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Tony Banks - A Curious Feeling CD (album) cover

A CURIOUS FEELING

Tony Banks

Crossover Prog


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Sean Trane
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Folk
2 stars 2.5 stars really!!

I had big expectations when this came out and I listened to it about twenty times over a period of ten years before actually giving up. Where is the Mad Man Moon or the Vine ? Clearly Mr Banks was the musical arranger/leader but he sure as hell needed the help from his colleagues as we are far away from a good Genesis album.

You can draw a good parallel from Banks' A Curious Feeling to Genesis's Duke album and to Rutherford's A Smallcreep's Day. Clearly by then Genesis had a sound of theirs at the time. I am not talking of Duke's most commercial tracks like Lisunderstanding or Turn It Off Again, but the rest of the album. If you can picture those tracks with a cross of the ATTWT album, you get a good idea of what this sounds. Rutherford's ASD is also very close. This is close to the third star, but not exactly

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Send comments to Sean Trane (BETA) | Report this review (#27156)
Posted Monday, March 01, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars If you listen to this record expecting to hear a Genesis record, you'll be as surprised and disappointed as were the previous reviewers.

If you open up your mind and forget who Tony Banks is, enjoy this record for what it is: great music, you'll really like it.

I'm a great fan of prog music, have 170 cds by Genesis and solos, 100 by Pink and solos, listen to Marillion, Pendragon, After Crying, PFM, Orme, King Crimson, Yes, etc., and there are three solo Genesis records I always enjoy, one is Steve Hackett's Voyage of the Acolyte, Rutherford's Smallcreep's Day and Tony Bank's A Curious feeling, this can't be because it's bad.

The elements from Genesis are there, the great keyboard sound and dramatic sections, the vocalist Banks chose takes some time getting used to (admitted), but once you get over that you really enjoy.

People sometimes listen too much with their brains, specially in Prog music, to much "that keyboard player really is fast, or, that drummer is awesome technically" and forget to listen without analyzing so much. Let go and "feel" the music and maybe you'll get into much more of what is available.

This is a great record despite what you may "think", and that may be the problem... that you are thinking too much!

I couldn't avoid contradicting the other reviewers (though they are entitled to their opinions!), because I think they are being unjust in classifying this as an average record, far from it in my opinion!

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Send comments to mgallard (BETA) | Report this review (#27157)
Posted Friday, March 12, 2004 | Review Permalink
Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars Not a String Driven Thing

An excellent debut solo album from the Genesis keyboard man.

Bank's is no extrovert in the vein of Wakeman or Emerson, and has no pretensions of being either of them. (It is ironic that this album is on the Charisma label, since, certainly as far as his stage presence is concerned, that's something he does not have.) His keyboard playing on Genesis albums is generally understated, with a few obvious exceptions such as the magnificent "Cinema show" where allows himself a little slack, and comes up with a virtuoso performance.

"A curious feeling" is built on the same foundations. Keyboards are always there it is true, but they by no means dominate the album. Banks prefers to offer the layers of sound on which his fellow musicians can place the main performances. The vocals (by Kim Beacon, one time of the highly under-rated String Driven Thing) are superb, giving an album which might otherwise have sounded similar to Genesis, a very different (although hardly "curious") feeling. A more accurate reference point might be the comparatively recent "Calling all stations" album, where Ray Wilson took on vocal duties.

There are some touches of supreme melody on the album such as "For a While" and "After the lie", the latter seeing Banks letting loose the reins for a magical burst of synthesiser. The pace is generally relaxed, almost ambient at times, but with the occasional release of energy.

In all a fine album, well worth seeking out.

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Send comments to Easy Livin (BETA) | Report this review (#27152)
Posted Friday, March 19, 2004 | Review Permalink
lor68
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Well this album was the main inspiration, when my prog band LETHE looked for its name, at the moment of the establishment of the first ensemble on 1988... in fact the track the "Waters of Lethe", often used as a tape intro during some Progressive Festivals, when I participated as an headliner with my definitive ensemble some years later, was another Tony BANK's trademark"... But coming back to the present issue, Chester Thompson on drums was remarkable, Tony BANKS at his usual equipment, except on his mono-synth, whose solos are not his best achievement, was excellent like in the old era of GENESIS!! "Lucky Me" had a particular original arrangement, while the title track was perhaps his best effort!!

This work is recommended, without thinking of its artistic value too much...

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Send comments to lor68 (BETA) | Report this review (#27153)
Posted Thursday, April 01, 2004 | Review Permalink
greenback
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Here is GENESIS' keyboard player's first solo album. It sounds obviously a bit like "Duke" and "And Then There Were 3", but, it really sounds more quite like "Smallcreep's Day" by Mike Rutherford. Actually the singer has the same good voice. The songs mostly consist in keyboards which are very mellow and floating. His usual piano is omnipresent. This is his best album. There are also good mellow electric guitar, drums, but the accent is put on the keyboards and vocals.

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Send comments to greenback (BETA) | Report this review (#27154)
Posted Thursday, April 08, 2004 | Review Permalink
daveconn
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Tony BANKS' concept album about a man who loses his memory when he loses love is itself pretty forgettable. GENESIS fans will find the music familiar -- the intricate piano passages, symphonic synthesizers, and guitars (courtesy of BANKS as well) sound like GENESIS' quieter moments over their last few albums -- but even BANKS' own songs with that band were never this prolix and prone to meander. Vocalist Kim Beacon is an understated singer; combined with BANKS' pastoral and pastel-colored arrangements, "A Curious Feeling" becomes a pale imitation of the keyboardist's contributions to GENESIS.

For every fiery instrumental section (e.g., on "You") that suggests things are heating up, there are three that limp across the stage like sad ghosts. BANKS' keen pop sensibilities pick up some of the slack, notably on "For A While" (itself foreshadowing "Misunderstanding" from "Duke") and "Lucky Me". But nothing on here approaches the level of a "Cul-de-Sac" or "Burning Rope", while "Forever Morning" turns out to be an aisle of plenty of nuthin'. Chester Thompson, who had supported GENESIS on their last big tour, could have offset the music's softness with intricate rhythms had he been more engaged in this project; as it is, he's often in the background or out of the picture altogether. Beacon is a sensitive singer, not blessed with rich tones but sympathetic in the same manner as some of Steve HACKETT's guest vocalists.

Ultimately, "A Curious Feeling" is a missed opportunity; a placeholder that likely dampened the curiosity stoked beneath the breast of many a GENESIS fan. BANKS would have done better to take a page from Phil COLLINS' playbook: you don't get a second chance to make a first impression.

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Send comments to daveconn (BETA) | Report this review (#27158)
Posted Saturday, April 17, 2004 | Review Permalink
Hibou
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars I think reviewer Mogens Gallardo hit it right on the nail: to get the most enjoyment out of this album, forget that it's from an ex-GENESIS member and enjoy it for what it is. When it comes down to the crunch, music, after all, is all about feeling. And as with love and sex, intellectual considerations fly out the door and pleasure sets in if only you will allow yourself to go with the flow.

