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Tony Banks - The Fugitive CD (album) cover


Tony Banks

Crossover Prog

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Sean Trane
Prog Folk
1 stars Tony, WTF............ Not that I expected (but somehow in my wildest dreams or wishful thinking) you to draw up an album that would give us back Foxtrot, but I was expecting something along the lines of your debut. Nothing of the sort here. Well at least you avoided making duds like the second album from Mike and especially the second from Phil. No I do not hate for this album, but I could've saved my money for some other use, as I was usually broke in those days!!! PS: find a singer ;-)
Report this review (#27169)
Posted Monday, March 1, 2004 | Review Permalink
Easy Livin
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
2 stars Guilty as charged

For Bank's second solo album, he decided to take on the lead vocals himself. This was a bad move!

The first track, "This is love" has a strangely catchy feel to it. It shouldn't really be all that good, as the vocals are average and the song basic, but it does work. Unfortunately, the rest of the album is poor, lacking in direction, and in dire need of a decent melody.

Banks moves further away from his Genesis roots here, especially in prog terms, but even in terms of that band's melodic pop period. While moving away from one style might be justifiable, Bank's cardinal sin is that he fails to move towards anything else! The songs are little more than basic pop rock devoid of inspiration.

In all, a disappointing album, even the sleeve is unimaginative and dull.

Report this review (#27170)
Posted Friday, March 19, 2004 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars BANK's new keyboards always made me wonder if he has been able to cope with the mew technology. The album is obviously full of keyboards, but it is not the proggy style of the 70's he was used to give us. Lot of discrete keyboards. This is light, diluted, sometimes tedious for the ears. I'm not sure the lead vocals have always the right note, despite the voice sound rather pleasant. The whole is pop, but not catchy at all!

"Charm" is better, because more complex and instrumental; buy it for this song at least.

Report this review (#27171)
Posted Thursday, April 8, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars Not the runaway success it might have been, "The Fugitive" is still the best of the Tony BANKS solo efforts, featuring melodic and magical pop songs that work their way under the skin despite his somewhat limited voice. Although the music isn't far removed from GENESIS' loopier synthetic confections ("Mama," "Dodo"), "The Fugitive" escapes band comparisons better than "A Curious Feeling", more Pete SHELLEY than Peter GABRIEL, more Steve HILLAGE than Steve HACKETT. Handling the vocals himself, BANKS follows a long line of tradition that says GENESIS members must warble at least once; despite being the last member to take the plunge, Banks acquits himself better than HACKETT, Anthony PHILLIPS or Mike RUTHEFORD. He's no singer, but he doesn't hurt himself either, similar to SHELLEY and HILLAGE in that their voice takes a backseat to the music without distracting the driver. And the real story here is the songwriting, where cool effects and occasionally exotic sounds swirl around melodies that draw the listener in like a magnet.

Over the course of a year, during which I played this poor tape so often it nearly melted, each song took a turn as my favorite; from the mystic "Man of Spells" and the romantic "Say You'll Never Leave Me" to more invigorating pop songs like "This Is Love" and "And The Wheels Keep Turning," all the way to the instrumentals "Charm" and "Thirty-Threes". Granted, albums grow on us the more we listen to them (especially when we're captive in a car, as was the case here), but even without the fond memories I'd like this album. Since this is progressive pop rather than prog rock, "The Fugitive" works on two levels: (1) as a superficial album of pop music and (2) as a series of vignettes suitable for contemplation. There might even be a concept involved here ("Moving Under" seems to wrap things up neatly). Deeper meaning or not, "The Fugitive" is worth hunting down as a supplement to your GENESIS collection, an innocent and charming sidenote to a storied career.

Report this review (#27173)
Posted Saturday, April 17, 2004 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars What shall we call this album, BANKS' first attempt at pop? I have a feeling the boy just wanted to have fun, play around a little, get away from the old GENESIS routine. Ok, I'll admit it: I'm biased when it comes to Tony B. - the man simply can do no wrong. But it wouldn't be fair to all of you proggers so I'll try to be honest. I suppose if an unknown artist has put this album out, no one (including myself) would have cared to listen to it, save go out and buy it. But it just so happens that we, prog-starved mongrels of the boring 80's, would get our hands on anything remotely G-related at the time. "The Fugitive" is far from genial but some tunes do save the day: "This Is Love", "And the Wheels Keep Turning", "By You" and the instrumental track "Thirty-Three's" do it for me. As for "Charm", it is quite moving but every time hear it, I feel as though it had been recorded from a warped LP, or one with an off-centered middle hole. As for TONY's voice, it's surely not stunning but it does have its charms; I personally prefer it to all the average vocalists he has hired over the years.

