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TONY BANKS

Crossover Prog • United Kingdom


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Tony Banks biography
Anthony George Banks - Born March 27, 1950 (East Hoathly, Sussex, England)

One of the original founding members of GENESIS , Tony BANKS has been the quiet, driving force behind the band ever since their debut back in 1965. His classical leanings, strong compositional skills and distinct (and often emulated) keyboard style have set him apart from his contemporaries from the very start. Always keeping a low profile, he displays a rare compassion for his music and never tries to impress with extravagant shows of technical prowess. His contribution to the GENESIS sound and identity is fundamental. His solo material, however, is very uneven and can honestly not be called 'progressive'. This, coupled with an avowed dislike for the limelight that precludes any inclination for touring, has resulted in his solo albums systematically failing to chart - or even approaching the success of the other band members' solo material.

His first solo effort, "A Curious Feeling" (1979), is by far his best. Bearing his distinctive musical signature, it features interesting conceptual lyrics as well as the familiar crafted compositions and massive wall of keyboards that made the music of GENESIS so compelling. After this release, however, his stripped-down approach to composing brought us "The Fugitive", an early 80's pop-oriented album where he toyed with the new digital/synthetic gadgets of the day. Its catchy hooks and the fact that he handled all the lyrics himself make it interesting, but hard-core progsters find it rather disappointing.

BANKS also composed music for films ("The Wicked Lady" and "Soundtracks") and released three albums of adult-contemporary material ("Bankstatement", "Still" and "Strictly Inc") featuring a rotating cast of assorted vocalists. Finally, "Seven - A Suite for Orchestra", was released in 2004. It is made up of compositions in the pure classical symphonic tradition, performed by the London Philharmonic Orchestra with BAANKS handling some piano parts himself.

With the exception of one monumental progressive track on the album "Strictly Inc.", his recent material is decidedly MOR, with occasional references to his progressive past. Why this incredibly gifted composer has strayed ever so far from his progressive roots is a mystery - some (including myself) would say a tragedy. Still, Tony BANKS remains one of the influential figures of our times and his legacy among co...
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TONY BANKS discography


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TONY BANKS top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.42 | 222 ratings
A Curious Feeling
1979
2.41 | 117 ratings
The Fugitive
1983
3.26 | 51 ratings
The Wicked Lady (OST)
1983
2.77 | 86 ratings
Bankstatement
1989
3.13 | 106 ratings
Still
1991
3.50 | 77 ratings
Strictly Inc.
1995
2.80 | 77 ratings
Seven - A Suite For Orchestra
2004
3.87 | 93 ratings
Six - Pieces For Orchestra
2012
3.96 | 153 ratings
5
2018

TONY BANKS Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

TONY BANKS Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

TONY BANKS Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.82 | 59 ratings
Soundtracks
1986
4.76 | 12 ratings
A Chord Too Far
2015
4.25 | 4 ratings
Banks Vaults - The Albums 1979 - 1995
2019

TONY BANKS Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

3.22 | 8 ratings
For a While / A Curious Feeling
1979
4.43 | 7 ratings
For a While / From the Undertow
1979
3.00 | 6 ratings
And the Wheels Keep Turning
1983
3.11 | 8 ratings
This is Love
1983
3.75 | 4 ratings
The Wicked Lady
1983
3.67 | 3 ratings
Performing Songs from Lorca and the Outlaws
1985
2.92 | 6 ratings
Shortcut to Somewhere
1986
3.40 | 5 ratings
The Gift
1991
3.40 | 5 ratings
I Wanna Change the Score
1991
4.17 | 6 ratings
Still It Takes Me By Surprise
1992

TONY BANKS Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Still by BANKS, TONY album cover Studio Album, 1991
3.13 | 106 ratings

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Still
Tony Banks Crossover Prog

Review by VianaProghead
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Review Nš 417

"Still" is the fourth studio album of Tony Banks and was released in 1992. It was originally going to be named with the same name of one of the tracks "Still It Takes Me By Surprise", but it was later shorted to "Still".