This first solo album gave us a glimpse as to who was responsible for the undercurrent behind the music of GENESIS, but the man obviously did not intend to make another G album. As opposed to MIKE RUTHERFORD's easily memorable, sing-song melodies or PHIL COLLINS' 'in-your-face' type of music, BANKS' is all impressions such as one would find in film scores. It can nevertheless be very moving if your musical antennaes can pick up the thread. Like the undertow (pardon the pun), this music weaves its way deep into your soul and speaks to you in powerful, almost subconscious ways. Had the recording techniques of the 70's been any sharper and the vocalist totally absent, I would gladly have given this album 4 stars (I reserve my 5 stars for truly exceptional albums). This being said, I'll drown in this music any day, any time of day.

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Send comments to Hibou (BETA) | Report this review (#27159)
Posted Sunday, April 25, 2004 | Review Permalink
Proghead
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars Usually regarded as the best solo album Tony BANKS released, the album simply consisted of him, Kim Beacon (ex-STRING DRIVEN THING - a band that also recorded for Charisma, just like GENESIS) on vocals, and Chester Thompson (who played on Frank ZAPPA's "One Size Fits All" and WEATHER REPORT's "Black Market", and also toured with GENESIS and Phil COLLINS). Now this is an album I'd appreciate a hellova lot better if it was all instrumental. This guy, Kim Beacon has one of the most bland and unappealing voice ever (he reminds me too much of SPOCK'S BEARD's Neal MORSE - SPOCK'S BEARD being another band I'd like better if they had someone other than MORSE singing - but now MORSE isn't with that band anymore).

No doubt the instrumental pieces are the best, but Beacon's voice gives it too much of a pop feel. But then I shouldn't be surprise, GENESIS was starting to head the pop route by this time anyway, so this album seemed to be a compromise between GENESIS prog past and pop future. In fact, a lot of the album, unsurprisingly, reminds me of "Duke", thanks to the presence of the Yamaha CP-70 electric grand piano. I think it would this album would work a lot better if BANKS either made this an all-instrumental offering, or had someone else than Beacon sing (like Phil COLLINS).

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Send comments to Proghead (BETA) | Report this review (#27160)
Posted Thursday, April 29, 2004 | Review Permalink
Chris S
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Yeah this album eventually became a sure thing. It does need to be played loud for the maximum enjoyment of Bank's layered keyboard arrangements. Kim Bacon's vocals after a while settle in nicely but never get too close. All the instrumentals shine through, The Waters of Lethe, Forever Morning and From the Undertow. I would have to say his finest solo album which kind of endeared me more to Banks in that no matter how hard he tried he could never get too commercial. This album IMHO steered well clear of attempting to be a big success. His follow up focussed more on those commercial goals,Chester's drumming too is not to be missed.

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Send comments to Chris S (BETA) | Report this review (#27161)
Posted Friday, July 09, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars I must have bought this four times - three initially on vinyl because Charisma's pressings were hideously warped. Thank goodness, then, for the Virgin CD, which presented 'Forever Morning' just right at last! Tony's had worse vocalists than Kim Beacon, who I suppose must have just been there at the time. The whole thing is definitely musically in the same realm as 'Wind & Wuthering' and storywise, would have made a great film.

I like 'The Waters Of Lethe' best - WHY couldn't he have explained the reason for this title on the sleeve? It's the river of forgetfulness in Greek mythology. Never mind, a good first try.

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Send comments to pickle (BETA) | Report this review (#27162)
Posted Sunday, July 25, 2004 | Review Permalink
Guillermo
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Tony Banks`s best solo album. The sound of the Electric Piano dominates this album. There are backing keyboards and 12 string guitars which make "atmospheres" and "paintings" to the songs. The lead singer is good. I don`t know why some people says that Kim Beacon is a bad singer. Chester Thompson, as always, plays very good drums, giving power to the songs with great technique, and playing in the background when the song`s mood needs it. He is one of the best session drummers that I have heard. This album is one of those albums that I like to listen from start to finish. The electric piano and the keyboards in this album are similar to songs from Genesis`s albums of the same period, like "Heathaze" from "Duke" and "Evidence of Autumn" from "Three Sides Live" (it was a B-side for one single of "Duke").These songs for Genesis are similar in sound as the songs in "A Curious Feeling". This is one of the best solo albums of Genesis´ members and former members that I have listened to.

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Send comments to Guillermo (BETA) | Report this review (#27163)
Posted Monday, September 06, 2004 | Review Permalink
Thulëatan
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.

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Send comments to Thulëatan (BETA) | Report this review (#27164)
Posted Wednesday, February 02, 2005 | Review Permalink
Hangedman
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars I dont know why this album is being rated so low, apart from the singer the album itself is rather endearing. Despite being a solo album it does not lay the synth/organ on to thickly, and the two solos that are on the album? Excellent. 'Forever Morning' is really standout, I think any prog collector would appreciate this album. Good lyrics also.

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Send comments to Hangedman (BETA) | Report this review (#27165)
Posted Sunday, March 06, 2005 | Review Permalink
lonsdalersd@a
5 stars It's ironic that I came back to this album via the modern phenomenem of downloading off the internet. As a die hard Genesis fan I bought this, Tony Banks solo debut, on it'd release in October '79. Recorded during the Genesis hiatus after And Then There Were Three. At the time I enjoyed it, filed it away and forgot it. Many years later I replaced te vinyl with the CD issue, played it a couple of times and forgot it. Then i moved house and cleared out a lot of CD's, A Curious Feeling included. Fast forward a few more years and I'm downloading itunes and looking through the music store and I came across Tony Banks. Feeling a little nostalgic and a little flush I bought the album track-by-track @ 79p a tune! Its probably the best £8.69 I've spent in a long, long time. To understand this album you have to understand Tony Banks. Neither a rock star nor a natural performer Banks is unquestionably a composer. A composer born in the wrong century with a gift for being an equally skilled storyteller as well as master musician. The concept has been discussed elsewhere and centres around a man who has lost his memory and can only remember the last 6 or 7 years, who finds love then loses love and finally reconciles himself to a life without love and forever in the dark about his past. The work is steeped in melancholy as many of Banks' best Genesis songs were and contains the most gorgeous melodies buried deep into the songs with counter melodies delicately weaving in and out of time. It was never envisaged to play A Curious Feeling and accordingly Banks let his keyboards rn riot in the studio. Layer upon layer of orchestrated synth delicate piano lines over the top. The sound like they have been aged in old oak casks, the arrangements richly dense, orchestral and timeless. Like punk never happened? more like the 20th century never happened! The beauty is it does not, indeed cannot sound dated. This is timeless, haunting beautiful music made without a thought for the whims of fashion. As such it will continue to age like a fine brandy. The sad thing is that after this album Banks and Genesis were to follow the lead set by Phil Collins and set their considerable expertise on the sea of pop. The rest is history, the sales went through the roof but the music lost its spirit along the way. I think tony Banks briefly recovered on Stills achingly emotive "Still It Takes Me By Surprise" and most recently on "Seven" where Banks did what I suspected he has always wanted to do: write for an orchestra. Vaughn Williams and Sibelius would be proud!

