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BANKSTATEMENT

Tony Banks

Crossover Prog


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chrlsalvrz@ao
4 stars One of the great mysteries concerning Genesis is 1. the lack of respect for Tony Banks 2. How important Tony is to the sound of Genesis 3. How underated Tony is as a writer.

Many might frown at Tony Banks musical direction that he has taken in both Genesis and his solo career, but in admitance, Tony always wanted to write music and only became a musician when he knew he could do it. Unlike any of his peers, Tony not only was a influential figure within the Progressive rock annals, but he also wrote or co-wrote many songs that would become long-time standards.

So then comes Tony's solo career. Tony's solo debut was a stunner, the missing link between Genesis's "And Then There Were Three" and "Duke", but with Tony in control, the music seemed more fluid. But in a major mistep, Tony released his second album "The Fugitive" which was a critical and commercial disaster, a move that his solo career would never recover from.

A shame, as for despite a couple of movie soundtracked based album, Tony's "Bankstatement" is a excellent album similar to the Synth-pop direction Genesis had dwelled into with "Genesis" and "Invisible Touch", but sadly that synth oriented style was fading within the late Eighties, and this album would sink without charting a single or on the album charts.

Charles

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#27182)
Posted Tuesday, March 30, 2004 | Review Permalink
daveconn
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Surely with the success of Mike + The Mechanics, the time was right for Tony BANKS to join his GENESIS mates at the top of the charts. Or so the thinking probably went; but Tony's temporary rebranding as "Bankstatement" ended up on the loss side of the balance sheets, commercially anyway. Produced by Steve HILLAGE and featuring a pair of strong vocalists in Alistair Gordon and Jayney Klimek, "Bankstatement" was the closest thing to a full-fledged contender that BANKS had released yet, augmenting his keyboard-led creations with palpable production value.

At times, especially when Klimek takes the lead, "Bankstatement" seems like a viable option artistically (just recall how good Toyah Wilcox sounded on "Lion of Symmetry"). Alistair Gordon's voice is less consistent; the opening "Throwback" ends up sounding like Was Not Was' "Knocked Down, Made Small (Treated Like A Rubber Ball)", Lou Gramm comes to mind on "The More I Hide It," Barry Manilow on "That Night". Gordon gets the lion's share of the leads, which was likely intended as a means to compete with Mike + The Mechanics, but Klimek gets the best moments: "Queen of Darkness" and "A House Needs A Roof.".

Despite being credited with guitar, HILLAGE has little audible effect on the outcome, though his handiwork is evident on the Eastern-tinged "Big Man" (which starts with a reference to GENESIS' "Watcher of the Skies"). Thankfully, BANKS' character still comes through on "Bankstatement". No doubt the labels would have liked an entire album of adult contemporary pop, but it's when "Bankstatement" resists these expectations and returns to BANKS' strengths that the record truly succeeds. And if you enjoyed the instrumentals on "The Fugitive", check out "Thursday the Twelfth."

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Send comments to daveconn (BETA) | Report this review (#27183)
Posted Saturday, April 17, 2004 | Review Permalink
Chris S
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Honorary Collaborator
3 stars More attempts at commercial parity with his peers....but there are some wonderful moments on this album especially ' I'll be waiting' 'Raincloud' and ' The border' which would have been comfortable on any Genesis album. I sometimes wonder what Bank's works would have sounded like with PC behind the mic!

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Send comments to Chris S (BETA) | Report this review (#27184)
Posted Friday, July 09, 2004 | Review Permalink
3 stars As with GTR, I expected more out of the collaboration between Banks and Hillage and got a poppy result. Jayney Klimek comes across like a 'Stars In Their Eyes' version of Aimee Mann (then of Til Tuesday)down to the blonde dreads, but minus the lyrical wit. Alistair Gordon I'm not sure about. 'Thursday The Twelth' is a bit hit and miss, but I do like 'The Border' very much. 'Throwback' was the wrong single choice. The sleeve is rubbish, which tends to be a given for Banks albums.

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Send comments to pickle (BETA) | Report this review (#27185)
Posted Friday, August 20, 2004 | Review Permalink
Snow Dog
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Errors & Omissions Team
1 stars I expected a lot from this album due to Banks being a main Genesis songwriter and a great tinkler of the keys, but it fails to deliver! All the tracks are mere "soundscapes" with rather ordinary vocals sung on top. The songs start as they mean to go on and then just fade way at the end. Every one. Funnily,the stand out track for me is the Banks sung one "Big Man". Other than that a rather forgettable experience! Not an unpleasant album by any means, but lacking in any real "go". Seems an album aimed for commercial success and failing.

