Wednesday, October 8, 2008

My Random Wednesday: Genesis, 'In the Cage'

When we think of prog rock the first reaction is to shudder and think of all cringe inducing stage theatrics and the interminable instrumental noodling designed to showcase alleged virtuosity.

So when we get a prog tendency, the best thing is to go for the pinnacle of the genre and Peter Gabriel era genesis can argue to be just that. ‘The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway’ is a curious album, in which Gabriel wove a intricate tapestry partly about the quest of the protagonist ‘Rael’ to find his brother, but with individual songs making satirical allusions to everything from mythology, the sexual revolution, advertising and consumerism. It’s a concept album so it’s wildly ambitous, bombastic (delightfully so) and more than a touch indulgent.

‘In the Cage’ is simply perfect prog , it’s one of the few songs from the album to remain in Genesis’ live repertoire to this day. Musically we get a chugging synth/ drum rhythm representing the clausterphobia that Rael experiences in his mental prison, before the track bursts open with Tony Bank’s infamous synth solo (remember them?), which provides a genuine shot of adrenaline into the prog body taking us onto some celestial plateau.

Every thing about this is epic, and it won't let you forget that. Lyrically it’s vintage, eccentric Gabriel, “drowning in this liquid fear” and so on. Three popular songs are referenced in the lyrics, “My Girl”, Del Shannon’s “Runaway” and “Raindrops keep falling on my head”, which only adds to the postmodern mystery.

Where to find: The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway (1974)

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