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#27167)
Posted Thursday, June 02, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars I am a bit amazed about the mixed reactions to 'A curious feeling'. Maybe I like this album so very, very much because it was my first TB album and definitely the first solo- album by a Genesis member I owned. But how I looved it! From the very beginning, with Tony's mysterious electric piano and string ensemble, it sets the sphere of a beautiful record, full of ballads, haunting keyboard chords, melancholic instrumentals (listen to The waters of Lethe!!!) and some, but luckily not too many up-tempo songs. On this album the vocals are sung by Kim Beacon and that certainly adds to the quality of the songs. His distinctive voice fits very well with the atmospheric melodies of the keyboards and the acoustic guitar. Beacon never dominates, sounds like another instrument in the band. Excellent! And so far better than Tony singing his own songs!!

Real prize winners to me are Lucky me, Forever morning, You and, most and for all, The waters of Lethe. In fact the last song is more than enough reason to the purchase the album. Yet I don´t grant it a 5/star and that is because of the title track. It is one of the up/tempo songs and it is far from succesful. The scream at the beginning of the song actually sets the scene+ just skip it in yoyr player and enjoy the rest!

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Send comments to Theo Verstrael (BETA) | Report this review (#57149)
Posted Sunday, November 20, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars There is actually nothing wrong with this album. Great keyboard based songs and instrumentals. You can certainly hear the origins of this music: Genesis. But then something is missing. Of course the singing is far from Gabriel or even Collins. Even forgetting the singing there is a feeling that these are leftovers from the Lamb. Similiar in a way but do not quite reach the standards... Some songs like the Lie sound like Elton John, which is not bad either, but I was not expecting pop songs from mr. Banks.

This recording gets better as you listen it several times. If you get over the Genesis replica feeling you can find some great moments here. For those who didn't grow up drinking early Genesis recordings instead of mothers milk this might be a stand alone masterpiece but for me it will always stay in the shadow of the greatest band ever. I am struggling between 3 and 4 stars and just because this is the first solo work of an original Genesis member I must give it a 4 because this certainly is an Excellent addition to any prog music collection.

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Send comments to pirkka (BETA) | Report this review (#72444)
Posted Tuesday, March 21, 2006 | Review Permalink
2 stars Tony Banks has never enjoyed the kind of success outside of Genesis that perhaps he deserved. However this his first offering is a disappointing affair. For me the biggest let down is the vocals they simply don't seem to fit the music very well. This is something of a surprise because in string driven thing her voice worked very well, and the thing could rock a little. The drumming is OK, but somehow it doesnt drive the music at all. What we have is a very inoffensive set of songs that showcase Tony's keyboard. If you really liked Duke in particular you might find something here to your taste. I still have this record which I bought at the release date, but its not been played a great deal. Its OK to play at a gathering when you don't want something that intrudes to much. There are some very nice passages but nothing that you will be humming later. A forgettable recording sums it up nicely I think.

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Send comments to burgersoft777 (BETA) | Report this review (#95274)
Posted Friday, October 20, 2006 | Review Permalink
Tarcisio Moura
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Tony Banks first solo efford is still my favorite, yet it does not mean it´s perfect. Half of the album is made of excellent, very inspired songs, that could easily fit in any mid period Genesis best albums. The rest are plaintive keyboards-only tracks that are good, but they don´t really sit well with the others (they sound like incidental music for films, get it?). That´s the CD´s main fault: it lacks a little direction, it´s uneven, which is a shame since Lucky Me, You and, specially, The Lie/After The Lie and the title track are great songs, with those disturbing, intelligent and often enigmatic lyrics Banks was famous for in Genesis.

Musicly speaking, the album is also good, but with few highlights, except for the usual great keyboards runs, but even they are not very used here. The sole exception is the aforementioned The Lie/After The Lie, a very outstanding number (actually a two part song) that could be a big hit if it was recorded by Genesis. Banks plays all the bass and guitars parts, which he does well, but a little more care for the arrangements would make it better. Kim Beacon does a good job singing with passion and conviction. Nothing special but he does it well. Chester Thompson´s drumming is as excellent as ever.

Conclusion: a very good debut, no doubt. But actually, coming from a musical genius like Tony Banks, very good is way below expectations. 3,5 stars.

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Send comments to Tarcisio Moura (BETA) | Report this review (#108644)
Posted Wednesday, January 24, 2007 | Review Permalink
Chicapah
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Have you ever had a friend talk you into going on a blind date by endowing the mystery woman with highly desirable, glowing qualities? What we used to call the "Summertime Syndrome?" (You know, her Daddy's rich and her Momma's good looking?) So you convince yourself that, with that kind of pedigree, maybe this will be THE ONE and you'll fall in love at first sight and you can't wait to meet her. But then after spending an hour or so with her over dinner and drinks you realize that, while she has a cute personality and she's actually kinda nice, there's just no spark, no chemistry, no real attraction going down. Well, that's the way I feel about Tony Bank's "A Curious Feeling." With him being one of the founding members of one of the greatest progressive bands ever and a keyboard genius highly revered by his peers, I expected to be lovestruck and smitten by his first solo album. But soon I discovered that it was just another plain Jane, decent company for an evening but ultimately forgettable.

True to where his head was at in '79, Tony starts off with "From the Undertow," an instrumental that's a lot like what his band Genesis was doing on "And Then There Were Three." I don't really like that particular album but this is an improvement musically and I'm thinking that Banks is going to take me on a fantastic journey. "Lucky Me" follows and it's my first exposure to vocalist Kim Beacon and, while he's no Peter Gabriel, he's not half bad. The song is a bit contemporary in tone and has a flowing melody but it never seems to reach a peak. Nonetheless, it's one of the album's better tunes as it introduces us to a man who has no long-term recall and has "lived alone for all I can remember/though that only means some six or seven years/I would rather be nobody else/I'm happy as I am." Next is "The Lie" and it's more uptempo but Beacon's voice lacks the depth and emotion the song needs and it detracts from the lyric describing our protagonist as being a natural-born speculator in his youth. The bridge belies a definite Elton John influence and the musical build-up toward the end is excellent. "After the Lie" logically follows and it is here that I start to sense that drummer Chester Thompson is being kept on too tight a leash and that's not a good omen. His considerable talent could lend some much-needed excitement to the proceedings. Here our hero sings of seeing things "in a different light" but what that means exactly is rather vague. The musical interlude in the middle is pleasurable but once again Tony makes me wait until the tail end before things get interesting. "A Curious Feeling" is next but it's a letdown. A boring pop song that says not to listen to anybody who says they know anything, it goes absolutely nowhere.

