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Tony Banks - A Curious Feeling CD (album) cover


Tony Banks


Crossover Prog

3.43 | 244 ratings

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3 stars 3.5 from me, but those ratings don't exist.

All three members of Genesis released solo albums around the same time, as the future of Genesis was severely in doubt. As a result, they get to stamp their individual identity on an album for the very first time. Mike composed a highly regarded and well composed collection of light prog tunes. Phil recorded his massive selling debut album which lead to a concurrent solo career alongside Genesis making him, at one point, probably the hardest working man in show business. Tony released this album which has garnered mixed reviews. Out of all of the solo efforts by any Genesis member, especially these three members, it is the most Genesis sounding album. Voyage of the Acoylte (spelling) probably comes the closest besides this album and it is actually a much better album.

The reasons for that being a much better album are many. Steve, finally free from the unfortunately limited role he had in Genesis, is album to really unfurl and let himself loose. However, he wasn't stupid, nor was he against the kind of music that Genesis created. He loved Genesis and he knew where his bread was buttered. So he crated an album that sounded a lot like contemporary Genesis with, naturally, a much stronger guitar presence at the expensive of a lessened keyboard sound. The songwriting shows how short sighted Genesis may have been to hold him back, or how shy and unassuming Steve must have been. The songwriting is stellar, diverse, and engaging. It was an incredibly debut for Steve, and one of the best debut albums by a Genesis member.

However, Steve's debut came five or six years before Tony's. At that point, Genesis was at it's best in the progressive rock world, and were top contenders for best progressive rock band. A lot had changed in Genesis since then. After suffering through the loss of Gabriel, they presented two very strong progressive rock albums with Steve before he left. They tried to mix things up on "And Then There Was Three..." by toying with shorter songs, but this attempt was muddled and confused, and the band was obviously at a bit of an identity crisis. They almost broke up and decided to issue solo albums. In this most unsure period, Tony released his solo debut. It is a good album, but the confusion of the time bled into it.

Tony plays all the keyboards and guitars. This may suprise some, but Tony actually wrote and played quite a bit of the guitar lines in early Genesis. Think of the simple, yet evocative guitar lines in the introductions of "Musical Box" and "Supper's Ready." This was the style of guitar Tony could play and he does it on this album. The music is, naturally, written by him and features heavy layering of keyboards, as was Tony's style. However, the contemporary keyboards of the time are shriller and less expressive than earlier keyboards. The music he is playing is strong, the melodies are good and the harmonies strong, but the tones are off.

Tony also seems to ramble a bit more than usual on this album. Though Tony's general writing style is long and "rambling" (for lack of a better word) he generally keeps the core melodies polished. Think "One for the Vine." However, here, the melodies are generally fairly obtuse, and the music much more laid back. There is little of the stormy drama of early and even later Genesis. The album flows slowly and gently, with layers of keyboards and guitars ringing in your ears, without really creating strong hooks. This dreamy style is appropriate, given the theme of the album. This is an interesting approach, and something few members of Genesis really tried before. It is a new age idea, but it is not banal like new age. It is artistic and creative.

However, the slow tempo of much of the album, combined with a lack of really strong hook filled melodies can make the album disappear from the mind fairly quickly. It's a good starting point for Genesis fans interesting in Tony's solo work. For those interested in his prog work only, stop here. Very little he did was as steeped in progressive rock.

SonicDeath10 | 3/5 |


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