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Tony Banks - Strictly Inc. CD (album) cover


Tony Banks


Crossover Prog

3.49 | 80 ratings

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3 stars If you're as crazy as I am, i.e. willing to buy an album for the sake of a single good track, if "Firth of Fifth" still gives you goosebumps after all these years, then do yourself a favour: go out and get this album. Now!!! Nine of its ten tracks are your average ballads - some nice vocal/instrumental tunes disguised as pop songs. Yet the man concludes this seemingly non-threatening album with a heart-stopping, mind-blowing, gut-wrenching 17-minute number entitled "An Island in the Darkness". A masterpiece that, in my books, ranks second only to his classic "Firth of Fifth".

For lack of better means, here is a description of the track in plain words: some quiet piano notes introduce the listener to the main theme, then a drum machine la "Duke" ("Dutchess" style) steps in alongwith a so-so obscure vocalist. But don't despair: when the fake drums fade out and the dude finally shuts up, that's when the fireworks begin. The tempo picks up and the keyboard arpeggios start cascading over one another at dizzying speed. The chordal variety in this section is stunning; it condenses BANKS' finest compositional abilities into a 10-minute frenzy of colourful, dramatic peaks before exploding into a grand finale, complete with rousing, swelling keyboards and a plaintive DARYL STUERMER guitar solo (shades of STEVE HACKETT on 'Firth"), a combination that will tear your heart out. As was the case with "Firth" (and "One for the Vine" also), the track then quietly dies out on a piano reprise of the opening theme, closing the loop as it should - a perfect ending for a perfect song.

This is the one, my friends: the genius of TONY BANKS in all its glory. For the love of prog, don't let this one pass you by!!!

Hibou | 3/5 |


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