Another fine instrumental, "Forever Morning" comes along in the nick of time to resuscitate the gasping momentum. It's all Tony on this one and it's a well-thought-out piece tastefully arranged. Not spectacular, mind you, but imaginative all the same. However, it points out something that is becoming obvious about the album and that's Banks' tunnel vision regarding keyboard sounds. They are redundant. At the end of this tune he ascends to a Gershwin-like crescendo where banging on a big ol' Steinway would have been perfect but he stays with the electric, synthesized piano and it fails to climax. A missed opportunity if there ever was one. "You" follows and it's a romantic ballad about our guy finally noticing and falling in love with a girl he's known all his life but "meant nothing when I was younger." The song segues into a fast instrumental section that reminds me of Genesis again but it pales in comparison with where I believe his bandmates Phil and Mike would have taken it. "Somebody Else's Dream" (finally, a rocker!) is next and at last Thompson has been unchained to add some welcome dynamics. Kim's vocal has a little more edge to it as he sings "it's not for me to die with children around my bed after a happy life" because "please to say/love is here today/but it's going away/going away." Not a good turn of events for our hero, I'm afraid, but Tony's music is wonderful on this one.

"The Waters of Lethe" is the final all-music number and it's very pleasing to the ear as he incorporates different themes into the piece. Yet I can't help but think back on Banks' incredible piano playing on Genesis' "The Firth of Fifth" and wonder why he avoids the simple elegance of the acoustic keyboard on this effort. The whole album cries out for some tonal variety but Tony and his producer aren't listening. "For a While" is a light pop shuffle in which the singer tells us that love "sure felt good for a while" but now he's going back to being a loner. It's a quaint little tune and one of the highlights of the record. "In the Dark" is a lonesome ballad that ends things on a tragically sad note (I'm still not sure why the poor dude's love affair went sour) and it leaves me unsatisfied.

Tony Banks is a progressive rock icon but, like others who venture out on their own discover, he is at heart a team player and his best work comes in conjunction and cooperation with other talented composers/musicians. That being said, this is still a better album by far than Patrick Moraz's pitiful "The Story of I" and some of Rick Wakeman's less-than-stellar solo efforts. Others may find it much more entertaining and fulfilling than I do, but for me it's always felt like a one-night stand that just never went any further.

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Send comments to Chicapah (BETA) | Report this review (#120756)
Posted Friday, May 04, 2007 | Review Permalink
Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars I always wonder with what Tony Banks has done with his music. He has written and co-written many of Genesis songs but when it comes to solo album, the overall quality of his music is not as stunning as when he is with Genesis. This is probably what people often say about "having the same chemistry" for all members of the band. This is very true with Banks. This is not to say that his solo albums are bad at all but I think could have done it much better. Remember the legendary "Firth of Fifth"? If he could write something like "Firth of Fifth" why couldn't he do something at almost the same quality? Well, I don't understand it really ..

"A Curious Feeling" is not a bad album at all. In fact there are many good tracks featured in this album. The opening track, "From the Undertow" (2:46) is really a Genesis track - something sounds like "And Then There Were Three". The next track "Lucky Me" (4:26) is mellow and ambient music with Genesis-like rhythm section. Through its lyrics Banks wanted to tell about someone's quest about his life "They want to know but they don't ask me how / That's for someone else and not for me, I don't know. / Lucky me /".

The similar music style happens also in the next track "The Lie" (4:58) in a floating keyboard-drenched music which accompanies Kim Beacon's vocal. The music is again similar to what Genesis has written but the soul is different, it's too ambient - probably. The title track tries to bring the music happier with its upbeat tempo. I most parts the song share similar style with Genesis "And Then There Were Three" or even "Duke" (which was released after this solo album).

Overall, it's a good solo album from one of Genesis' composers. The music is relatively easy to digest and for those who love Genesis might enjoy Tony Banks' keyboard style in the same vein with Genesis albums. For those Genesis lovers, I believe the track titled "You" (6:28) would definitely consider this as a stand-out track. The keyboard solo is really stunning. Keep on proggin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

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Send comments to Gatot (BETA) | Report this review (#120954)
Posted Monday, May 07, 2007 | Review Permalink
progaardvark
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars A Curious Feeling was Genesis keyboard wizard Tony Banks' first solo album. In addition to keys, Banks plays guitars, bass, and percussion. His guests are Chester Thompson (Zappa and Genesis' concert drummer) on drums and Kim Beacon (String Driven Thing) on lead vocals. Being a famous prog rock keyboard wizard, one might expect this solo effort to be loaded with keyboards. And in many places it is. However, Banks doesn't overdo them, allowing the other instruments to fill their roles appropriately. Clearly Banks is a competent and intelligent composer.

Kim Beacon's voice takes a bit getting used to. Beacon doesn't have a very good range, so his skills seem limited to me. His voice is kind of husky and the best person I can compare him with is Ray Wilson (from Genesis' Calling All Stations album). But after repeated listens, his voice grows on me.

Musically, this is an excellent work. Banks provides us with many solos and atmospheres of lush synths. The music is most comparable with Genesis' Wind and Wuthering album. However it is important, like other reviewers have mentioned, to not think of this as a Genesis album. If you do, you might find it disappointing the first few listens because it is a bit of a departure.

Highly recommended for Genesis and symphonic prog fans. An excellent addition to a prog rock collection. Four stars.

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Send comments to progaardvark (BETA) | Report this review (#131096)
Posted Wednesday, August 01, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars Tony's debut solo album A curious Feeling is by far the best album he as produced throughout is entire solo career, and I'm writing this revew now in 2007. This I would have to say is the only album so far to date which as any form of prog music on it, because the rest of his collection certainly don't. However good this album is though, it really amazes and disappoints me how Tony was such a great writer in the Gabriel years with Genesis, how he cannot emmulate and incorperate it into his solo albums. To me the only real writer of prog music out of all the band who consistantly writes prog music is Steve Hackett. And this is totally amazing considering in an interview on a Genesis Video Phil Collins says that Steve Hackett was never much of a writer for the band. Well I can honestly say that Hacketts albums are far way ahead of the crap Collins writes, and they are far well ahead of any other genesis member. I know that Tony loves to write more than perform, but is solo career is lacking a lot of substance. I think were he is going wrong is by trying to perform to much of his albums himself, rather than get in a band of decent musicians to accompany him. A Curious Feeling is a great album, but not a solid album, but without a doubt it's the best album to date that Tony as come up with. My favourite track on the album is Lucky Me.

