Mojo (Publisher) (3/01, p.82) - "...Enter Phil Collins and Steve Hackett for a set that eclipsed its predecessor [1970's TRESPASS] in technical ability. 10-minute opener 'The Musical Box' benefiting from jazz-influenced playing..."
Genesis's third album was a far cry from the delicate folk-rock tapestries and chiming 12-string guitars of its predecessor, TRESPASS. The infusion of a semi-classical structural sensibility had become more prevalent. Fragile ballads are at a minimum, replaced by driving classical-rock epics full of heavy guitar, bass lines, and sweeping Mellotron. The sound occasionally recalls the refined but uncompromising instrumental attack of the Nice (particularly in Tony Banks's Keith Emerson-ish blasts of organ bravura).
The interlocking guitar arpeggios and folkie moments central to TRESPASS are still present, however, providing contrast to NURSERY CRYME's bolder moments. The group's ambitious compositional style and Gabriel's eccentric lyrics are at their height on "The Fountain of Salamacis," "The Musical Box," and the instrumentally sophisticated "The Return of the Giant Hogweed," making NURSERY CRYME the first Genesis album to truly define their mature style.