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Genesis - Duke CD (album) cover

DUKE

Genesis

 

Symphonic Prog

3.47 | 1330 ratings

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VianaProghead
Prog Reviewer
3 stars Review Nš 154

"Duke" is the tenth studio album of Genesis and was released in 1980. It was released after "A Curious Feeling", the solo debut studio album of Tony Banks, which was released in 1979 and "Smallcreep's Day" of Mike Rutherford, released also in 1980, and before "Face Value" of Phil Collins, which would be released in the next year, in 1981.

"Duke" became the second album of Genesis released as a trio. The album began their development towards a more accessible pop and rock music. A closer look at "Duke" reveals that the album is sort of divided into two parts. First there is the so-called "Duke" suite, consisting of "Behind The Lines", "Duchess", "Guide Vocal", "Turn It On Again", "Duke's Travels" and "Duke's End". It was written by the whole group. All these songs were supposedly part of a big long track made up in the best tradition of "Supper's Ready" of a series of song fragments. However, there doesn't seem to be a "bigger picture" behind the songs, and it's uncertain whether there ever was an underlying all concept. The other group consists of half a dozen songs written by the individual members of the band, distributed very evenly.

"Duke" has twelve tracks. The first track "Behind The Lines" written by Banks, Collins and Rutherford has a great progressive start with about 2 minutes, but after that the song enters on a pop rhythm. It's an interesting song with some nice musical moments. The second track "Duchess" written by Banks, Collins and Rutherford is basically a pop song with some progressive influences and it represents another good track on the album. It's an interesting attempt to merge the progressive with pop. The third track "Guide Vocal" written by Banks is the smallest song on the album and is a very beautiful and melancholic ballad which gives us a brief and nice musical moment. The fourth track "Man Of Our Times" written by Rutherford is a song that feels more influenced by the new wave than by the progressive music. This is a good composition, well balanced, which gives to us another good and nice musical moment. The fifth track "Misunderstanding" written by Collins is a pop song and is one of the better produced on the album. It seems that was one of his two songs chosen by Banks and Rutherford to be part of the album. They might have been released on "Face Value". This is a great pop song which may be part of a hit parade chart. But, this is a song for a Collins' album but never for a Genesis' album. The sixth track "Heathaze" written by Banks is with "Duke's Travels" and "Duke's End" one of my favourite songs on the album. Sincerely, I think this is an underrated song which deserved would be part of a better Genesis' album. This is a very beautiful ballad in Banks' vein. It's a great song which gives us a great musical moment on the album. The seventh track "Turn It On Again" written by Banks, Collins and Rutherford is the pop rock song of the album. It was one of the greatest successes of them and was one of the most played live songs by the band. Whether we like it or not, this is a good song. The eighth track "Alone Tonight" written by Rutherford is a pretty pop ballad in the same vein of "Your Own Special Way" or "Follow You Follow Me", but is weaker than those two songs. It represents one of the weakest moments of the album. The ninth track "Cul-de-Sac" written by Banks is an interesting song with some progressive influences. This is a good track and is one of the songs on the album with more progressive lines. It's an enjoyable and melodic song with some interesting music, but somehow ends up being a bit bland. The tenth track "Please Don't Ask" written by Collins is another pop song and is the other Collins' track chosen to the album. It's a slow pop ballad and is also one of the most forgotten of the album. This is another track for a solo Collins' work and not for a Genesis' album. It represents another weak point on the album. The eleventh and twelfth tracks "Duke's Travels" and "Duke's End" written by Banks, Collins and Rutherford are really the only truly progressive moments on the album. I don't know why they split the song into two, because it sounds to me as a unique piece. This is really a fantastic progressive track, almost instrumental, which reminds us our very good old Genesis's sound. It's a pity that this moment represents so few on a Genesis' album. Still, it's better than nothing, and it almost saved the day.

Conclusion: As some of you know, I'm a huge Genesis' fan, but honestly, it's impossible, for me, consider "Duke" the last progressive album of Genesis, or even a half progressive album. For me, somehow, the last was "...And Then There Were Three?". Sincerely, I can only see on this album two really progressive tracks "Duke's Travels" and "Duke's End". But, I don't consider it a weak album either. So, it's hard for me rating this album. "Duke" has two great progressive tracks "Duke's Travels" and "Duke's End", two great pop songs "Misunderstanding" and "Turn It On Again", but the rest of the tracks are in general too much undefined. Some of them aren't totally progressive and others are pop songs that failed, because they weren't commercially big hits. I think the band searched to do something different, somehow to break with their past. Maybe they hadn't the courage or were unable to cut completely with their past. The final result is an indefinite album, a strange hybrid album. I only can see it as good but not an essential album.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

VianaProghead | 3/5 |

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