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Send comments to intruder369 (BETA) | Report this review (#131799)
Posted Sunday, August 05, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars I'm giving this one 3 stars just to balance things out, really. Having just recently acquired A Curious Feeling, I had very high expectations for it based on glowing reviews. After familiarizing myself with the album, I can say that it is very good, perhaps even 4 stars good, but not really superior to Tony's other best solo albums in my opinion.

This album does sound more reminiscent of old Genesis than Tony's later albums. By the same token, however, it is a little rough around the edges. I don't find the singer as objectionable as some others do, but the production quality is lacking. It sounds like something went really wrong in the mastering process. The trademark Banks orchestrated keyboards are there, but sound rather thin and harsh. There are some very nice instrumental ideas, but the lyrics are unexceptional and it's a very dark album, with lots of plodding slow songs. I like slow songs, but this record could really benefit from a couple of uptempo numbers. Definitely not a good album to cheer you up if you're feeling depressed!

If you really hate all 80's/90's Genesis, then this is probably the only Tony Banks album you might like. But for me, some of his later work (particularly Still and Strictly Inc) sounds much more polished and pretty. The later albums retain some of the musical adventurousness of early Genesis, blended with the pop sensibility of later Genesis.

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Send comments to bassandbeyond (BETA) | Report this review (#158281)
Posted Thursday, January 10, 2008 | Review Permalink
kenethlevine
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog-Folk Team
2 stars Since Banks had musically hijacked Genesis during the post-Gabriel era, it is not surprising that his first solo album sounds like outtakes from the "Wind and Wuthering" period. At least Genesis had Collins' vocals and percussion, and Hackett's technical and emotional, if increasingly shackled, brilliance. Substitute Banks on almost every instrument, but predictably a very strong keyboard bias, a generally somnolent mood, and a moribund Kim Beacon on vocals. When Kim does choose to sing out, he sounds more like Stevie Wonder than anything, especially on the title cut. It is also telling that one of the best tracks, "Somebody Else's Dream" sounds surprisingly similar to "Squonk". But the most original direction is taken with the sinewy melody of "After the Lie", the only piece that really endures and shows a direction that could have been taken in the future. But Banks and his cohorts had other ideas which they were about to unveil in their ultimately successful quest for world domination. The lingering feeling might be described as a tad more queasy than curious.

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Send comments to kenethlevine (BETA) | Report this review (#163665)
Posted Monday, March 10, 2008 | Review Permalink
UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Tony Banks debut solo album A Curious Feeling is a pretty good album if you´re into late seventies Genesis. I would place it somewhere between ...And Then There Were Three and Duke. There are also traces of the classical piano playing of Trick of the Tail and especially Wind & Wuthering. A Curious Feeling is heavily synth layered which was also a feature on ...And Then There Were Three while it has some of the commercial qualities of Duke. To me this could easily have been a Genesis album if Phil Collins had contributed vocals which he doesn´t. That´s a wise move by Tony Banks as Kim Beacon´s voice is what sets A Curious Feeling apart from the Genesis sound.

The music is synth driven, with strong and generally memorable vocal lines. There´s a melancholic mood to the songs which is something I also feel was present on ...And Then There Were Three. Tony Banks plays all instruments except for the drums who are played by Chester Thompson ( Genesis, Zappa, Weather Report) and the vocals from Kim Beacon. Tony Banks doesn´t really need that much of an introduction on a prog site, but his playing here is as usual enjoyable. Most songs are with vocals but there are a couple of instrumental tracks here too.

The production is very good and if you enjoy heavily synth layered pop/ rock music this will be a treat. If you´re a Genesis fan I would say this is a must.

I think A Curious Feeling is a good album and I will rate it 3 stars. If you like ...And Then There Were Three or even Calling All Stations this might be your thing.

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Send comments to UMUR (BETA) | Report this review (#170162)
Posted Wednesday, May 07, 2008 | Review Permalink
SouthSideoftheSky
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Symphonic Team
2 stars Someone else's dream

People on this site often blame Phil Collins for taking Genesis in a Pop direction after Steve Hackett left the band. I think it is completely wrong to blame Collins for this as all past members of Genesis did something commercial at some point along the line; Mike Rutherford, Phil Collins and Peter Gabriel all had big radio hits and Anthony Phillips, Steve Hackett and Tony Banks tried the Pop formula at some point in their careers. I think that Rutherford and Banks were as much responsible for the direction of Genesis in the 80's as Collins was. Indeed, I think that Banks was most responsible. This solo Banks album is not exactly commercial, but it is surely far away from what we could expect from the keyboard player in one of the major progressive rock bands of the 70's.

This music is diluted Genesis, very soft Rock with little or no progressive features at all. The sound is heavily based on symphonic keyboards and soft, soothing vocals. The songs are all towards the ballady side of things and there is a serious lack of an edge. I'm not saying that this is a poor product, but it is not my cup of tea. One major problem I have with this music is how anonymous it sounds. This does not sound like the Tony Banks we know, this could have been made by almost anyone. Despite a few engaging moments, I find this album rather dull and unmemorable.

Mike Rutherford's first solo album, Smallcreep's Day, that was recorded around the same time, is in my opinion a better album. But none of them are remarkable in any way. I recommend A Curious Feeling only to serious Genesis fans and collectors. It can be an enjoyable listen in parts, just don't expect a lost Genesis album of anything along those lines.

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Send comments to SouthSideoftheSky (BETA) | Report this review (#229419)
Posted Saturday, August 01, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars A Curious Feeling - Tony Banks

I bought this album when it was first released and have loved it for many years.

The Story: The actual story has some similarities to that of the play "Flowers for Algernon' which was later adapted to a movie called "charley" (1966) with Cliff Robertson. In the movie a mentally retarded man is a test subject for a sceintific experiment which causes his mental abilities to continuously expand past those of genius. Eventually his mental powers peak and then begin to decline until he is returned to his original mental state. My interpretation of the story of A Curious Feeling is that a child tempts fate by suggesting bargains in his mind while playing games. Fate becomes an actual character who takes the child up on his bargain setting up a scenario for him to become extremely intelligent and gifted but with the added 'bargain' that if he ever falls in love with a woman he will lose his mind. Other reviews I've read suggest the story is about 'memory loss' and try to suggest things like Alzheimer's or self-delusion to explain it. What they are missing here is Tony Banks' penchant for imaginative story telling along with his considerable experience with mythology, fable and the supernatural. Trying to explain this story based on reality or science totally misses the point.

