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Genesis - The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

4.29 | 2736 ratings

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3 stars "The Lamb" is in many ways the ultimate progressive rock concept album, for both good and bad. To the good, it is 94 minutes of sheer escapism from the hurly-burly of 1974 life, helped along by a few landmark tracks. On the downside, it begets a tumultuous disarray all its own, and features more than a typical double album's share of filler. More problematically still, on the one hand I can think of no earlier "neo prog" album, with its emphasis on wordiness at the expense of group dynamics, while on the other hand some of the songs sound like blueprints for some of Genesis' most monumental transgressions that were to reappear many albums later.

The main melodic themes are introduced in the surprisingly conventional title cut, which succeeds because of their sheer strength. Other classics are the mellotronic "Fly on a Windshield", the suspenseful "In the Cage", and two of Genesis' most beautiful ballads - "Carpet Crawlers" and "Lamia", the latter including one of Hackett's best outros. Vocally, these flatter Peter Gabriel, but elsewhere, his pipes and effects flood the proceedings, such as in the lame pop of "Counting Out Time", the developmentally challenged "Back in N.Y.C." and "Colony of Slippermen", all of which bring back the screeching styles and ropey wordplay of "Battle of Epping Forest". Cuts like these seem to rely on one or two impressive organ pumps to carry the day, but they just aren't enough for me. Elliptical references aside, "Grand Parade of Lifeless Packaging" and "Lylywhite Lilith" could easily pass for mid 1980s Genesis, nuff said.

Of the instrumentals, the best are "Hairless Heart" and "Silent Sorrow in Empty Boats", which actually sound good on their own as well as providing an atmospheric bridge between cuts, or an opportunity to change costumes as the case may be. A generally ambitious yet wildly uneven album, the Lamb was PG run amok over Genesis, which helps explain why the group was able to find its bearings shortly thereafter and why Gabriel's early solo career was so inconsistent. A delectable repast for prog purists, "The lamb" is a trifle woolly for my tastes. 2.5 stars rounded up.

kenethlevine | 3/5 |


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