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Tony Banks - Still CD (album) cover

STILL

Tony Banks

Crossover Prog


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chrlsalvrz@ao
4 stars A much slightly better follow-up to the underated "Bankstatement". Featuring collaborations with ex-Marillion lead singer Fish on a couple of tracks ("Another Murder Of A Day" is one great song) UK teen idol Nick Kershaw are amongst a host of wonderful musicains, whom were brought along to try to give Tony the commercial breakthrough that he has been looking for, yet with no success.Charles

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#27187)
Posted Tuesday, March 30, 2004 | Review Permalink
daveconn
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars This is really no further along the curve than "Bankstatement". As for the positive praise that well-meaning souls have laid at the foot of "Still", they've simply set the bar too low. True, it's a professional affair, engaging the services of FISH, Nik Kershaw, Andy Taylor and a returning Jayney Klimek on vocals, but I don't hear where this edges out something like Phil Manzanera's Southern Cross on the road to respectability.

If you're looking for BANKS to write pop songs with a certain amount of emotional soul wringing akin to the late '80s, then here you go. Not that the GENESIS keyboardist doesn't have the right to solicit the same audience as Mike + The Mechanics, but he can do so much more. The second half of "Another Murder of a Day" or even the classy ballad "Still It Takes Me By Surprise" are the sort of payoffs I expected, not FISH lamely stating "You're just a devil with a pretty angel face" (from "Angel Face"). The vocalists are all good (even BANKS acquits himself on "Hero For An Hour"), but like Steve HACKETT's "Please Don't Touch" the rotating cast breeds an air of arbitrariness. There are no instrumentals, which is sort of a shame, and no new ground is broken.

The inclusion of FISH will no doubt intrigue many, but honestly they only click at the end of "Another Murder of a Day" (easily the album's highlight). The rest of the material is merely competent pop music with hints of GENESIS' grandiloquence (a scent of "The Cinema Show" wafts through "Still It Takes Me By Surprise") and nods to BANKS' earlier work ("Hero For An Hour" does recall "And The Wheels Keep Turning"). Maybe I'm foolish to expect Tony BANKS to return to prog's green pastures, since his solo work has never leaned to the left side of GENESIS. If I view "Still" as a further straying into commercial blandness, blame it on my intractable allegiance to earlier ideals that were left by the wayside with the '80s.

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Send comments to daveconn (BETA) | Report this review (#27188)
Posted Saturday, April 17, 2004 | Review Permalink
Chris S
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
1 stars Sorry to ruin the party but this album for me was TB's lowest point career wise. It was almost panic stations trying to find vocalists to prove a success formula for commercial acceptance. Thankfully he only really got obsessed by it on this album as Bankstatement and Strictly Inc managed to escape the frenzy. Banks is no doubt one of the finest musicians around but even getting Fish or Nick Kershaw on as guests when their prime had already come and gone was a mistake.

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Send comments to Chris S (BETA) | Report this review (#27189)
Posted Friday, July 09, 2004 | Review Permalink
Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars Still it takes me by surprise

With "Still" Tony Banks came up with his finest solo album since "A curious feeling". He took the wise step of surrounding himself with top notch musicians, and taking no more than an equal part in the performance himself. Vocal duties are shared between 80's pop star Nik Kershaw, Fish, Jayney Kilmek, and Andy Taylor, with Banks only stepping up to the mike on "Hero for an hour".

Fish sounds more Gabriel like than ever on "Angel face" but the track is never in danger of becoming a Genesis clone due to the female vocal backing and pop related structure. The first three tracks follow this pop trend, and it's only really with "Still it takes me by surprise" that things click into place. Bank's piano work here is beautiful in its deceptive simplicity, with echoes of the intro to "Firth of fifth". Andy Taylor, gives a vocal performance of great sensitivity. The previous track ("The gift") gives no indication he is capable of such a performance. This track alone justifies obtaining the album.

Nik Kershaw takes inspiration from Taylor's performance, and puts in a fine performance on the closing track, the appropriately named "The final curtain".