"The Fugitive" is a nice piece of memorabilia and perhaps your only chance to hear him 'warble' his own tunes (as Dave Connolly so wittily put it) on an entire album.

Report this review (#27172)
Posted Sunday, April 25, 2004 | Review Permalink
Chris S
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars I love Bank's second solo contribution as well. The fact that these guys had licence to release albums with limited vocal abilities perhaps gives an unusual tick in the box for the record companies at the time. Rutherford and his ' Acting Very Strange' project standing testimony to that. Musically the album is very strong and has a commercial edge to it. I like TB's vocal sound, almost Beatlesque at times. There are no dudd tracks but the highlights for me are 'And the Wheels Keep Turning ', ' Thirty Threes', ' By you' and the moving ' Man of Spells'
Report this review (#27174)
Posted Friday, July 9, 2004 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars What can I say about this album? At one part of the history (of me), this album represented a good break while most prog lovers in my country at that time were having a Genesis fever. One of the driving force was the existence of a great tribute band named as COCKPIT who could emulate the songs of Genesis (then and now) very similar. The keyboard player, Ronny Harahap is a great keyboard player our country has. He even played the full intro of "Firth of Fifth" when Cockpit did a concert in Jakarta or Bandung. The band could also emulate "Supper's Ready" in its entirety. So everybody in my country at that time was GENESISized.

As the concerts of Cockpit took place in many places in Indonesia, they also played some songs of Genesis solo albums, including one song from "The Fugitive" album by Tony Banks. The song was very famous and became radio hit in Jakarta, called "This Is Love". Of couse, it's not a prog song at all. But, the nusnce where this song was hit in Jakarta represented the Genesis wave in my country altogeter with the popularity of medley "In The cage - The Cinema Show - Afterglow".

Back to this "The Fugitive" I can only say that this is a totally pop outfit by Tony Banks whom previously released good prog album "A Curious Feeling". The other track that became radio hit was "Say You'll Never Leave Me". As long as there is no prog boundary implied, this is a good album. It's suitable for collectors / fans only. But the music is accessible to many ears; so many people can actually enjoy this music. The composition comprises a blend of pop, reggae and rock music. People usually like the interlude keyboard solo in "This is Love". Keep on proggin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Report this review (#49638)
Posted Saturday, October 1, 2005 | Review Permalink
1 stars After hearing Tony's orchestral Seven (quite good) and the firs solo effort I started to listen to this with high expectations. Bearing in mind thing that Steve and Ant have done after going solo... Dissapointment was huge! This is a mediocre pop album that has nothing whatsoever to geve to me. I am a prog collector and a life long fan of Genesis (the greatest prog band ever) but still I consider selling this one away.

I don't want to abuse Tony but I have no good words for this album so I'll shut up. 1 star.

Report this review (#76694)
Posted Sunday, April 30, 2006 | Review Permalink
Tarcisio Moura
1 stars My goodness, what a disappointment! After the classic "A Curious Feeling" we got this! I'm really trying to find out what Tony Banks tried to do with this album. It reminds me a lot of Mike Rutheford's forgettable Acting Very Strange. Yet I find The Fugitive even worse. It's a very weak album by any standard even if you (like me) like Genesis most commercial pop songs. Banks is surely a genius, a fantastic keyboards player and Genesis would never be what they were without him. His solo output may be erratic, but he always manage to put some great songs on them and to bring on some good vocal performances. That's exactly the problem here. No song on this album is really great, or even very good. Mediocre at best. Banks is no singer but he tries to, and most of the time his vocals are almost hidden behind a wall of effects, which do not help to bring some life to those lacklustre tracks. Fortunately mr. Banks never again would release such a bad disc, either solo or with Genesis. And some of his later efforts were very strong, like the brilliant Strinctly Inc. If you're a Genesis fan, avoid at all costs.
Report this review (#84065)
Posted Tuesday, July 18, 2006 | Review Permalink
1 stars I loved this album back in the day. I really did. I wore out my cassette copy playing "And The Wheels Keep Turning." But I've got to tell you, this is a one and a half star album. It's not progressive, except for the odd chord choice here and there. And it's certainly not pop, or at least good pop. When I pull this out now, I find only about half the songs listenable. In fact, the only reason I'd go beyond the first three tracks would be to get at "At The Edge Of Night" or "Moving Under." My real complaint here is about the sound, though. Of course, Tony isn't a singer and we should probably be grateful that he does a really good job on a few of the songs. Still, I expect a lot more variety of sound out of a keyboardist, and the percussion here is about as bland as any that I've ever heard.

