, great jazz master Charles Mingus once said that “creativity is more than just being different… what’s hard is to be as simple as Bach”. Jazz as a genre of course is second to none as a creative outlet but while creativity can come in many forms, it is hard to argue against progressive rock being a close second. Forging from pop roots Genesis quickly established themselves as a genuine progressive act with their second album Trespass, jumping aboard the bandwagon popularised by King Crimson et al. just one year previously. Clearly this was a large transformation for such a young band, and although Trespass wasn’t a bad album it suffered from overly elaborate arrangements and embryonic compositions. Discarding the flak Genesis underwent a few major line-up changes, not least the introduction of Phil Collins on drums, and classic-era Genesis was born. With new personnel the group would go on to take the still infant progressive rock scene to new heights, and they marked this new epoch with their first glorious exemplar, Nursery Cryme.

Both adventurous in design and imaginative in presentation, Nursery Cryme purveys a deeply pensive aura through its delicate instrumentation which provides a vessel for Peter Gabriel’s commanding vocals. The beauty is in the detail; subdued brass and woodwind passages intermittently punctuate the wailing guitar riffs and gentle organ melodies bringing additional depth to the music, and yet it all seems so simple. This veil of simplicity shrouds the few audible mistakes and even these feel calculated, serving in creating a personable atmosphere for Gabriel to hypnotise through his surreal narrative. From the crooning folk verses of Seven Stones to the audaciously theatrical stanzas of prog-rock epic The Return of the Giant Hogweed, quaint storylines pervade the music injecting further charm and character into the record. It sounds eccentric, and at times it borders on plain silly, but throughout Gabriel retains a vice-like grip on his audience, aided by the outstanding pacing of the tracks.

The first of many flagship moments throughout Nursery Cryme arrives in the form of the genre-defining, microcosmic opener The Musical Box. Rivalling King Crimson’s Epitaph as the gold-standard for symphonic prog, this ten minute arrangement illustrates regions of profound technical prowess and an acute manipulation of tempos and timbres enhance the atmosphere; refining convoluted meanderings into complimentary movements. This is far from the only example of genius however, with a diverse range of techniques unique to every track. Saccharine-dosed, folksy numbers are just as common as the progressive excesses and display a wholly different side to the band. Restrained duo Harlequin and Seven Stones rely heavily on eerie organ melodies, and the introduction of an acoustic guitar passage in the former compliments the vocal harmonies of Gabriel and Collins, leading to another distinctive aesthetic.

Whether it was the influence of Charisma label-mates Van Der Graaf Generator, with whom Genesis toured profoundly whilst writing this album, or a fundamental desire to utilize a far greater range of auditory talents is open to debate, but the introduction of heavier passages and a denser atmosphere amplified the bands strengths and would become the blueprint for their subsequent masterpieces. The track structure, musical aptitude and songwriting would all be perfected in years to come but sometimes it takes a truly exceptional album in order for a band to realise their potential, and without Nursery Cryme expanding the band’s boundaries then it is possible Selling England by the Pound would never have been made. With this in mind, as a precursor to greater things, Nursery Cryme is a resoundingly accomplished record encompassing some of the very best prog-rock endeavours with all the gall and ingenuity of youth. Moreover, it is a masterfully crafted, well-paced soundtrack containing numerous highlights, expansive textures and even a hint of satire and never a dull moment.

Overall 4.5 Superb



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Comments:Add a Comment 
Fugue
January 18th 2011



7352 Comments


I actually prefer this to Selling England, but I appreciate the latter is probably the better album.

LG
January 18th 2011



3049 Comments


Never gave these guys any attention. I might now just for Phil.

Jethro42
January 18th 2011



12377 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

...although Trespass wasn’t a bad album, it suffered from overly elaborate arrangements and embryonic compositions.

That's all what Genesis could have done with drummer John Mayhew (R.I.P.) on board.
Reading a review about Genesis (the best band of the world) is a real treat for me, especially a quality one. Excellent write up man.

Fugue
January 18th 2011



7352 Comments


Get on it LG.

Thanks man, it's always nice to know a prog-man such as you reads my reviews Jethro. Any chance of a few recs?

Jethro42
January 18th 2011



12377 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

With a pleasure. According to your ratings, I realize your degree of appreciation regarding prog genre is pretty high, so I hope I won't disappoint, 'cause I'll have to rec you a lot more than a few haha.
Let start by Renaissance, a sympho prog act with both classical and folk textures. (Check out our [Nag and me] ProgJect review which is gonna be on the map either tomorrow or Thursday. My plug is done haha). Here are some links that might be useful about prog.
I could see you digging...lotsss of them, so enjoy!
http://www.sputnikmusic.com/list.php?memberid=280733&listid=48175
http://www.sputnikmusic.com/list.php?memberid=280733&listid=30063




Gyromania
January 18th 2011



15200 Comments


Brilliantly articulated review, Ross =] A well-earned pos from me.

Fugue
January 18th 2011



7352 Comments


Thanks Matt, you'd like this. Also ta for the awesome recs Jethro.

gamwtinmanatus
January 18th 2011



29 Comments


bravo for reviewing such an album

great work

pos'd

Jethro42
January 18th 2011



12377 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

You're welcome dude.

Irving
Staff Reviewer
January 18th 2011



7144 Comments


Great review Ross; and about darn time you pumped one out! ;)

Fugue
January 19th 2011



7352 Comments


Lol Irving, this is generally considered a quick turn around for me.

mallen-
January 19th 2011



1235 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Great review, love this album

QuestionableScum
September 11th 2011



93 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I also prefer this to SEBTP and Foxtrot. But I would not say that SEBTP or Foxtrot are better albums than this.

KILL
September 11th 2011



70621 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

dude nothing beats selling england

Digging: Gal Costa - Gal Costa

Jethro42
September 11th 2011



12377 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

word

KILL
September 23rd 2011



70621 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

best album ever

KILL
September 23rd 2011



70621 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

agreed

TheVoiceAndTheSnake
September 23rd 2011



3663 Comments


Selling England > everything else

Jethro42
September 23rd 2011



12377 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

KILL, have you ever heard that lost Genesis song ;
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QP4_Iv1M45o

KILL
September 23rd 2011



70621 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

that was sweet



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