CD Review: Genesis

By David Chiu

Without a doubt the best and beloved incarnation of Genesis was the lineup that consisted of Peter Gabriel, Tony Banks, Mike Rutherford. Steve Hackett and Phil Collins. That particular collective’s music is celebrated on this box containing arguably Genesis’ most adventurous early albums: Trespass, Nursery Cryme, Foxtrot, Selling England by the Pound and The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway.

Trespass was somewhat of a folk-inspired, atmospheric work that featured original guitarist Anthony Phillips and drummer John Mayhew; it’s not the strongest of the five works but has good moments particularly “Looking for Someone,” “Visions of Angels” and the chugging “The Knife.” Genesis’s path towards dramatic art rock took shape, however, with the following record Nursery Cryme, marking the debut of Collins and Hackett with the band with more of the epic and imaginative story songs such as “The Musical Box,” “The Fountain of Salamacis” and “The Return of the Giant Hogweed.” Foxtrot is highlighted by the 22-minute “Suppers’ Ready,” a classic song by the early group. Selling England By the Pound, a conceptual work on Englishness is an exceptionally great record that contained the unlikely pop hit “I Know What I Like,” “The Cinema Show” and the dazzling musical playing of Banks and Hackett on “Firth of Fifth.”

The best out of the five in this box is The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway, a sprawling and ambitious double concept album about Rael, a Puerto Rican in New York. Arguably the quintessential Genesis album, with some of Genesis best work: the title track, “The Carpet Crawlers, “Counting Out Time,” and “Back in NYC.” The DVD version of Lamb is absolutely superb because unlike the other DVDs from the box sets, this one features visual graphics and archival band footage that transports the viewer/listener to what it must have been like to be watching the album being performed in 1975. Sadly but fittingly it marked the end of Peter Gabriel’s time with the band and the next chapter of the band was about to begin. The group with Phil Collins as singer eventually became a commercial for the next 20 years but this short-lived lineup represented on 1970-1975 left probably a more lasting impression in the minds of die-hard fans.


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