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Genesis - Duke CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.50 | 1549 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars Hardly the pop sellout it is sometimes painted as, Duke is in fact the last hurrah for Genesis' proggy side. Tony Banks ably incorporates a more modern (for the time) synthesiser sound into the band's music this time - and is one of the few people who are able to avoid early 80s synths sounding dated - and the album consists of three different types of song: adeptly composed art-pop pieces like Turn It On Again or Misunderstanding, nods to the band's pastoral prog past like Heathaze, and a modernised progressive sound displayed on songs such as Duchess and Duke's Travels/Duke's End which could have happily seen the band carry the prog torch through the 1980s and still attain great commercial success if only they had pursued this direction.

The disc also seems to be something of an inadvertent concept album - dividing up the "Albert" suite (Behind the Lines/Duchess/Guide Vocal/Turn It On Again/Duke's Travel's/Duke's End) and spreading it over the album means that overall the album seems to have a hidden storyline about a man whose wife leaves him, goes through a depressing period in his life, musters the courage to meet up with her again (Please Don't Ask), and then realises that he's moved on and is able to finally put her behind him. (The first "Take what's yours and be damned!" in Guide Vocal is sorrowful petulance from the jilted man; the second "Take what's yours and be damned!" at the end of the album is a firm rejection from a man who has decided he doesn't need what his ex was offering any more.)

I wouldn't call it the crowning prog achievement of the Phil era of Genesis - that accolade probably goes to A Trick of the Tail - but it's a competent updating of the Genesis sound which at its best ably balances commercial accesibility with progressive credibility. Granted, the songs that form the core "Albert" suite do tend to be somewhat more solid and polished that the other material, which tends towards insubstantial filler at times. But mild inconsistency doesn't translate to the album being a full-blown betrayal of the band's prog roots by any stretch of the imagination. That, friends, would come later.

Warthur | 4/5 |


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