I still like about half of this album. Some of the songs bring back great memories. But I have to admit that for most people, this is a one star album.

Report this review (#122050)
Posted Monday, May 14, 2007 | Review Permalink
Crossover Team
2 stars Four years after Banks first solo album, he released The Fugitive. During those four years Genesis had turned itself into a radio-friendly hit machine and shed most of its progressive rock foundation. Tony Banks was no different with this solo album. If you were expecting something like his debut, A Curious Feeling, you will be severely disappointed.

Instead of progressive rock, Banks gave us a collection of keyboard-driven pop numbers, some with minor prog tendencies. The second thing Banks gave us was his voice in all its glory. If you've ever wondered why Banks or Rutherford don't play a more forward role in vocals, this solo album explains a lot about why Banks doesn't.

Even though there isn't much of anything progressive about this album, I must say that some of the music is enjoyable, particularly the instrumentals. Banks can still create some nice melodies, even if this album seems more like goofing off than anything serious. The rest is quite bland and overall there is a sort of "sameness" to the whole album. An interesting acquisition for fans of Banks (and even some Genesis fans), but not important for prog rock collectors. Two stars.

Report this review (#131098)
Posted Wednesday, August 1, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars I would like to say that Sean Trane's opening of his review Tony, WTF sums up this album and he is quite right in expressing after A Curious Feeling you would expect the next album to improve. But The Fugitive is a totally different kettle of fish and typical 80's synth pop opening up with This Is Love... call it what you will, well I certainly will here, this is more like Howard Jones than Tony bank's. And upon purchasing this album and putting it on my turntable, the imortal words WTF sprang to my mind first of all with a doubt. But after giving it some grace and playing a few times it does get to grow on you a bit, and there is a few good tracks here,and I know Tony's not a singer, but is voice is far from that bad, and compared to a lot of others vocals who have tried the same thing, Steve Howe and Steve Hackett as an example, Tony's voice is a godsend. I gave this album 3 stars and that's because I reviewed it as a pop album. it's a waste of time trying to review it as a prog albums cause it's not. And I did it would not have got a star, it would have got another WTF.
Report this review (#131831)
Posted Sunday, August 5, 2007 | Review Permalink
1 stars Tony, you know I love ya, but you just shouldn't sing lead vocals. On each of his other solo albums, Tony has been wise enough to limit himself to no more than one lead vocal performance. And singing one song would be reasonable, since the album cover does say Tony Banks, after all. But, for some reason, on this record he attempts to do all of the singing himself, and the result is IMHO the most unlistenable Banks album ever. The only redeeming moments are the two great instrumentals, Thirty Three's and Charm. The rest of it I simply can not listen to. Even the great guest musicians, including Steve Gadd and Mo Foster, sound totally uninspired. One other annoying thing about this album is the cheesy drum programming and stiff rhythms that Tony comes up with, like the pseudo-reggae rhythm on the opening track This is Love. Stop that! Sorry for the harsh review, but this album is truly only for completionists.
Report this review (#158273)
Posted Thursday, January 10, 2008 | Review Permalink
2 stars I think that Tony Banks was asking himself in 1982-1983 if he really could make a solo album which could be as successful as Phil Collins`solo albums. Being himself, in my opinion, the real leader of the band since Peter Gabriel left them, because I still think that if Banks didn`t like Pop Rock songs GENESIS couldn`t record them in their albums, I think that maybe he thought that he should try to record a solo Pop Rock album. Mike Rutherford did the same in 1982 with his Acting Very Strange album which really lacked good lead vocals sung by himself. Banks tried the same with this album, released in mid 1983, singing lead vocals, and in comparison to Rutherford, Banks is a better lead singer, with his vocals working very well with the songs of this album. The songs in this album are really not very Pop Rock but not really very Progressive Rock in style. I think that he found a balance between both styles, not leaving at all his introspective and dark lyrics. His keyboards` playing style still sounds very GENESIS and personal, so he really couldn`t leave behind his essence as musician. So, he wasn`t so successful to make a whole Pop Rock album in style. I think that it was a good effort which showed some new keyboards sounds which he was going to use in his next albums with GENESIS. I still think that this album was much better than GENESIS`self-titled album of the same year, and this album is more of historical interest because Banks appears as lead singer doing a good job, in my opinion. The cover art is very similar to the cover art of some GENESIS` albums from the same period ("Abacab" and "Three Sides Live"). Very simple.
Report this review (#159996)
Posted Sunday, January 27, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars I realize I'm probably one of the only people to rate The Fugitive and Acting Very Strange as equal, or higher to the debut albums by Tony and Mike. However, I have my reasons. I won't go into "Acting Very Strange" because I already discussed it. But I will discuss, in depth, the Fugitive.

