Genesis are on record as saying that they feel they have never produced a definitive album. Maybe, but 'Selling England' is as close as they get. This is their 'Dark Side of the Moon'.
All the elements of Genesis, old and new, are present on this record. Gabriel's voice and quirky, pun filled lyrics are much in evidence. It has Steve Hackett's finest hour in the magnificent solo on 'Firth of Fifth', and Tony Banks similarly shines in the awesome instrumental section of 'The Cinema Show'. Mike Rutherford's powerful rhythmn playing drives 'Cinema Show' and 'Dancing With the Moonlit Knight', and Phil Collins, whose drumming is staggering throughout, has a vocal debut on the light, romantic ballad 'More Fool Me', perhaps a sign of things to come.
This is a powerful, complex yet amazingly accessible and melodic work, lyrically loosely based on the theme of England, past and present. For me personally, Genesis hit their peak with this album, and sustained the quality for 'The Lamb', 'Trick of the Tail' and 'Wind and Wuthering' before starting to balance their art with simpler, more radio friendly ballads and anthems. One of the great rock albums of the Seventies.
Interestingly, Radiohead fans listening to this will hear quite a sizeable influence from this record - the mellotron choirs, 7/4 timing and guitar figures all crop up in 'OK Computer'!