Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography
Tony Banks - 5 CD (album) cover


Tony Banks


Crossover Prog

3.94 | 164 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

4 stars In a general sense of the word, and in most cases, I do not go out of my way to listen to classical music as I am particularly never keen or interested in the genre. While being a huge music nerd who loves works that go for more symphonic or orchestral sounds, IE Progressive Rock to name the obvious, I still never took the time to really take a look, listen, and grasp classical music albums. However, today I felt interested. I wanted to listen to a classical piece of music. For some reason something about this album made me feel like I had an itch to scratch. I think it must've been the album cover, or maybe a review I saw that got me interested, or it possibly was due to the fact this was made by a legendary figure in Prog Rock music, Tony Banks.

Tony Banks isn't really one to give out an introduction too. He got his start with Genesis being one of the founding members of the band, and had a small-ish solo career, plus a side project called Strictly Inc. with Jack Hues of Wang Chung. By the early 2000s he had shifted gears from Prog rock and pop music to go into a new direction. He created a 7 piece classical suite, simply titled Seven, or if you wanna call it by its full name, Seven - A Suite For Orchestra. Afterward he would make a follow up in 2012 being Six Pieces for Orchestra, which is a 6 piece suite, much like how Seven was. I have not heard these two yet but I will someday. This change in direction definitely changed the course for Banks' work moving forward, going for a contemporary classical sound this time, making his career pretty heterogeneous. With that out of the way, he would release his next suite, also named after a number. In 2018 he released the album, 5. This was made with The Czech National Symphony Orchestra and Choir, plus a multitude of other artists like Nick Ingman, and Frank Ricotti. This is a collaborative effort on Tony's part, so with all of that out of the way, I think it is time to look at this work thoroughly.

I would rather not base this review on a usual track by track basis since this is basically one big work. It is a suite after all so considering each movement as a seperate song would not make sense in my opinion.

Each movement has a clear thematic approach. Each movement goes through a leitmotif that drives through each of the five pieces. Each time it feels very much the same yet distinct enough in the backing melodies for you to spot it but never fully expect it. Each movement also builds into the next one seamlessly, yet they never go into full big crescendos at the end. I am a tiny bit mixed in this sense when I expect these bigger and longer songs, I sort of want some ending that really drives home the album for me, but then I noticed that this was something a bit more experimental. It wasn't Avant Garde and super weird, but Tony here clearly is composing a work that is a lot more different. Instead of going for big and expanding crescendos, he instead is making the movements feel like the crescendos themselves throughout their run. I like this because it makes you appreciate the little details in the pieces more.

The more I hear this album the more I notice something more. Melodies I haven't paid attention to for my first listen become very familiar yet when they are replayed again it feels like entire thoughts on them switch up in a good way. This album is like a puzzle at first. You do not know where the pieces fit, but then you start to understand the image more and more as you assemble the picture. Little details like what tab goes in what socket or something in the image that fits with another thing. It all builds up into this full picture that when you get done with it, you really appreciate it.

I do however have to give it some criticism as I feel like it is important. While I love longer music, I felt as though these movements meandered a bit. Furthermore, I felt as though some of these pieces never stuck out to me as much as others. I feel like the main motif and a few others stuck better due to their sound, but some sounds almost went through one ear and out the other. Obviously I am not saying that every piece should be instantly stuck in my head, but I felt as though Tony made some ideas stuck more than others in these movements. He is a great composer, but he definitely should reevaluate some sections in the music of this suite so they can be as good as they possibly can be. As I stated before, some of these movements meander a bit throughout their run on the suite for me to never really get a good grasp on them, even after a ton of listening on this album.

All my critiques aside I do feel like there's definitely a good amount to love, especially with the mood of this album. Many classical works feel very bombastic, but this one feels very tranquil. Even when these big strings and horns come up I never felt like it pressured me down. I definitely felt the music, but I never felt like the music was pinning me against the wall. It felt like a light tap on my shoulder, noticeable, but nothing that makes me feel locked down. I love it when music just has an aura of good vibes. The tranquility of this piece really feels good to listen to, even when I had a disinterest in classical and orchestral music. I would not say that this album changed my worldview on classical works entirely, but I would enjoy another round of this kind of experience again.

I would definitely recommend checking this one out as it has this nice and cozy feeling if it. I would not call this a full on masterpiece, but as it stands it has a good deal of love put into it for it to never be bad in my opinion. There is definitely stuff to point out about it, but overall this experience can be very pleasant for anyone, even for people who do not enjoy listening to classical music like myself. Check it out if you have the time.

Dapper~Blueberries | 4/5 |


As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

Share this TONY BANKS review

Social review comments () BETA

Review related links

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: — jazz music reviews and archives | — metal music reviews and archives

Donate monthly and keep PA fast-loading and ad-free forever.