The Fugitive is a complete departure from any music Tony has made before. It is also completely different than any music he made after. It is like Acting Very Strange in that way. It was a "bridge" album from the original prog style to the pop style. It's amazing how similar these two guys solo careers were: first album, prog-like. Second album, weird combination of something they'd never tried before where they both sing. Everything after that, mostly pop with prog stylings through in occasionally.

That's right. Tony sings on this one. Everybody knows that. However, he aquits himself much more smoothly than Mike. Though he isn't a great singer, his voice fits the music on this album strongly. I can't imagine him singing on any other album though. It was kind of a once in a lifetime thing. Which is fine.

The album is, naturally, populated heavily by keyboards. However, unlike A Curious Feeling, the keyboards are not heavily layered. The sound is lighter and it breathes more openly. Tony allows professional guitarists, bassists and drummers to come in and arranges great group playing. The album is alive and light.

The synth tones are strange. Tony occasionally has some cheesy work here, but he often pulls very odd tones out of his synths, different than he had before. Less contemporary, a little edgier. The style is pop, but the songs are not as blatantly commercial as later albums. The songs seem to be more artistic and more creative. Tony was really pulling a minimalistic style that was unusual for him here.

This album isn't for anybody. For people who want Tony loud and symphonic, it will be boring. For those people who want Tony bopping along to pop music, it will be boring. But it's perfect for those who like albums that take a risk, however minor.

Report this review (#238664)
Posted Friday, September 11, 2009 | Review Permalink
Moogtron III
3 stars First the prog fan information leaflet:

WARNING: this record may cause heavy disappointment and confusion among devoted prog / Genesis fans. Even disgust and tendency to vomit belong to the possible side - effects.

This is not a very popular prog album amongst prog fans, and now I'm being very, very careful.

Okay, you might even hate this record for the following reasons:

1. At the moment that I write this, Tony Banks has been appointed to crossover prog. But the thing is: he doesn't cross over to prog. The chicken crossed the road, but Banks doesn't want to cross over, and certainly not towards prog.

2. Honestly, the album sounds more like... new wave! There, I said it. I hear some of you even mutter: pop!

3. Whereas on A Curious Feeling mr. Chester Thompson was drumming, he has now been replaced by... mechanical drums and a drum computer! And the latter sounds like it also.

4. There are no epics on the album, or even attempts to epics.

5. Most of the songs follow mainly the simple song structure: A B A B C A B . Okay, with an extra twist, but still...

6. Did someone say Abacab? Oh, me in point 5? Well, the album sounds a bit like Abacab, though Abacab is much more diverse than The Fugitive.

7. Tony sings on the album himself. He's not the best of singers.

8. The lyrics are not about myths and fantasy stories. Actually, they're pretty straightforward.

9. The lyrics have an atmosphere of doom and gloom.

10. The synths are not as warm sounding as on A Curious Feeling, but they sound mechanical instead.

Right, for many proggers this is "10 things I hate about The Fugitive". Nevertheless, readers of this review who are paying attention see that I reward this album with 3 stars. Do I not know about the rating system? Don't I agree with the 10 points that have been written by myself? Yes, I do. Well, then...

This is all true, and yes, I would have liked to have heard another album in the style of A Curious Feeling. Yes, maybe I would have liked any kind of real prog album by Tony Banks, who wrote and co-wrote so many Genesis masterpieces in the 1970's.

But still...

There's another side to it. Okay, the album is not prog, and almost mechanical sounding, and all the things that I mentioned. But Tony Banks never promised us a prog garden. He had the right to make an album that he wanted to make. And Tony Banks had become an admirer of the new wave style.

So now, we have seen what we missed in the album, what there is not. But what IS there in the album,as it comes to quality?

First of all... songs. Yes, songs. You'd almost forget that a prog spearhead like Tony Banks was actually a good writer of (almost) traditional songs, with a head and a tale, and a middle part. They are there on The Fugitive. Not prog songs, but songs anyway, and they are good, in their own right, in their own style! No bad songs on the album. All quality songs. With attention to detail.