Yes the album is rather pop based, Banks was clearly getting desperate for some of the success his then current and former colleagues were enjoying. It is nonetheless, a fine collection, well performed, and very enjoyable.

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Send comments to Easy Livin (BETA) | Report this review (#27190)
Posted Friday, August 27, 2004 | Review Permalink
milesh@dccnet
4 stars I'm playing the extremely gorgeous song "The Gift" right now so I thought I'd take the time to right a review for this album.

Seems like Mr. Banks was over his head in the success of We Can't Dance and its supporting tour, so he felt inclined to do an album by himself with the same co-producer on We Can't Dance. This album sounds more proggy than WCD itself, but it has an assortment of good assistants, including Daryl Stuermer (that guitar schmuck who played on tour with Genesis and was a member of Phil Collins' own solo band), Vinnie Colaiuta (the wicked drummer who played with Frank Zappa), Luis Jardim (the percussionist whose name you find on a lot of these sorts of albums), and Pino Palladino (who's currently the touring bassist with The Two - formely known as The Who). The vocalists are also top-notch: Nik Kershaw, Fish (I'd like to hear some of his own music - my friend Lise says he's very good), and a lot more! The cover also looks more poppy than prog, rather yuppyish. But that's how the later Genesis was and I think Mr. Banks took some of Mr. Collins' influences and decided to churn them out on his own!

"Red Day On Blue Street" is an energetic track that sounds kind of like a theme song from a TV drama show. Unfortunately, it goes a bit too long and it's hard for me to keep attention.

"Angel Face" is a dark but touching track sung by Fish. This one is more mellow but more powerful than the previous track.

There is no lovelier pop song from 1992 than "The Gift." Listening to it puts so many images in my head: 1) wandering down the London Drugs on Hastings Street on a cold, rainy Saturday afternoon - 2) lovely female models walking on a platform during a fashion show - 3) useless TV ads for talking with scantily clad females - 4) driving around downtown Vancouver at night with some friends - so many great images for me! There are more, but they are a bit too risque for this site. Whenever I feel lonely, I like to slip this track on and I feel in regalia! The lyrics are also very genial, and Andy Taylor sings them with great emotion! This is the best track on the entire album and a track that I'd give 10 stars to! IT IS LOVELY!

"Still It Takes Me By Surprise" is a tad-too-sweet number that's dominated by Andy Taylor's vocals and Mr. Banks's keyboards. It goes on a bit too long so it's my least favourite on the album.

The happy-go-lucky "Hero For An Hour" is a rare moment when we get to hear Mr. Banks himself sing the song. Mike Rutherford did a terrible job of doing that on his 1982 solo album Acting Very Strange (he was probably trying to sound like any one of Phil Collins' solo albums), but Tony sings with precision and excellence. The lyrics are kind of humourous, and the keyboards are pretty top notch on this track. The lyrics talk about a man who rescues a little girl from danger and becomes the "headline story."

"I Wanna Change The Score" is quite different from anything else on the album. The guitars sound more stadium rock-like and Nik Kershaw sounds a tad like Bryan Adams!

"Water Out Of Wine" is a relaxed track sung by Jayney Klimek. It's not a great track, but the lyrics are kind of enthralling.

"Another Murder Of A Day" is the second best track. Fish comes back to the mic and tries his hand at storytelling. This track suggests a more straightedge version of "Driving The Last Spike," and, as you can probably judge by the title, it sounds like a track out of a mystery movie.

"Back To Back" is a powerful track driven by Vinnie Colaiuta's full-speed drumming.

The gorgeous closer "The Final Curtain" has Nik Kershaw back again, singing some of the sweetest lyrics on the album, and he even sounds as though he's sad the album had to end. And technically, so am I!

I came across this CD at Zulu Records in late November 2002 out of curiosity. I bought it because I was a fan/collector of Genesis and had no idea I was in for one of the most lovely prog albums ever recorded. If you enjoyed We Can't Dance, you're bound to like this album. And if you don't like the Phil Collins-era Genesis much, you'll at least get a fix of Tony Banks's fine songwriting skills.