"Still" has ten tracks. All songs were written by Tony Banks except "Red Day On Blue Street" and "I Wanna Change The Score" which were written by Tony Banks and Nik Kershaw and "Another Murder Of A Day" which was written by Tony Banks and Fish. The first track "Red Day On Blue Street" is sung by Nik Kershaw. It's a very good and energetic track, very powerful and emotional, that sounds very well from the beginning to the end. Musically, it's a simple song in terms of composition but it has some good and interesting musical appointments, like the use of the sax on it. The second track "Angel Face" is sung by Fish. This is another very good track and it's more energetic, powerful and emotional than the previous track. However, this is a song that sounds more mellow and dark than the previous song, and this is probably because the vocal interpretation by Fish. Here, Fish sounds probably more close to Peter Gabriel than ever. The third track "The Gift" is sung by Andy Taylor. This is another very good song that keeps the album in a very good and high quality level and it's very well balanced. It's the shortest song on the album, but it's very well constructed and performed and it has also good and nice lyrics. This song represents very well how a song composed to be a pop hit can be so good, lovely and with good quality. The fourth track "Still It Takes Me By Surprise" is also sung by Andy Taylor. This is another type of a song that sincerely took me by surprise. It's a very emotional song sung with great sensitivity by Andy Taylor. But, the great highlight of the song, for me, is the piano performance of Tony Banks. His performance is very beautiful and reveals such sensitivity that every time I hear it, always comes to my memory "Firth Of Fifth" of Genesis. This is, without any doubt, one of the highlights of the album. The fifth track "Hero For An Hour" is sung by Tony Banks. We are in presence of another different type of song on the album. It's also a good song, very nice and pleasant to hear. However, I think it has less quality than the previous songs because it's more repetitive, simpler and less imaginative. However, we may say that we are in presence of a very pretty and decent track, indeed. The sixth track "I Wanna Change The Score" is sung by Nik Kershaw. It's a type of song totally different from anything else on the album. This is typically a song where the guitars and the rhythm of the song sound totally as a pop rock song. It's a song that reminds me strongly the albums made by his colleague from Genesis, Mike Rutherford with The Mechanics. This is a good song but too much pop for a progressive rock album. The seventh track "Water Out Of Wine" is sung by Jayney Klimek. It represents another different track on the album. It's a very beautiful and relaxing song on the album with good and nice lyrics and it's beautifully sung by Jayney Klimek. Probably, this isn't a great track, but personally, I like very much of it. Curiously, this song reminds me very much the type of music made by the Italian band Aries on their eponymous debut album, "Aries". The eighth track "Another Murder Of A Day" is sung by Fish. It represents, without any doubt, with "Still Takes Me By Surprise" the two best musical moments on the album. This is the best, the lengthiest and it's also the most progressive track on the album. Here we can clearly see the hand of Fish all over the song, not only on the vocals but also in the composition. It's a fantastic neo-prog song that reminds me, at the same time, the music of Genesis and Marillion. This is, in reality, a great song and represents a perfect marriage between Tony Banks and Fish as a duo of composers. The ninth track "Back To Back" is sung by Jayney Klimek. This is another song composed to be a great pop rock song. It's a very nice and powerful track very well performed and sung, which constitutes a nice and pleasant song to hear. However, it isn't very imaginative and creative. It's also very repetitive and despite being interesting, it isn't one of the high points of the album. The tenth track "The Final Curtain" is sung by Nik Kershaw. It's a fine track with a nice and good vocal performance by Nik Kershaw. Here, he sings some of the sweetest lyrics on the album and he sings it with a passion never seen before in the whole album. This is a perfect way to close the album and the name of the song represents and provides, in reality, a good and nice final curtain to this album.

Conclusion: From all Banks solo albums, I only know very well, "A Curious Feeling", "The Fugitive", "Bankstatement" and this album "Still", until now. So, I've no doubt in saying that "Still" is less good than "A Curious Feeling", but definitely better than "The Fugitive" and "Bankstatement". Musically, "Still" is slightly inferior compared to "A Curious Feeling", in terms of composition and progressivity. However, it's a very good album, well balanced and in reality, it has only one weak song "Hero For An Hour". On the other hand, it has many good songs, especially "Another Murder Of A Day", which is, for me, a real gem on the album. So, in my humble opinion, it deserves to be rated with 4 solid stars.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

 Still by BANKS, TONY album cover Studio Album, 1991
3.13 | 106 ratings

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Still
Tony Banks Crossover Prog

Review by Squire Jaco

4 stars If you ever - even only once - heard a classic Tony Banks keyboard solo like the ones he nailed on Genesis songs such as "The Cinema Show", "The Colony of Slippermen" or "Duke's Travels" (but to pick a few cherries from his vast orchard), you'd be tempted to seek out ALL of his solo works in search of more keyboard nirvana....and you might end up being surprisingly disappointed. At least I was.

I mean, I actually like most of his solo albums, but I'm really amazed at how little they resemble the sound of Genesis (with the exception of his first album, "A Curious Feeling"). But there are always hints of Banks' genius and signature keyboard styling in every one of his albums (e.g., listen to "An Island in the Darkness" on his "Strictly, Inc." cd), even though he took a decidedly "poppier" route in many of the songs. Many of these solo albums were issued in the 80's!

I think "Still" contains some of his proggiest sounding songs outside of Genesis, with lots of great keys and his typical chord changes in some of the songs. Yes, there is certainly a lot of "pop" sound here too, but they are all very good songs done well.

I'm going to limit my review here to just two songs on the second half of the album, since many of the reviews have already done a great job of noting the overall flavor of the cd, and also because these two songs just happen to be my favorites on the cd - maybe my favorites of Banks entire solo output.

"Another Murder of a Day" is just great - written in the classic Genesis style with Fish's Gabriel-like vocals, the music moving through a few different great themes, and circling back to the original keyboard lick that began the song. The lyrics are moving, the mood transitions are perfect, and the performance is flawless. But as great as it is, it is preceded by an even BETTER song...