Further on: Thirty Three's (his age at the time) is a good instrumental, with some lovely Banksian chords.

Even further... the album has atmosphere, even warmth, even though the synths, the drum computers and Tony's voice are cold in itself and the lyrics pessimistic. Yes, in a strange way, there is a romantic feeling on the album. Daryl Stuermer, though he plays a modest role, adds some nice riffs.

And... Tony is not a good singer in the traditional sense of the word, but he is characteristic singer. His vocals do work out quite well.

And the record is melodious. Yes, it is! Somehow this album works nicely after all. I have listened to it many times.

Tony was disappointed that the album wasn't being received enthusiastically. Many Genesis fans were disappointed with the album. Still, it has to be said, even when the album is not prog or even crossover prog, it is a well written, melodious, new wave / pop / rock record. Songs and lyrics: all laboured with love, and with vision, though not a prog vision.

Be warned, because many prog / Genesis fans really don't like the album, but there are fans of the album. Like me. If you doubt the album, check the other reviews well. But I would certainly recommend the album to prog listeners who like new wave and melodious pop.

Report this review (#244782)
Posted Thursday, October 15, 2009 | Review Permalink
Symphonic Team
1 stars What was he running from? His Prog roots!

The solo career of Tony Banks is hardly the most interesting of the Genesis member's solo careers. His whole solo discography is rather weak all the way through with only minor variations in style and quality. The Fugitive is the least good of all his solo albums, not because it is wholly awful but because it is rather dull. The vocals are all by Tony himself this time and his voice is a bit similar to that of Anthony Phillips. Many people complain about the vocals on this album, but I think that the problem mainly lies in the songs themselves; the vocals are indeed decent, but with nothing good to sing they fall flat. There is hardly anything memorable in these songs and they mostly sound pretty much the same. The instrumental Charm is indeed rather charming, but hardly good.

All the songs here are between three and six minutes and in some of the longer ones there are occasionally something that briefly reminds you of Tony's progressive past. But overall, this is rather anonymous music that could have been made by any number of soft Rock artists of the time. Do I need to add that this music is hardly progressive at all? Well, it isn't anyway.

Tony Banks' solo discography is really primarily for fans and collectors, but if you want to check out his solo work, The Fugitive is not the place to begin. On the contrary, this is the album you should get only if you have all the others and still want more. You're likely to buy this album just to complete your collection.

Report this review (#257848)
Posted Saturday, December 26, 2009 | Review Permalink
3 stars The Fugitive is a good album, maybe not what I would expect from a progressive keyboard master, but still good. If you see the album out from the progressive context, you can find a collection of great pop tracks, very originals. Tony's voice is unconventional and not commercial but has a trademark, and is not bad, fits well with the music. He uses a dry keyboard sound but with some strange atmosphere. The highlights, for me, are And the wheels keep turning, By you and the instrumental Charm (I could call progressive with a modern feel to this song). Man of spells is another good one. As this album is not so close to the progressive concept, I will rate it with 3 stars.
Report this review (#289430)
Posted Tuesday, July 6, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars Released in between Genesis' 11th and 12th studio albums, but closer to the 12th, Tony Banks second album is again very much the sound of being in between those albums, and even of being closer in sound to the 12th Genesis album. It's interesting to hear the progression of the keyboard sounds in the Genesis releases and his solo albums, and in my opinion, this album is the peak of his creativity in terms of tone choices. If you aren't expecting to hear the peak of his virtuostic playing and enjoy Abacab and Genesis(1983), you will probably get something out of The Fugitive. Every song has been carefully tailored over, and there's a warm feel of life and originality to these 9 songs (I only had the vinyl) of relatively simple nature. I say relatively simple, because none of the tracks are relagated to being standard pop songs. All three of the first three songs on Side One have either unexpected chord changes, a nice, brief instrumental diversion, or just an air of being something different that keeps them sounding fresh and unconforming. Even a song like "Say You'll Never Leave Me", which might have sounded like a very standard love ballad of it's time if recorded by a standard love ballad artist of it's time let's the shaped synth tones and Tony Banks' highly personal singing to take the song into its own world. As for his singing on the album in general, it's not bad at all, sounding a little like a combination of his contributions to early Genesis rarities like "Shepard" and Al Stewart. The instrumental that closes out Side One, "Thirty-Three's" is one of his best soundscape and chord adventures, and has a very thick, surreal and evocative atomosphere to it. Side Two is a bit heavier, with slightly darker themes and more developed songwriting, all still very good, and lightened up by the quirky "Charm", which reminds me of some of those early video game sounds. The Fugitive is not a profound statement, and if there is a concept, it's hard to pin down, but it's highly creative, excellently produced, and always fun to listen to.
Report this review (#568993)
Posted Wednesday, November 16, 2011 | Review Permalink
1 stars I have listened to this album twice now. I have heard 'Still', and think is is a fantastic pop album, with a wide variety of styles and tempo changes. I have also heard a curious feeling, which is also a touching album. This is utterly, totally bland. Every single song sounds exactly the same. Boring instrumentation, boring mid tempo balladry, and Tony Banks singing constantly out of key. I didn't mind him when he sung one song on an album, but track after track of this slightly sharp, shrill, thin voice. No, it is awful. Oh, and 'By you', compare to the 30 second interlude on Paul McCartney's tug of war album (1982), can't remember the name, just before 'dress me up as a robber'. But that was 40 seconds. It's not a great track, but there is something weirdly endearing about it, prob because his voice is being fed through a vocoder or something. I enjoy 80's pop, this falls short of the mark, let alone a prog album. The Carpenters album 'Passage' is 100,000x more progressive than this album.
Report this review (#660957)
Posted Friday, March 16, 2012 | Review Permalink
3 stars Tony Banks tries to find his way to solo success of fellow current Genesis bandmates Phil Collins and Mike Rutherford instead of former mates Peter Gabriel, Steve Hackett, and Ant Phillips. Initially, the pair follow the latter trio with prog albums as their initial releases with very good results but modest sales. After two PC pop rock albums, both Mike Rutherford and Tony Banks have a go at it. Each make the same mistake that both of them should have learned from their core job with Genesis; neither is a lead singer.

