Although Genesis had humble beginnings, by the time they decided to take the 'progressive' route they had almost everything they needed to succeed ... the brains, the creativity, and the ideas. And Nursery Cryme
marks the point at which they gained another important factor in their development - professional playing.
Tony Banks was an extremely competent keyboardist, and thus was able to move the band forward, but it was the arrival of Phil Collins and Steve Hackett on drumming and guitar respectively, that represented the biggest improvement. Such newly-acquired instrumental competence enabled the band to develop their wildest musical ideas, and that - combined with Peter Gabriel's inclination for mystical sometimes absurdist motifs - resulted in Nursery Cryme
, the breakthrough Genesis album.
The whole Prog schtick is mostly reserved for three of the seven songs here - the 'longer' ones. Firstly, there's "The Musical Box", a psychological thriller of sorts, whose story is told in the liner notes, where - apparently - the girl kills the guy with a croquet mallet, and he comes back from the dead to get his revenge as she finds his musical box.
Whatever, it's a nutty story anyway, but the lyrics merely paint the background to the story - it's the music that captivates me most ... everything starts slowly and quietly, but the guitar picking and basslines are truly ominous, and Gabriel wastes no effort in making things seem even more ominous. Then soon enough, the band takes off during a couple of faster rocking sections, which constrast heavily with sudden quiet sections again. All in all, the song is fantastic, and when it reaches its inevitable finale, I'm completely astonished.
Before the other 'epic', there's a short acoustic ballad called "For Absent Friends" with lead vocals by Phil Collins, whose singing is often maligned for reasons I've never understood. But as far as acoustic ballads go, this one is a definite beauty. Even so, it's not acoustic ballads we're here for ...
by Reviewer: Fernando Canto
(blogging at Sir Mustapha's Album Reviews [Defunct]