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Send comments to Snow Dog (BETA) | Report this review (#48491)
Posted Monday, September 26, 2005 | Review Permalink
horza
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars I really expected a lot of this album when I bought it back in the day.Steve Hillage guested on guitar and his was the first gig I had ever attended.Tony Banks was a keyboard player that I really admired.I remember that at about the time I purchased this I also bought Wet Dreams by Richard Wright. Keyboards was my favourite instrument and I had hoped for stirring stuff. I was to be disappointed. This album was much weaker than Wet Dreams,and I remember being thankful that I had never found a Peter Bardens solo album. The pain may have been too much to bare. Tony Banks was crucial to the success of Genesis,but as a solo artist he left me wanting so much more.

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Send comments to horza (BETA) | Report this review (#50791)
Posted Saturday, October 08, 2005 | Review Permalink
Tarcisio Moura
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Six years after releasing the hideous "The Fugitive" album, Tony Banks returns to the solo spot with Bankstatement. Thank God I listened to this album after The Fugitive. Both deal much with pop music, but while the former is a total disaster, with bad songs and a rather lacklustre vocal, the latter is actually much better in both subjects. It seemes that Banks found out that his voice is not really ideal even for his songs (he sings only one track here). So he called two good vocalists fot this task. Right move. Also his songwriting here is fine. Pop music with a little hint of prog, ok, but fine nevertheless. In fact, if some of the materail were recorded by Genesis, they would probably be hits. If you don't believe me just hear the first track Throwback and try NOT to think Phill Collins singing it. It's a perfect Genesis late 80's song and a sure top ten single IF Collins had sung it and had the label Genesis print on it.

Certainly it's not Banks in it's prime but I have to admit I like this album. At first it really sounds a bit flat and bopring. But after a couple of listenings you'll probably finding out the fine subtletities most of the tunes have. It's not Tony banks best, far from that, but good anyway. If you're a fan of 80's Genesis music I recomended it

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Send comments to Tarcisio Moura (BETA) | Report this review (#84673)
Posted Monday, July 24, 2006 | Review Permalink
Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
2 stars Low on credit?

Having failed to achieve the level of solo success enjoyed by his peers (Gabriel, Collins Hackett & Rutherford) from Genesis, Tony Banks released under the name Bankstatement what was really another solo album. Unfortunately, the venture was no more commercially successful than his previous attempts, and the name was quickly dropped.

For this album, Banks brought in the legendary Steve Hillage on guitar and production duties. While the production is indeed top notch, the talents of both Hillage and Banks are largely wasted in a collection of anonymous pop and soft rock songs. Sensibly, Banks takes a back seat on vocal duties on all but one of the tracks. He employs Alistair Gordon for six of the nine tracks, Jayney Klimek singing on a further two and dueting with Gordon on "That night". Gordon sounds very like future Genesis singer Ray Wilson, his throaty style also being reminiscent of Kim Bacon's contribution to Banks' first solo album.

The album opens in rather worrying fashion, with a brass intro to an upbeat pop rock number, which is rather too much in the vein of Phil Collins solo work. The "keyboard brass" is "augmented" by the real brass of The Phantom horns. Fortunately, this is the only track with a brass arrangement.

In rather predictable fashion the upbeat pop songs alternate with reflective ballads. Of the ballads, "I'll be waiting" is a pleasant but undistinguished song with breathing keyboards, while "That night" is a sugary middle of the road duet. The upbeat songs are the least appealing though, especially when Banks insists on singing on the "Jesus he knows me" related "Big man". "I need a roof" is probably the album's nadir, with all the characteristics of a Cindi Lauper reject and featuring lyrics such as "Call me, please talk to me, tell me the truth, I need to believe like a house needs a roof".

There are a couple of slightly more exciting songs. "Queen of darkness" is a bit heavier, the female lead vocal making for a pleasant change. "The border" sees Alistair Gordon sounding more than ever like Ray Wilson, Banks' supporting keyboards giving the track slightly more depth.