The Music - My primary love of this album is of course the music. Tony Banks has a singular talent for constructing unique songs which are intricate, interesting and often very beautiful. Along with his talent for imaginative and moving chord progressions he also has a great ear for instrumentation. The thick textures and layers throughout this album are still evocative and pleasurable for me to listen to after thirty years. Some reviewers have complained that Tony should have had another guitarist perform on the record singling out solos they found lacking. The original members of Genesis saw themselves as song writers above everythng else and thie album is clearly about a singular vision. I would guess that Tony would have brought in any talent he thought was necessary but was happy with what he was doing. I certainly am.

The recording - Like many of the early Genesis LPs, the quality of the original album was terrible. I originally thought that the hole inthe record must not be quite centered because of the horrible warbling I was hearing. I went through three LPs before I finally gave up on this. The CD is better although I've been hoping for some time for a remix of this album to surface.

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Send comments to Howard hughes (BETA) | Report this review (#235612)
Posted Friday, August 28, 2009 | Review Permalink
3 stars 3.5 from me, but those ratings don't exist.

All three members of Genesis released solo albums around the same time, as the future of Genesis was severely in doubt. As a result, they get to stamp their individual identity on an album for the very first time. Mike composed a highly regarded and well composed collection of light prog tunes. Phil recorded his massive selling debut album which lead to a concurrent solo career alongside Genesis making him, at one point, probably the hardest working man in show business. Tony released this album which has garnered mixed reviews. Out of all of the solo efforts by any Genesis member, especially these three members, it is the most Genesis sounding album. Voyage of the Acoylte (spelling) probably comes the closest besides this album and it is actually a much better album.

The reasons for that being a much better album are many. Steve, finally free from the unfortunately limited role he had in Genesis, is album to really unfurl and let himself loose. However, he wasn't stupid, nor was he against the kind of music that Genesis created. He loved Genesis and he knew where his bread was buttered. So he crated an album that sounded a lot like contemporary Genesis with, naturally, a much stronger guitar presence at the expensive of a lessened keyboard sound. The songwriting shows how short sighted Genesis may have been to hold him back, or how shy and unassuming Steve must have been. The songwriting is stellar, diverse, and engaging. It was an incredibly debut for Steve, and one of the best debut albums by a Genesis member.

However, Steve's debut came five or six years before Tony's. At that point, Genesis was at it's best in the progressive rock world, and were top contenders for best progressive rock band. A lot had changed in Genesis since then. After suffering through the loss of Gabriel, they presented two very strong progressive rock albums with Steve before he left. They tried to mix things up on "And Then There Was Three..." by toying with shorter songs, but this attempt was muddled and confused, and the band was obviously at a bit of an identity crisis. They almost broke up and decided to issue solo albums. In this most unsure period, Tony released his solo debut. It is a good album, but the confusion of the time bled into it.

Tony plays all the keyboards and guitars. This may suprise some, but Tony actually wrote and played quite a bit of the guitar lines in early Genesis. Think of the simple, yet evocative guitar lines in the introductions of "Musical Box" and "Supper's Ready." This was the style of guitar Tony could play and he does it on this album. The music is, naturally, written by him and features heavy layering of keyboards, as was Tony's style. However, the contemporary keyboards of the time are shriller and less expressive than earlier keyboards. The music he is playing is strong, the melodies are good and the harmonies strong, but the tones are off.

Tony also seems to ramble a bit more than usual on this album. Though Tony's general writing style is long and "rambling" (for lack of a better word) he generally keeps the core melodies polished. Think "One for the Vine." However, here, the melodies are generally fairly obtuse, and the music much more laid back. There is little of the stormy drama of early and even later Genesis. The album flows slowly and gently, with layers of keyboards and guitars ringing in your ears, without really creating strong hooks. This dreamy style is appropriate, given the theme of the album. This is an interesting approach, and something few members of Genesis really tried before. It is a new age idea, but it is not banal like new age. It is artistic and creative.

However, the slow tempo of much of the album, combined with a lack of really strong hook filled melodies can make the album disappear from the mind fairly quickly. It's a good starting point for Genesis fans interesting in Tony's solo work. For those interested in his prog work only, stop here. Very little he did was as steeped in progressive rock.

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Send comments to SonicDeath10 (BETA) | Report this review (#238655)
Posted Friday, September 11, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is a fabulous solo album that I have loved from the very first listening - long ago. Now it is being re-released, remastered by Nick Davis, who has remastered all of the Genesis recordings. I'm not sure what to expect, since Davis really did alter the dimensions of sound on those recordings, sometimes for the better (the bass on Squonk!), sometimes not. But if the remastering of the first solo Banks recording awakens more people to this fabulous album (as well-conceived as Selling England By The Pound or A Trick Of The Tail), then it will already have served an important purpose. Just listen to the first four songs. It's enough to open the door to the pasture where symphonic prog rock finds the keyboards' open ranges.

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Send comments to Tiresius (BETA) | Report this review (#240937)
Posted Tuesday, September 22, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars Wonderful solo debut album by Tony Banks. The keyboards are in the centre of the album, and that's as it should be. There isn't an awful lot of variety as it comes to keyboard sounds. In fact, the sound of the album is quite sparse. Drummer Chester Thompson, who had great memories working with Tony on the album, is playing quite tame compared to some of the flashy and sensational stuff he does on albums from for instance Genesis and Koinoonia.

So, musically, the keyboards are central to the music, and the drums are following the keyboards, being in the background most of the time, just giving the music the backbeats that it needs.

As it comes to lyrics, the key to understanding is in "The Lie". From here all the lyrics of the rest of the album fall into place. Still, Tony never wanted to make a real concept album.

Back to the music: this is probably Banks' best album, and his most non - commercial one also (except for the classical cd that he made). What's beautiful on the album is his chords, which are sometimes complex. Also, it is a real story telling album, which heightens the atmosphere. The singing is good, though not extraordinarily good. The production is not quite on a par with the Genesis albums. That doesn't really matter, Banks compositions, his chords, the warmth of his synthesizers, the moods (melancholic) are outstanding.

Banks wanted to call the album The Waters Of Lethe, but he changed the name because he didn't want to explain to anyone about the meaning of the album title. I feel sorry about that, because the original title is much more beautiful.

On the next cd Banks would turn to new wave, leaving many of his (Genesis) fans disappointed, starving for music with more challenge. Later on Banks would opt for a more openly commercial sound. Banks' debut remains his best. Not sounding like Genesis, except for the chords, the good compositions and the meaningful lyrics. Recommended.

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Send comments to Moogtron III (BETA) | Report this review (#244711)
Posted Thursday, October 15, 2009 | Review Permalink
Rune2000
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Metal Team
3 stars After reading a bunch of reviews and hearing the sample track I decided that it was my obligation as a Genesis fan to purchase this album!

Since my expectations weren't that high to begin with I actually managed to really enjoy this album over the course of the first couple of days. Tony Banks is a great artist and I actually consider him to be better than other virtuosos from the great progressive era. No reason to disguise that I'm talking about Keith Emeson and Rick Wakeman here.

