Classic Rock Review

The home of old record and bootleg reviews…

Genesis The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway (1974)


The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway is one of the quintessential prog rock albums of the 70s and for good reason. It is arguably Genesis at their finest. Although the album does not contain the awe-inspiring Supper’s Ready, the tactically brilliant Musical Box, or beautiful Dancing With the Moonlit Knight, it still manages to equal, if not best, the previous Genesis albums. In terms of sound, there is just too much to talk about. Like all albums in the Gabriel/Hackett era, this album is a musical cacophony.

The listener is bombarded with Genesis’ outstanding musicianship, sonic grace, over-the-top craziness, flawless cohesion, and seemingly limitless musical experimentation. I defy anyone to listen to Hairless Heart and tell me that they weren’t moved. And at the same time, one can’t but help and crack a grin when listening to The Colony of Slippermen. What is truly amazing about the album is general feeling of punk about it, despite it being released in pre-punk 1974. And yet, with that punk undertone, Genesis fail to loose their trademark sound.

There aren’t any notable tracks because the album is so damn good all the way through. This is an amazing feat being that it’s a double album. As far as consistency is concerned, The Lamb far outdoes even the likes of The Wall. Dare I say that? I think I just did.

As a prog fan, I love a good concept album/rock opera. My 3 favourites of these are The Lamb itself, The Wall, and Operation: Mindcrime. The Lamb doesn’t have the best story of these three (largely due to the abstract craziness of it) it is still one of the best concept albums/rock operas out there. I’ll try my best to give a breakdown of the story. A New York punk named Rael (an allegory for Peter Gabriel) emerges from the subway after tagging the walls there and sees a lamb lie down on Broadway. He then finds himself trapped in a cave, then a cucoon, then a cage in his mind. He sees his brother John and calls for help, but his brother does not respond. Then he finds himself in a factory that is producing lifeless packaging and sees John working there.

I kind of loose track of the story here, but when Counting Out Time rolls around, Rael apparently finds a girl and tries having sex with her, but fails. Then he wakes up in a tunnel and follows the Carpet Crawlers to a door. It leads into a chamber of 32 doors filled with people who don’t know how to escape. Rael hears a faint voice and turns to see a blind woman named Liliwhite Lilith. She feels the breeze of the exit and leads him out of the chamber. Again I loose track.

Rael stumbles upon a pool during the song The Lamia. It’s filled with 3 snakes with female faces. He enters the pool and they start to nibble him and he them. Then he turns into a deformed Slipperman and finds himself in their colony. His brother John is there as well. Rael learns that the only way to reverse the effects is to get castrated. He does so and his “number” is put in a tube to hang around his neck for some reason. Just when he thinks his ordeal is over a Raven swoops in and takes his junk.

So he runs off after the bird and leaves John behind. When he catches up to the bird he watches it drop the tube into some rapids. So, he scrambles down the scree towards the rapids, but then he hears a cry for help. Rael spots his brother John drowning in the rapids and opts to save him instead of getting his “number” back. Rael jumps in the water, grabs hold of John, and pulls him to shore. But when Rael looks at John’s face he sees that it’s his own. I have no idea what this means, but it’s one hell of an adventure.

Albums of this calibre are few an far between. There is not a “bad song” on the album. Despite the lack of unity in the band’s song writing on this album, they made it work and work in a very good way. This, along with Operation: Mindcrime is my second favourite album ever after Dark Side. If you like the early Genesis sound, definitely get it. If you are interested, it’s the best album to start with ’cause the songs are shorter than on other albums. And if you aren’t a fan of most Genesis stuff, this still has undeniable songs like The Carpet Crawlers, Hairless Heart, and The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway (song).

Simply, one of the best albums ever made.


April 18, 2013 - Posted by | Genesis The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway |

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