The main problem is the although Banks writes all the songs, his keyboards never take centre stage, preferring to maintain a supporting role throughout. The sole exception is the closing instrumental "Thursday the twelfth", when Banks finally comes up with something a little more constructive. Even here though, he hardly challenges himself, the piece being a mid-paced plod through some pretty straightforward keyboard exercises.

Not Banks' finest hour by any means, and a further indication that Phil Collins was far from being the only guilty party in Genesis migration to the murky world of pop.

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Send comments to Easy Livin (BETA) | Report this review (#94412)
Posted Friday, October 13, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars I largely concur with previous reviewers in my opinion of this album. There's nothing particularly offensive about Bankstatement, but there's nothing particularly memorable about it, either. Overall, it's a nice production. Good singers, great keyboard textures from Banks, and a few musically poignant moments. My favorite songs are I'll be Waiting, The Border, Diamonds Aren't so Hard, and Thursday the 12th. The only one I really don't care for is (as always) the song that Tony sings himself, Big Man.

If you like Tony Banks, this is worth getting. But don't pay a premium price to get it! I guess I would sum it up by saying that this album is more consistent than most of his solo albums, but it's somewhat bland in its consistency. I like Bankstatement, but I prefer his albums with some bad songs and some GREAT songs (like Still).

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Send comments to bassandbeyond (BETA) | Report this review (#158289)
Posted Thursday, January 10, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars If Genesis fans had a fit after The Fugitive, they must really have been driven up the wall by this album. A "debut" album by a "band" that Tony created (I use the quotes because this was as much a band as any other group Tony had worked with on his solo albums before) it was an even stronger stab at pop success. Unlike the bizarre stripped down and tense sound of The Fugitive, this was 80's pop all the way. The first song "Throwback" starts out with a horn chart that was a definite "throwback" to contemporary Genesis and Phil Collins songs. After this, the album storms through a collection of contemporary 80's pop styles. Hard driving synth pop rock tunes are surrounded by dreamy ballads and even evocative instrumentals. Tony was experiencing a lot of success in Genesis around this time. Genesis was one of the top selling bands in the world, and much of the songwriting was pushed by Tony. Likewise, Phil and Mike were also succesful with their parallel solo careers, getting huge hits with songs like Sussudio and All I Need is a Miracle. Tony figured he could do the same.

Why Tony never got this success is still unclear to me. There are many moments on this album that are as catchy as any moment from Phil or Mike's solo stuff. Tony was, and is, a great songwriter and composer, so these songs are strong, diverse, well played, and confident. In a different world, this album could have been a huge hit.

I think the reason it wasn't cuts close to the nature of Tony. Though Tony's keyboard playing style was often the center of Genesis, it was rarely, if ever, larger than life. It was subtle and careful, and Tony has always been illustrated as the shy and reclusive Genesis member, which is saying something, considering how shy and reclusive many of them are to this day. While Phil had the big friendly charisma and simple, honest approach that engendered him to pop success and Mike had the natural pop songwriting ability to create memorable and hit filled albums, Tony didn't have that same charisma. He was more likely to shyly smile during an interview, or tell one of his barbed, sometimes cruel jokes. He didn't promote, tour, or push his work the way that Phil did, nor did he have that easy going, natural talent to create pop music that Mike did. Tony worked best long and sprawling. He would develop his melodies slowly, create harmonic diversity, and come up with a polished and beautiful, if lengthy tune. Though he could write pop music, I truly don't believe his heart was in pop music. This is why, although he could write catchy pop just like Mike or Phil, he just didn't have the success.

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Send comments to SonicDeath10 (BETA) | Report this review (#238658)
Posted Friday, September 11, 2009 | Review Permalink
3 stars In 1989, Tony Banks' colleague from Genesis, Mike Rutherford, was enjoying commercial success with his band outside Genesis, Mike & The Mechanics. Since Phil Collins also had enormous success as a solo artist, Tony now was the only artist within Genesis who didn't find himself a steady audience outside of the band.

Therefore it's no wonder that Tony tried to go the same road as Mike: forming a band with different singers, and make an album under a group banner: here on ProgArchives this album is filed under "Tony Banks", but originally it was released under the group name "Bankstatement".

Here we encounter a bit of a tragic story within Tony's life: time and time again he tried to make solo albums which would give him commercial success, but in this respect the record fails on two levels: not only does he not get the attention that he wants, but also he estranges his progressive core audience from himself.