I think it's great that Banks always lets his band-mates shine on the Genesis albums while he works on the underlying structures. Unfortunately this ultimately becomes this albums major flaw. A Curious Feeling lacks the leads from all of the earlier Genesis albums. It's melodic and pleasant but lacks a front-man figure who would turn the material into something more substantial. On the other hand I can imagine that this release would have worked much better have it been a movie soundtrack.

A decent effort from Tony Banks which unfortunately also shows why his great talent works much better in the context of a band.

***** star songs: After The Lie (4:49)

**** star songs: From The Undertow (2:46) Lucky Me (4:26) The Lie (4:58) Forever Morning (6:02) You (6:28) The Waters Of Lethe (6:31) For A While (3:38) In The Dark (2:58)

*** star songs: A Curious Feeling (3:58) Somebody Else's Dream (7:50)

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Send comments to Rune2000 (BETA) | Report this review (#263187)
Posted Thursday, January 28, 2010 | Review Permalink
3 stars I heard this album recently. It is fairly similar in tone with 'And then there were three'. The singer, 'Kim Beacon' sounds more like a hard-rock or AOR vocalist than prog vocalist and his harsh singing seems out of place on a quant English-Prog album. However, after a while I warmed to him.

One problem here is the main man is the keyboardist so the vocals don't always get enough presence in the music. They really could be a bit louder. I found that the tone of this album was pretty-much the same from beginning to end, the same wall-of-banksynths. The songs didn't have any strong hooks, but the material does fare well after the half-way point. There is some masterful songwriting and one song has some nice acoustic guitar. The best tracks are 'you', 'somebody elses dream' and 'forever morning'. The feeling in the songs is quite peaceful and easy-listening, as the album-cover might suggest.

One thing about Genesis solo, except for Peter Garbiel, I don't think that they should have ever disintegrated as a band. The band albums, even into the 80's, I think are generally stronger. Peter Gabriel was starting to out-grow the band but the boys fared much better together. I think Tony Banks and Anthony Phillips struggle a lot as solo artists. Tony is an awesome keyboardist but his solo albums leave a lot to be desired.

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Send comments to Brendan (BETA) | Report this review (#278635)
Posted Tuesday, April 20, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars Definitely a masterpiece of progressive rock. The Banks opera prima is just what I would expect from him: An album full of keyboards behind a conceptual story and with much feeling and a great atmosphere. A courious feeling is full of progressive rock: many instrumentals, great piano riffs, great melodies, etc. The album opens with the short but outstanding keyboard piece (almost an orchestra emulation) From the undertow and then continues with great music. On the original side one, the highlight was the suite The lie/After the lie. The first part with a heavy piano work and the second ending with a superb keyboard solo in the fade out. The original side two has the best of the album. It starts with the fantastic You, a piece wich begins with a quiet song and then get into an outstanding instrumental full of keyboards in an orchestral way and with a great melody. After that continues with the heaviest track of the album Somebody else's dream, a good one too. Waters of Lethe is maybe one of the best pieces that Banks had composed in his solo career. Just a piece of art of symphonic music. A beautiful acoustic but orchestral instrumental, full of soul and feeling, wich representes the critical moment of the story that tells the album. For a while is maybe the most known of the album, catchy and nostalgic. The end comes with another short and obscure track with an orchestral interlude.

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Send comments to genbanks (BETA) | Report this review (#283980)
Posted Saturday, May 29, 2010 | Review Permalink
Matti
COLLABORATOR
Neo-Prog Team
4 stars After GENESIS had released And Then There Were Three (1978), Collins needed a break due to his marital problems and both Rutherford and Banks made their first solo albums (Collins' debut Face Value was to come out in '81). All of these solo debuts are also their best solo albums, I think. Especially A Curious Feeling, into which Banks put his heart at least as much - and probably more - as into anything he had made for Genesis. Even though he uses only a vocalist (thank God...) and a drummer and handles keyboards, guitars, basses and some percussion himself, the sound is great, far from being a thin keyboardist-goes-solo failure. It is not very far from Duke that appeared the next year. Think of Heat Haze for example. I do think Duke is a pretty nice Genesis album even with the increasing Collins-goes-pop side of it, but still this Banks album is better. It is more even and coherent, ALMOST to the point of sounding a bit the same all the way, but not quite. He made a wise decision to write a very coherent and balanced album instead of laying all of his possible tricks on the table, as a keyboardist.

I don't know the singer Kim Beacon from other occasions, but he fits perfectly to this music. Coincidentally, I hear both Paul Garrack (Mike + The Mechanics) and Phil Collins in his voice! The drummer is naturally Chester Thompson who had already played in Genesis concerts.

The CD release from 2009 has long liner notes from Banks and is full of interesting information. He originally wished to make a concept album after the Daniel Keyes novel Flowers For Algernon (about a retard and his brief time of becoming clever with a brain operation - a wonderful book, by the way!) but the author informed him that a musical was being produced and so the timing perhaps wouldn't be good. "I went back to the drawing board and reworked the story so the album came to be about a man who was gradually losing his mind but was aware of what was happening to him." Most of the material had been written in a fertile creative period and ideas seemed to be coming easily.

The tracks (with three instrumentals included) vary from regular songs with mostly a thoughtful mid-tempo, to longer (6-8 minute) songs that have more instrumental passages. Some of the tight keyboard solos are among the best he'd ever done. There's no weak track really; the only one I don't care much is the title song, which is more up-beat and light than the rest of the album.

It's a pity he never made another even half as strong solo album. Banks himself seems to know it too. "A Curious Feeling will always have a special place in my heart". If you like Genesis albums of that time, you'll most likely enjoy this album a lot.

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Send comments to Matti (BETA) | Report this review (#393018)
Posted Thursday, February 03, 2011 | Review Permalink
Warthur
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Recorded between And Then There Were Three... and Duke, A Curious Feeling is a concept album loosely based on the classic science fiction story Flowers for Algernon, and features Banks (ably backed on drums by Chester Thompson) exploring a number of aspects of his keyboard playing - many of which will be familiar to Genesis fans, but some of which got a first outing on this album.

The tender, quieter moments and dramatic flourishes that were so much a feature of preceding Genesis albums get an outing here, but at other points Banks adopts a classical style reminiscent mainly of the work of Robert John Godfrey in the Enid. Compositionally speaking, Banks keeps the songs accessible whilst retaining the progressive spirit of his band work, with occasional techniques and flourishes which remind me strongly of the neo- prog albums which would soon come to the fore.

Indeed, the more albums I listen to from the transition period between the golden age of symphonic prog and the rise of neo-prog, the more it seems that the invention of neo-prog was an evolutionary rather than revolutionary matter - with accessible-but-progressive albums by the likes of Rush, Steve Hackett and Banks from the late 1970s and early 1980s suggesting a musical direction which the likes of Marillion, Pendragon, IQ and others were only too happy to pursue. So, on the whole I think A Curious Feeling's place in prog history has been played down a little too much, and it's also on the whole an underrated disc which is well worth a listen for anyone who enjoys Banks' contributions to the early Genesis sound.

