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Tony Banks - A Curious Feeling CD (album) cover


Tony Banks


Crossover Prog

3.43 | 227 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars The strength of Banks' debut lies in the combination of his masterful, flowing synth performance style, and a truly touching story. It's a tale of an ordinary man who wishes for and is granted wisdom and happiness... on the condition that should he ever fall in love, he would lose all of this, as well as his very memory and identity. It's not too difficult to discern an interesting allegory from that ;)

The beginning of the album has the main character introducing himself as a simple, working man, living alone and whiling away his time in a mundane job that he nevertheless enjoys. He explains that he can only remember his life up until 6 or 7 years into the past, and that he has accepted he has forgotten who he might have been; he is actually content with who he is, the fact he isn't troubled by the complexities of life, and pleased that people leave him to his own devices. Quickly, in the next track the album moves into a flashback of thirty years previous. Our character as a young boy is playing alone, and one of his favourite games is to make mental bets on the outcome of random events - in this case, a rabbit is running by, and he thinks 'if the rabbit darts into the burrow up ahead, then I'll be fine... but if it keeps on running, the ground will open beneath me and swallow me up'. The rabbit does indeed run on by, but of course... nothing happens. As time goes on, the child continues his little habitual wagers, until one day 'Fate' finds one of them interesting. The boy thinks to himself 'if I never fall for a lady, then let me be famous, let me be wise'. And so it was that 'Fate' stepped in and met this challenge, binding the boy to his gamble.

Very soon, the boy's life begins to change. He no longer plays his little games. He feels the world opening up before him... people begin to make sense to him, he grapples with science, philosophy, art, and becomes more in touch with his surroundings. Through his new found awareness, he also begins to take notice of a girl he grew up with but had never gotten to know properly. As time goes on, his mental exuberance continues, and he gets closer to the girl... not even realising that this one wonder is the very factor that will undo his life. The 'curious feeling' is the sense that, slowly, even at the peak of his life, his vision of who he was was starting to grow dim at the edges.

Eventually, in tandem with the declaration of his love for the girl he barely knew in childhood (the beautiful track, 'You') his curse kicks in, and the walls come crashing down around him, losing his sense of self ('Somebody Else's Dream'). Soothed by the tide of forgetfulness ('The Waters Of Lethe'), he sadly comes to accept his fate, fondly remembering his former glory one last time, and looking ahead to a future where neither he nor anyone else will know who he was - the future we already know from the opening of the album. The final track is achingly sad, as the man pleas that those who know his story never tell him... since his understanding, his gift, and his love are all lost to him, and he can never get them back.

Musically, the album benefits from solid sounds throughout - Banks' classic layered pianos and keyboards of the time feature in every track, making this very much an album of one style, fitting the idea that this is a continuing tale spread over each composition. The subtleties therefore come through in the melody and tempo shifts, an area where Banks reigns supreme, rather than a variety of instrumentation. Kim Beacon's vocals are skilled, efficient, but decidedly 'regular' - personally I think he was perfect for this album, an enchanting tale told by a normal man.

ThulŽatan | 4/5 |


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