After this lengthy introduction it may be obvious that this album is not a prog album. Indeed, it isn't. There are, on some songs, only hints of prog, nothing more. This may also the least rock oriented Banks album. This is very much a keyboard oriented album, but quite different from A Curious Feeling. The (simple) rhythms give the album very much a pop sound. Very 1980's hard and hollow sounding rhythms sometimes. The record company wanted Tony to have an outside producer, which is logical if you listen to Tony's first two solo albums, which sound a bit underproduced. For this job Tony asked Steve Hillage, who also plays guitar on the album. Although Steve still had a hippie image in those days, he did exactly what the record company and Tony wanted him to do: help to make it a modern commercial album. Don't buy this album because you are interested in Steve's guitar: there isn't much to enjoy on this album in that respect.

After five paragraphs of critical notes I may surprise you to tell you this is actually not a bad album. Well, if you are looking for prog on it, you will be very disappointed. But if you look at the record as a melodious 1980's pop album, it is actually quite good. The production still isn't very good (the next album "Still" would be better in that respect), but the songs are quite good. On this album Banks shows, to begin with, that he is an excellent song smith in a traditional way.

Yes, I said "traditional". "Throwback" and "Raincloud" are completely traditional sing songs, but very well written. Melodious songs with a head, a middle part and a tail. They are well sung also, by the way, by Alistair Gordon, who does a decent job on the album. Alistair's voice sounds much like Genesis' Ray Wilson, by the way.

But there is more than just traditional songs. "I'll Be Waiting" and "The More It Shows", also sung by Gordon, show that Banks knows how to make soulful songs where keyboards add a lot of atmosphere. The best piece on the album, "That Night", is also like that, though with the added vocals of female singer Jayney Klimek. Here Tony shines, and his keyboards give some sort of wall of sound which sounds quite compelling. It's too bad that Tony didn't have charisma as a solo artist, because on the strength of his compositions he might easily have found himself a bigger audience.

"Big Man" is also good. Tony' sings on it, in a style which is almost completely sounding like the songs of The Fugitive. It also shows that Tony can write intelligent lyrics: the song is about someone who comes in a position of power, maybe because he's elected as a politician because of his rhetorics or good looks, but misses in any way the abilities to handle his power in a good way. Especially memorable is the line: "I got a red light warning, I don't know why. Maybe it will go away if I close my eyes".

"Diamonds Aren't So Hard To Find" is a nice glorious feel good track. Even when, in terms of composition, the chorus and the verse aren't seamlessly fitting together, but the song is so catchy that it doesn't really bother.

"Thursday The Twelfth" is an instrumental with some nice, roaming, keyboard waves.

There are three songs on the album which don't work out well. "Queen Of Darkness" is a remake of an instrumental track on the Soundtracks album, this time with Jayney Klimek singing. The original version is much better, though, and Jayney sounds a bit nagging on the Bankstatement version which doesn't add to the original atmosphere of the song. "The Border" and "A House Needs A Roof" are like fillers in my ears. The other eight are quite good, though.

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Send comments to Moogtron III (BETA) | Report this review (#245578)
Posted Wednesday, October 21, 2009 | Review Permalink
3 stars Tony Banks has another crack at pop success and he doesn't succeed.

It must have been frustrating for the main writer in Genesis not to have the success the four other members from their artistic heyday. Released in the last year of the 1980's, Banks created an album that had more polish then either of his prior releases but had an album most devoid of any prog. That was the idea as he had multiple singers, a stripped down sound (for him) and a shiney vintage 1980's production. While not a great album by any stretch of the imagination, he does have at least 2 songs that should have hit the market he was aiming for. "I'll Be Waiting" and especially "That Night" are 2 relationship ballads that should have been all over the Top 40. "Throwback" has keyboard horns and a nice pace that should have hit the bottom end of the charts. There is one song that hints at his predigree and that is the closing instrumental "Thursday the Twelfth. Excellent!

I believe the reason Tony Banks did not reach his goal was that he doesn't have the personality to promote himself, and he did not follow the Mike and The Mechanics lead and make any great videos. MTV is king + Good pop / rock songs + no visiblility = albums and singles that do not chart.

I occasionally enjoy this release but there are some tracks that I wouldn't call fillers but they are not that strong either.

3 stars.

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Send comments to tdfloyd (BETA) | Report this review (#245600)
Posted Thursday, October 22, 2009 | Review Permalink

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