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Send comments to Warthur (BETA) | Report this review (#563274)
Posted Sunday, November 06, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars Tony Banks is listed on this site under Crossover Prog, but his first solo album, A Curious Feeling, would qualify as Symphonic Prog. It is very much the sound of in between ...And Then There Were Three... and Duke, with a balance of energy and introspection that's a little bit closer to that of Wind and Wuthering. Tony Banks uses the familiar synth strings and moog leads we know from the Genesis albums, as well as the CP-80 electric piano he used on Wind through Abacab. He also played the bass and guitar parts, and his guitar parts are strikingly similar to Mike Rutherford's rhythm parts on ...And Then There Were Three.... Chester Thompson is on drums, and while he's not showing off as much as usual here, his parts fit the music just right. Kim Beacon provides the vocals, and while they may have a slight touch of blandness to them, they match the mood of the music and story very well. The album's prize is in the composition, as to be expected from Banks, and even moreso in the mood he's able to convey through the highly impressionistic chords and moving melody lines in the instrumental sections. The feeling of the very sad story is so convincingly translated to music that some of the more deep, exploratory moments may drag you into an abyss of emotion if you're capable of connecting to these profoundly abstract types of feelings. One could see some of these parts as being meandering, but they are also very engaging and healing if you are in the right place for them. In turn, the more energetic moments shine, the highlight for me being the very romantically written "You", with it's definition-of-a-ballad lyrics, the romantic and expressive melody that is very charactaristic for Banks, and the change into the faster section with the synth solo being one of the most enrapturing moments Banks has written. Another standout on A Curious Feeling for me is the title track, which is logically simple, but also has a mysteriously memorable depth and uniqueness to it, with an especially strong keyboard and vocal part in the chorus that work great together. All in all, a very rewarding and deep recording, and one that should not be left out of the historical progression of progressive rock, as has been stated on this site.

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Send comments to 7headedchicken (BETA) | Report this review (#568403)
Posted Tuesday, November 15, 2011 | Review Permalink
2 stars In this time every progrocker seems to wants to have a solo recording (Steve Hillage, Steve Hacket, Jon Anderson, etc, etc.) Tony Banks shows up with his first solorecord "Acurious Feeling". I got this record by accident as a gift of my supervisor who had picked up that I listened to vinyl records. Before that I didn't know of it's existance.

Tony Banks (for the one, who don't know (yet); he played the keyboards in Genesis) begins his record with some nice keys before the first song with lyrics. The vocals are a bit like in the Alan Parsons Project. Hmm, maybe the whole record is a bit like the Alan Parsons project.

Some keyparts are quiet nice, but the songs are a bit too happy and pop-music alike for me. The first three songs keep my attention but after these I become a bit sleepy. After side one I seldom listen to side two, because at that time I'm allready overloaded by the first side with popsongs.

What this record really needed was some more soulfull vocalist and some more darkened sound.

Well, 2,5 stars for this cheesy record.

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Send comments to the philosopher (BETA) | Report this review (#589127)
Posted Friday, December 16, 2011 | Review Permalink
2 stars I have my own opinions about Tony Banks in his role with Genesis which I will not relate here. There is no doubt whatsoever, though, that he is one of the great "prog" keyboard exponents irrelevantly of anything else. What do I think of this - his first solo effort?

"From the Undertow" - very nice dramatic piano and keyboard piece.

"Lucky Me" - A nice track that is just that. Nice enough but nothing special.

"The Lie" - This track could easily have fit into the Genesis portfolio for the period.

"After the Lie" - Again a track that could have fit the Genesis portfolio for the period.

"A Curious Feeling" - The track is ok but as with the previous two there is something missing in the music that would give it a less playful and more mature edge.

"Forever Morning" - Keyboard heavy instrumental track. Noodling with melody. It's pleasant but it isn't cohesive.

"You" - Love song. I wouldn't play it to a woman to warm her heart as there are love songs out there that leave this cold. It's ok but really nothing special.

"Somebody Else's Dream" - The longest track on the album - I want to like it but it feels to me as if the vocal relating to the lyrics has just been tacked on. That perhaps the music was written and then the lyrics added as an addition - they don't gel very well.

"The Waters of Lethe" - Nice enough instumental track.

"For a While" - Little "pop" number that's pleasant.

"In the Dark" - This shorter track is really nice until the bombastic keyboards overpower it.

I feel that there are things missing on this album - my first impression of of this is that it's not mature enough musically. If there is love in the lyrics then show me love in the music, if there is angst in the lyrics then that must be mirrored in the music. To me, relating to this, Banks is way better when in a band. This is flighty happy stuff bordering on Pop music. I can't give this more than 2 stars in all honesty. The Genesis sound is there a lot of the time but it's the Genesis sound lacking the skills of the other members of that band to form a cohesive, solid, work.

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Send comments to sukmytoe (BETA) | Report this review (#948636)
Posted Wednesday, April 24, 2013 | Review Permalink
GruvanDahlman
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars I have struggled with this album, over and over and over again, trying to come to grips with it. In the end I have failed miserably. Miserably!

Oddly, there is actually nothing wrong with it. It is all very well played and conducted. Yes, there are plenty of pop elements but also a lot of progressive ones. All in all I'd say there's a good mix of it all. But just as fusion have a tendency, sometimes, to go on a journey with no end, just trodding away on this everlasting expedition, so does Mr. Banks on this album. Not much goes on and the music fades into the background, like new age noodling. I find little to cherish and little to remember when the album at last finds the end and silently stops rotating within my CD- player. And I hate that.

The cover of the album is lovely. Beautiful. The music inside is soothing, suitable for late night discussions over a drink or two. It it music that does not enfuriate, nor does it make me as a listener jump for joy. It actually brings forth an empty plate of emotions. The tray, how silver it might be, stares back at me, reflecting only my bewildered face.

The only track I do find great, in some sense, is "For a while". Quite poppy but great lyrics and an all in all top notch prog-pop song of the late 70's. That is all and not quite enough.

In conclusion I have to say that my efforts to penetrate this temple of peaceful prog has left me unsuccesful and just as bewildered as ever. There is nothing to greet my but my own feelings of being locked up in a spa, where music acts as a soothing and relaxing companion to the cucumbers on my eyes and the parsnips sticking out of my ears.

Sorry, my good fellow Banks. This is not the most exciting piece of music I have come across and I will probably not be revisiting this again. At least not for a while.

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Send comments to GruvanDahlman (BETA) | Report this review (#1126858)
Posted Tuesday, February 04, 2014 | Review Permalink

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