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Genesis - Duke CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.50 | 1425 ratings

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4 stars While a majority of people seemingly have a problem with Duke as Genesis' sticking one foot firmly in the pop realm, I actually find a lot of excellence in this album that the band would unfortunately never recover after this. This would be their last excellent album, which may not be as progressive as their earlier works, but it is among their most well-crafted. I especially love the musical nature of the suite, which is divided across the entire album. "Behind the Lines" is a driving opener, with some of Phil Collins' best drumming and even lyrics (presumably). "Duchess" is particularly great, with some of the best lyrics that Tony Banks and Mike Rutherford (again, presumably) wrote, and the "Guide Vocal" is an excellent bridge number, again from Banks. "Turn it on Again" is catchy, and became a minor hit in its own right with its life-on-television subject. The last pure progressive piece by the band is the album closer "Duke's Travels/Duke's End," which is simply one of their best compositions as a trio. Banks' keyboards dominate most of the piece, but not to an overbearing excess. The last half of the two-parter reprises most of this suite, including Phil recalling the "Guide Vocal" (otherwise it's all instrumental), and then closes with a final outburst and final note to go with.

There are six solo compositions, with each member bringing two to the table. As mentioned, Phil Collins comes through as an equal songwriter for the first time, as his two solo compositions are the hit "Misunderstanding" and "Please Don't Ask," which is actually very moving and, considering Collins' situation at the time, inspired. Rutherford's abrasive "Man of Our Times" is rather heavy on his guitars, as is the much softer "Alone Tonight," which does somewhat sound like a Collins' solo number, but both of them are still very good (I am a sucker for the latter one). Banks brings it his last masterpiece number with the synthesized "Heathaze" and the driving "Cul de Sac," which I never completely understood, but seems that's part of his complexity.

Anyway, while no, they aren't the "old" Genesis, they should not be expected to perform as such. Duke is a well-polished and well-played album from start to finish, and I get hooked every time I drop this in the CD player. Hard to believe that they dropped a lot with Abacab immediately thereafter. Still, I can't ignore how fine Duke turned out to be, and gave them one last great work.

CVoss | 4/5 |


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