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#27191)
Posted Friday, October 08, 2004 | Review Permalink
Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Unlike "A Curious Feeling" which was produced by David Hentschel (Genesis's producer) and Tony Banks, "Still" is produced by Tony Banks and Nick Davis. The change in producer has in a way impacted on how the album was approached and written. In "A Curious Feeling" Tony used same line-up throughout the whole album but in "Still" he used session players. On vocal department he hired Nik Kershaw, Fish (previously with Marillion), Jayney Klimek and Andy Taylor. While on guitars he hired Genesis's on tour guitarist Daryl Stuermer.

Musically, this album is inferior compared to "A Curious Feeling" in terms of composition. Yes, there are some good tracks like those sung by Fish (it's probably I like Marillion during Fish era that makes me liking these songs). Throughout the album Tony wants to create something more pop than previous album while maintaining his keyboard style like in Genesis. You can find the keyboard solo in "Still it Takes me by Surprise" (6:25) (track 4) is interesting. Overall, it's not bad at all. I can only recommend to the completionist who love the music of Genesis to have this CD in the collection. Keep on proggin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

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Send comments to Gatot (BETA) | Report this review (#120955)
Posted Monday, May 07, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars Derek Dick!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This was the first Tony Banks album I ever heard. I was pretty excited because of how good of a writer he is. What I discovered was a very mixed and inconsistent album. By that, I mean that half of it is good and half of is not so much. The songs that Fish sing on is excellent, especially "Another Murder of a Day", which is the best song on the album. Tony does a great job of creating an atmosphere on this song, both with the chords he uses and the guitar sounds that Daryl makes. This song is worth getting the whole album. It is excellent. The other highlights are "Angel Face", "The Gift", "Still It Takes Me By Surprise". "Hero for an Hour" is also good and quite catchy. I really like the synth lines. Overall, a good album. You might have to ignore some of the weaker songs, like "Back to Back" and "I Wanna Change the Score" (despite having parts in 7/4) if you're not tolerant of pop.

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Send comments to White Shadow (BETA) | Report this review (#140389)
Posted Monday, September 24, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars Tony Banks is one of my all-time favorite musicians, and I have all but one of his solo albums (The Wicked Lady). Although all of his solo albums can be criticized for inconsistency, I feel that this is his most outstanding work overall. There are a few duds: The Gift, Angel Face, and especially Hero for an Hour. But fortunately, Tony limits his singing only to Hero and elsewhere employs a stellar cast of guest vocalists. And that is what makes most of this album work so well -- instead of trying to do it all himself or employing the same band on every track, he wisely selected different players to suit each song. The results are delightful to hear, especially on Still it takes Me By Surprise, I Wanna Change the Score, Red Day on Blue Street, Another Murder of a Day and the exquisite Final Curtain. As with all of Tony's albums, you will have to learn which tracks to skip over, but most of these songs are richly satisfying.

P.S. Tony, if you're going to hire Pino Palladino, please don't bury him in the mix!

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Send comments to bassandbeyond (BETA) | Report this review (#158269)
Posted Thursday, January 10, 2008 | Review Permalink
Evolver
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Crossover & JazzRock/Fusion Teams
2 stars This is another reason to not rate an album on first impressions. When I first got this CD, as a promo when it was released, I absolutely hated it. I listened to it once, and put it away in my collection. On second listen today, it's not quite as bad as I thought. In between the many unmemorable songs there are some glimmers of progressiveness.

Banks' playing on this is mostly straightforward and unchallenging, as it is on most of the Genesis albums of the 80s & 90s. But here and there, he manages to rise up and create something listenable. I would single out the piano solo section of Still It Takes Me By Surprise, and Another Murder Of A Day as the highpoints of this album. The low points, the last 2 songs, are just dreadful. I wish I could have that ten minutes back.