While Banks is a better singer than Rutherford, that is not exactly a ringing endorsement. The songs themselves are not horrible, on the whole they are just not very memorable. He writes for is limited singing range, which means there is not much variation here. There are a handful of very good songs and nothing to make you cringe. No real prog on this CD, a light 3 stars might be generous but I played it often when it was released.

Report this review (#731206)
Posted Monday, April 16, 2012 | Review Permalink
1 stars On to the second solo album of Tony Banks. The first album didn't get me really lusting for this one.

"This is Love" - Better than a lot of tracks on the first album. This is a "pop" song but it has an interesting construction and sound. There is almost a reggae feel to a lot of this track.

"Man of Spells" - I can't decipher the reason for this track - it's ok but it means nothing musically to me.

"And the Wheels Keep Turning" - At this stage the only reason that I continue listening to this is to complete the review.

"Say You'll Never Leave Me" - I can't say that this does anything for me at all.

"Thirty Three's" - Interesting beat structure carries a bunch of keyboard sounds and ideas. KInd of gets one dimensional later in the track.

"By You" - Quirky track that I quite like. A little long for what it is though.

"At the Edge of Night" - Upbeat rocky pop number. Bring on the monotony.

"Charm" - Instrumental track - A video game would have been suited to this music.

"Moving Under" - Lack of cohesion abounds. Why stretch a 2 minute idea into 6 minutes?

"K2" - If this is about fake weed then that's ok - if it's about the mountain peak you'd better make it dramatic.

"Sometime Never" - Thank goodness this review is over.

What on earth is this? I would have expected something way more profound from the Genesis keyboard wizard than what I've found on the first two Banks solo releases. There is nothing profound or in fact really interesting about this album at all. If this hadn't been Banks then I wonder how this album would have fared against the competition at the time in the music world - I doubt that anyone would even know of its existance today.

