“Genesis proved that they could rock on Foxtrot but on its follow-up Selling England by the Pound they didn’t follow this route, they returned to the English eccentricity of their first records, which wasn’t so much a retreat as a consolidation of powers.” STE “Most of the album flaunts songs that are stuffed with stop-start riffs, shifty meters, atmospheric interludes and nutty rhymes: meticulously plotted excess.” JP
“Even if this eight-track album has no one song that hits as hard as Watcher of the Skies, Genesis hasn’t sacrificed the newfound immediacy of Foxtrot; they’ve married it to their eccentricity, finding ways to infuse it into the delicate whimsy that’s been their calling card since the beginning.” STE
This “is prog Genesis at its pinnacle, an album of songsuites that can barely stop morphing long enough to show off a majestic tune or a spiraling guitar riff. It’s a concept album (but of course) about Britain’s long descent from past glories: from Shakespeare and chivalry to dead-end jobs and supermarket shopping.” JP
“Many overt literary allusions – the Tolkeinisms of the title of The Battle of Epping Forest only being the most apparent – gives this album a story book quality. It plays as a collection of short stories, fables and fairy tales.” STE
“Genesis has never been as direct as they’ve been on the fanciful yet hook-driven I Know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe) – apart from the fluttering flutes in the fade-out, it could easily be mistaken for a glam single – or as achingly fragile as on More Fool Me.” STE The latter “introduces Collins as the morosely romantic lead singer he would later become full-time.” JP
“It’s this delicate balance and how the album showcases the band’s narrative force on a small scale as well as large that makes this their arguable high-water mark.” STE
- STE Stephen Thomas Erlewine, All Music Guide
- JP Jon Pareles, Blender magazine. (10/07), pp.118-9.