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Send comments to Evolver (BETA) | Report this review (#211501)
Posted Thursday, April 16, 2009 | Review Permalink
1 stars But how Tony Banks has made for you it makes this album so bad? Tony Banks of Genesis keyboard played on beautiful album, his solo career had trouble began with 'A Curious Feeling "but Tony Banks was doing pretty good. Here surrounded by 2 great singer, Nick Kershaw and Fish he made an album that has no flavor. Daryl Stuermer will not do anything for him, the titles are fm pop, nothing to do with progressive rock. The album is not even recommended someone who loves Pop, both titles are lacking capacity has pleasing melodies very poor. It seemed that Tony Banks would make a commercial album and it crashed masterfully, making this a rejection of rock music really is a pity.

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Send comments to Discographia (BETA) | Report this review (#235520)
Posted Friday, August 28, 2009 | Review Permalink
3 stars A well made melodious pop / rock album. Not much prog elements on it, so be warned.

As it comes to sound, this Tony Banks album is definitely an improvement on its predecessor, "Bankstatement". To start with, the production is much better. "Still" has a full, warm, organic sound in comparison to the somewhat mechanical sounding "Bankstatement".

Also positive is the return of Daryl Stuermer (who was also present on "The Fugitive"). Stuermer gives the album more of a rock feel. In fact, this is the album where Banks more than ever before uses rock. This does the sound of the album good, there's no doubt about it. Some of Banks earlier albums missed some sort of punch. This is the best sounding Tony Banks album up to date (which doesn't mean that it's his best album artistically). Banks has some top session musicians as well: Vinnie Colaiuta on drums and Pino Palladino on bass. The latter puts himself on the background, but is very important for the wonderful sound of the album. Colaiuta puts himself more on the foreground, and I'm glad that he did: he is a very skilled and emotional drummer.

So this is already a winning team. For the rest: Banks uses the same formula as on Bankstatement: using different singers on the album, and it has to be said: this is good for the variety within the songs and it helps Banks to develop more of his versatility as a song writer.

But how about the compositions? The album has some of the best songs ever made by Banks, and a few forgettable ones. As for the highlights on the album: Banks is best at making songs with heavy keyboard layers, somewhat slow songs with a dramatic vocal performance, completed by wailing guitars. In general, the songs sung by Fish (ex -lead singer of Marillion) are the best on the album. These are songs with tempo changes, great keyboard work, wonderful somewhat Clapton - like guitar lines by Stuermer, and Fish who offers a great vocal performance, with wonderful story telling lyrics. The Fish - songs also have some prog elements. Fish fans should check this out! "Angel Face" and especially "Another Murder Of A Day" (about a prostitute who is waiting for her next customer) are wonderful tracks, where Fish is really excelling.

Also good, in the same vein as the Fish songs, is "Still It Takes Me By Surprise", where Andy Taylor sings lead. He doesn't do as good a job as Fish, though. He doesn't seem to get his voice fully around Banks' song, and one sees his limitations as a singer. Banks should have used Fish for this song also. Still, this song and the two Fish songs that I mentioned, are real highlights of the album. They are very much compelling songs.

Nik Kershaw, an artist admired by Banks, is also present on the album. He sings the album opener "Red Day On Blue Street", which sounds like a hit single (and probably was meant as such), but Banks throws a lot of chord changes in the song, which makes it attractive after all. The sound of the song is also very powerful, and those who would gruel by the idea of Banks using saxophone on the album can relax: Banks does it very sparesome, but the song has some Miami Vice / Jan Hammer sensibilities, though more subtle. Banks is ever subtle on the album, even when the record has some commercial streaks.

Still, Nik Kershaw is not an emotional singer in any way. That is no problem for the song "Red Day On Blue Street", because the music itself is powerful and emotional, but it is for "I Wanna Change The Score", which is a bit of a filler. The closing song on the album, "The Final Curtain", also sung by Kershaw, is a great song, but here also one would have wished some more emotion in the vocals.

A song that also succeeds on the album is "Water Out Of Wine". Once again, not because of Jayney Klimek's vocals, but because of Banks' excellent composition.

There is, like on Bankstatement, one song that is sung by Banks. "Hero For An Hour" is nice and original, and even though Banks is not a very good singer, he has a characteristic voice, and once again Banks delivers a nice musical story.