Report this review (#948666)
Posted Wednesday, April 24, 2013 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars While Tony Banks is with little dissension or doubt, a keyboard stalwart who has been rewarded by universal acclaim as well as a wicked pile of dough, going from prog to pop seamlessly (at least for some), he does seem to be a strange cat, not always very politically correct and in my opinion, he could rub a few people the wrong way (namely Gabriel and Hackett). In a few interviews, he has come across as being judgmental and acerbic but there is no denying his considerable talents. His first solo album, 'Curious Feeling' was a proggy affair but from then on, Banks progressively (oopsy) slanted his craft in more mainstream direction which paralleled his Genesis gig. Hence, albums such as 'Bankstatement' and 'Still' were rather tepid affairs that really had little return adulation (or sales). That all being said, I have deeply enjoyed 'The Fugitive' since day one of its release, a much-maligned masterpiece that has had the misfortune of being perhaps the wrong style at the wrong time, thus ostracizing his fan base. I was therefore delighted to replace my old cassette (remember that thingy?) with a new re-mastered CD version which can only do the material justice as its truly a fine piece of work, if taken for what it was and not what it should have been. Upon closer inspection, the virtuoso keyboard manifestations are replaced with less symphonic stylistics that are closer to Tony Mansfield (New Musik, Aha, etc') or even Thomas Dolby, focusing on synthesizer instead of piano, mellotron or organ. In fact, there is hardly any mellotron at all to be found! Add masterful talents like Mo Foster on bass, Darryl Stuermer on guitar and drummers Steve Gadd, Andy Duncan and Tony Beard, you have some serious possibilities. There has been criticism from many sources of the mechanical drumming, well that may be but there is one of these 3 drummers on all tracks except the short instrumental 'Thirty Threes' where Linn drum machines are used. Of course, it's not prog by any stretch but why crucify him for daring to go into more accessible mode and having the courage to tackle the vocals? These are HIS songs, for God sakes! It's his artistic right and call. But I am the silly guy who loves 'Under Wraps' by Jethro Tull and Ian Anderson's debut solo album 'Walk into Light', mainly because I feel the songs were real good but many other purist fans hated the technology (the synthetic sounding electronics). I had no problems with it, having survived on a diet of Thomas Dolby, Magazine and Ultravox at a time when prog was kind of dead but not yet buried.

The melodic opener 'This Is Love' is a fine song, catchy and certainly within the sign of the times, very 'plastic new wave', a style quite prominent at the time. Nothing wrong with a smart pop song from time to time and this is a real good one. Tony Beard bashes hard, the trembling synths carving a mood , a sensational melody that Tony does well in carrying forward, a cool 'slinky' guitar intervention and a turbo-charged section that has a 'do what you want' sizzle that combines a sweet synthesized flurry. Yes, the lyrics are corny, that very un-prog 'love' stuff, yeah, I know, Yuck! Whatever'

The infuriatingly addictive 'Man of Spells' has been playing in my head for so long, I believe it has its own drawer in my cortex, even though it does sound a lot like Brit synth-pop band Naked Eyes, fueled by screeching and meowing synthesizers, spewing along a drop-dead beautiful melody that is ear-candy. The legendary Steve Gadd handles the slick beat propelling this superb piece ahead, Darryl playing with his (heart) strings and Banks throwing in some delicate ivory tangents.

Maintaining the sweet seduction, 'And the Wheels Keep Turning' is another strong melody with a decent vocal from Tony, though he is not an opera singer by any stretch. But honestly, no worse that Steve Howe, Steve Hackett and many other prog heavies. So he sounds a bit like Neil Tennant (Pet Shop Boys), so what? A nice slippery synth solo adorns the light flavored tune.

Though the melody on 'Say You Will Never Leave Me' eerily rekindles memories of the Beatles, particularly John Lennon, one must give credit to Tony for attempting a rather effort laden vocal that is both demanding and challenging. The sweeping orchestrations are remarkable with tons of string synths blaring along. 'Thirty Threes' is all instrumental, heavily electronic and totally enjoyable piece of music with cascading sweeps of synthesized orchestrations and clever electronic keyboard textures. With 'Charm', these are the two more proggier pieces, since there is no singing to be found.

The suave and bouncy 'By You' continues the accessible style, Tony singing rather well (he does manage to hit a few high notes which BTW, many in prog would falter at) as cannonading keyboard bubbles float convincingly in a pool of moody sounds. Yes its mechanical yes it sounds more like Thomas Dolby and his science blindness but those were the times, people!

At over 6 minutes, 'At the Edge of The Night' might seem as the epic attempt here but I assure you , this is a hard core stomper, a 'rock n rolla', designed to feature a stonier approach, with Darryl Stuermer's guitar rasps front and center, challenged by that still saccharine Banksian voice ('Gonna be alright'). It even has a synthesized brass section (boo, the plastic technology) that gives it added oomplh, admittedly could have been a Phil Collins song quite easily, though the 'bent' Stuermer axe solo is quite experimental.

My favorite track remains 'Charm', a thoroughly convincing instrumental number that has haunted my memory ever since I heard it for the first time. I do not know why, nor do I feel the need to explain. But I will nevertheless: It just really inspire me, as Banks draws very close to the genius of Tony Mansfield, probably the most underrated British musician arranger ever, whose New Musik project yielded 3 stunning albums that have stood the test of time. The intricate electronics displayed are simply fabulous, trilling synths looping madly in sequence. The disc ends with 'Move Under' which reignites a certain sense of accessibility, both playful and creative. The chorus is undoubtedly attractive and the music is very Brit-pop in its presentation, very akin to what was being played at the time of its original release (1982), smack in the middle of the Simple Minds/Duran Duran/ABC/Toto rage that was popular at the time. There is some tremendous soloing from Stuermer and Banks on the outro finale.

Bonus tracks 'K2' and 'Sometime Never' do not add or distract from the overall impression. Though seen by many hard-core fans as a sell-out, the context of the times will prove them wrong, as the music scene in 1982 was dismally confused, waiting for the band Marillion to finish practicing the imminent release of 'Script of a Jester's Tear' in some dingy basement somewhere in Albion and forever revive the prog movement from its Momentary Lapse of Reason and inspire a renaissance that continues today. Upon reflection and as noted by the artist in the 2016 remastered liner notes, he feels that 'his vocals gave the album a sort of charm' because it was just him singing the vocals and no one else. He remains very fond of the album. As do I.

4 renegades

Report this review (#1552057)
Posted Thursday, April 14, 2016 | Review Permalink
3 stars #22 Review

I was looking through some "The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway" reviews and i came to a realization... prog reviewers could be as complex as prog is, and i like that, but because of that i should clarify what kind of prog reviewer i am, there are some that go for the lyrics... i'm not that, some that go for how much rock there is on a certain song... i really don't care, there are others who go for techniques, and i do care about that, i like it, but if you have seen my other reviews you will realize that i almost never talk about it... because i'm more about the feeling the music gives, i started with soundtracks, and what some people called "filler" to some of the little instrumental music pieces on "The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway", if your read my review you already know, i think that those music pieces really added to the album to feel more like a movie... and the band thinks that so, they've tried to make a movie about that album 2 times already... so you know.

We have seen Tony sing in a Genesis song called Shepherd and his voice is really well used there, and here... we will see.

1.- This is Love 7/10 A song with a reggae sound, a weirdo that spies on to a lady and an interesting music video. I don't get why Tony felt like this was his song style, but somehow this song manages to sound good, specially when he is not singing. While this song doesn't need his voice, it still adds character. I don't get why i enjoy this song, maybe i feel somewhat identified with the weird persona.

2.- Man of Spells 3/10 I like how this album has felt alien so far. This song also seems like it doesn't need the voice, the piano/synth guitar is playing that part anyways. This song is very repetitive at the point where i asked myself "is really that all?".

3.- And the Wheels Keep Turning 5/10 While the voice does a little more here, i expected more on this song, in the parts where it goes "big", but it never does, instead this song has a little solo to compensate for that near the end (and repeated again at the end with a fade out). I was left expecting more from this song.

4.- Say You'll Never Leave Me 3/10 A love ballad that has little interesting moments and that its repetitive, not a good combination, it tries to do more but everything still falls flat. The lyrics get repeated too much.

5.- Thirty Three's 10/10 If i get to live 10 years more, alone and in a obscure solitary apartment... this is the song that will play on that place forever. I really like this instrumental, is dramatic and weird. I have no complaints.

6.- By You 4/10 This song is weird, alien and repetitive. It truly feels experimental and as such is interesting but not very good.

7.- At the Edge of the Night 7/10 I expected it to get more soundtrack like, but is just another pop song, albeit with more changes and much more interesting than some others that are here in this album. It could've been a hit if the keyboards were made louder, with synth drums and with somebody else's voice.

8.- Charm 10/10 I always wanted to hear Tony Banks do soundtracks for videogames, i think that some Genesis stuff and some songs from Tony solo career, Steve Hackett and Anthony Philips could make for an excelent videogame soundtrack. This "8-bit" instrumental has many classic influences and feels like a trip to a computer generated world that goes evolving graphically by any layer of music that passes, i really like this music piece.

9.- Moving Under 7/10 I almost understimated this song because of the last one, but it has some complex moments, the bass is really sweet and it has a little part in 5/6. This song has many changes in it and the final part sounds interesting.

10.- K2 5/10 An average repetitive pop-ballad but with a little of Tony Banks recipe in it.

11.- Sometime Never 5/10 Really similar to K2, harmless pop-ballad that i won't mind hearing while i lunch.

I recommend to every prog and soundtrack listener to take a moment and apreciate the songs 5 and 8, and if you're curious about some early pop done by Tony, i recommend hearing 1, 7 and 9

This album gets overall a 60/100 and that means that this album barely gets 3 stars.

Report this review (#1948978)
Posted Tuesday, July 17, 2018 | Review Permalink

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