No doubt Banks tried to make a commercial album with an artistic edge. Yes, commercial, I said the C - word. Too bad that Banks was trying to reach the masses, because he didn't succeed and with every next pop album he estranged his original audience from him. Still, however commercial sounding the album is, there's still a lot to enjoy on, lets say, seven songs of the album. The other three are not really convincing, close to being fillers.

This album is an improvement on Bankstatement, in sound, even in compositions, though Banks should have used more soulful vocalists. Fish is a very good singer, but Andy Taylor doesn't succeed in his vocal performance, and Jayney Klimek and Nik Kershaw are not very good vocalists, a bit too cold sounding for Banks' compositions. Still, the album can take you by surprise, especially on the songs sung by Fish.

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Send comments to Moogtron III (BETA) | Report this review (#247528)
Posted Saturday, October 31, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars Tony Banks' music is about feeling rather than intricacy and chops, hence the vast difference between reviews. One either feels it or they don't. Coming off his personal least favorite offering, Bankstatement, Banks' compositions really shine on 'Still', in many places. 'Red Day On Blue Street' is a perfect opener, loaded with summery melody, and powerful chord changes. This track alone arguably has more in the way of substance than the entire Bankstatement album, and the production is phenomenal. The strong mood conveyed in the opener is not continued on the next 2 tracks, which though good songs, are almost a let down after the powerful opener. 'Still It Takes Me By Surprise' is another great track, reminding of his work with Genesis in songs like 'Heathaze' or even 'One For The Vine'. A beautiful, poignant track with a glorious instrumental break. The only serious instrumental break on the album. The other highlight is 'Another Murder Of A Day', with great vocals by Fish. This sounds like a great lost Genesis classic to my ears. Very emotional, with a strong, compelling mood, like a more adventurous 'Me and Sarah Jane', mixed with some of 'The Lamb'.

2 other poignant songs are the haunting 'Water Out of Wine', and 'The Final Curtain', this latter track completely made by the gorgeous middle section, leading to the outdoorsy instrumental break that marks another album highlight.

Elsewhere, 'Back To Back' is to me better left off the album, annoying after the masterpiece that is 'Another Murder of a Day'. So, not a perfect album, but a very good one nonetheless, and far and away his best since 'A Curious Feeling'.

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Send comments to brotherjohn (BETA) | Report this review (#290546)
Posted Friday, July 16, 2010 | Review Permalink
2 stars I was curious about this album. I had heard the 9-minute prog "epic" from it ("Another Murder of the Day" with guest vocals by ex-Marillion singer Fish) prior to hearing the complete work. In very blunt terms, that song kicks butt!

However, I also read some of the reviews that said this album was pretty poppy. Well, yes, it is pretty poppy. Tony Banks made an album that could've been an 80's Genesis album, except with a bunch of different singers instead of Phil Collins.

Now I do like a lot of 80's Genesis, but even after multiple listens the majority of this album hasn't really grown on me.

The main problem is that a lot of the vocals don't feel like they fit the music. I kept expecting Phil to break in at any given moment to give these songs some punch.

The songs are sung by Fish, Andy Taylor (yeah, the one from Duran Duran & The Power Station apparently), Nik Kershaw, Jayney Klimek, and for one song, Tony Banks! Maybe because I know Fish from Marillion and his solo work, the songs he sings ("Angel Face" and the aforementioned "Another Murder of the Day") are pretty immediately likable. The other songs range from syrupy to tolerably bland. Maybe if Banks had one vocalist (like Fish) the album would have felt a little more cohesive.

Actually, the track Banks sings ("Hero For An Hour") is pretty decent. It sounds a little like something off Genesis' ill-fated (but underrated) Calling All Stations. Also, the tracks on which Klimek takes lead vocals are fun just for the fact that it gives a hint of what a female lead singer in Genesis might have sounded like.

In the end though, I'm "Still" not able to give this album a very strong recommendation - aside from the Fish tracks - or for curiosity's sake.

Highlights: "Another Murder of the Day"

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Send comments to FunkyM (BETA) | Report this review (#614047)
Posted Saturday, January 21, 2012 | Review Permalink

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