Tony Banks cd's are the only places that I've ever heard of the singer Jayney Klimek. She does a nice impersonation of Pat Benatar on the ninth track, "Back to Back". But her delivery on the eerie and mysterious "Water Out Of Wine" is GORGEOUS. And what a composition! Banks has numerous subtle chord changes - which Klimek nimbly follows - and he leads her voice between the bounds of two full octave ranges. I truly believe that this is one of the most underrated songs in Tony's entire catalogue, and it's really a shame that it will go unnoticed except by us loyal Genesis fans looking for keyboard wizardry. (And I suspect that because it's sung by a woman, even many of us proggers might dismiss it out of hand without giving it its proper due.) This is a GREAT composition and performance. Buy the cd for that song, and enjoy the rest of the cd accordingly.

 5 by BANKS, TONY album cover Studio Album, 2018
3.96 | 153 ratings

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5
Tony Banks Crossover Prog

Review by hergest ridge

5 stars Of course, "FIVE" of Tony Banks is not a rock record : it's a classical one. And, what's sure : it's completely progressive!

We can speak of a "classical trilogy" for his last three albums : Seven, Six and then this one : Five.

I was really surprised by the high level of quality of the two first records. But what a wonder when I first listened to this album! For me, the level of "Five" is still higher than the first two!

How to describe this classical music composed in 2018? It's completely romantic : you hear Rachmaninov and Tchaikowski here! You also hear Bernstein for a more modern touch. But you also hear John Williams because it could be a very big orchestral film music!

In summary, if you like progressive music, romantic classical music and also orchestral soundtrack, listen to "Five" of Tony Banks, you will not be disappointed.

And after, listen also to "Six" and "Seven"...

 A Curious Feeling by BANKS, TONY album cover Studio Album, 1979
3.42 | 222 ratings

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A Curious Feeling
Tony Banks Crossover Prog

Review by VianaProghead
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Review Nš 309

"A Curious Feeling" is the debut solo studio album of Tony Banks and was released in 1979. It was released after the departure of Steve Hackett from Genesis, between "Wind And Wuthering" and "...And Then There were Three...". Tony Banks was the first of the three remaining members of Genesis to release a solo work. However, "A Curious Feeling" never reached the success that Mike Rutherford and Phil Collins reached with "Smallcreep's Day" and "Face Value".

The album's cover design was made by Hothouse and the cover painting is named "Wuluwait - Boatman Of The Dead" and was painted by Ainslie Roberts who was an Australian painter, photographer, writer and a commercial artist too.

Tony Banks wrote all the tracks and he also played almost all the music instruments on it, such as, the keyboards, the guitars, the basses and the percussion. However, he selects to collaborate with him two other musicians. For the drums and percussion he chooses Chester Thompson, an American drummer and session musician who played before with Weather Report and Frank Zappa. On vocals, he chooses Kim Beacon who was a member of "String Driven Thing".

The story of "A Curious Feeling" is a science fiction novel based on the book "Flowers For Algernon" by Daniel Keyes, who was an American writer of science fiction and fantasy novels. It was written in 1958. Algernon is a laboratory mouse which was subject to a surgical intervention to increase his intelligence by artificial means. The story touches many different ethical and moral themes such as the treatment of the mentally disabled, the conflict between intellect and emotion or happiness and hoe events in the past that can influence the personality of a person later in his later life.

"A Curious Feeling" has eleven tracks. Most of the time, the music all over the album is dominated by Banks' fantastic playing, especially the Yamaha electric Grand piano, which was at the time a very popular instrument, can be heard on many of the tracks. Also the layers of string synthesizers, which were made to create an orchestral feeling on the instrumental pieces, sound very impressive. Tony's efforts on the electric and acoustic guitar are worth listening too.

The first track "From The Undertow" opens the album as an instrumental prelude. This is a nice and dramatic piano and keyboard piece. It's in the same vein of what Genesis made on "...And Then There Were Three...". "Lucky Me" is a nice track with great vocal work by Beacon. The guitar and the keyboards that work in the back are very nice too. The song is a bit contemporary in tone and has a great melody. "The Lie" is also an excellent track that could easily have fit into Genesis' portfolio of that era. It precedes the high point of the album, their magnum opus. "After The Lie" is another track that could have fit into Genesis' portfolio of that era. The dramatic tension, structure and particularly the keyboard solo are on par with some Genesis' best output. Thompson's drumming is another highlight on the track. The title track is a light footed pop rock song that lifts your spirit, as opposed to the other rather melancholic pieces of the album. It has a catchy instrumental hook and a rousing spoken introduction from Beacon. This is probably one of the strongest tracks on the album. "Forever Morning" epitomizes everything you would hope for in a real Banks' track. The music builds layer by layer reaching moments of intense grandeur with a very delicate theme at the mid point and a dramatic closing section. "You" is a romantic ballad dominated by sensitive vocals and some Genesis' inflected guitar before a fiery synthesizer solo opens up into a bombastic instrumental sequence. "Somebody Else's Dream" is the lengthiest track on the album. Thompson has been unchained to add some welcome a very dynamic drumming work and Beacon gives probably his best vocal performance on the album. "The Waters Of Lethe" remains the album's most successful offering built around a simple but lyrical piano theme before breaking out into a grandiose guitar and keyboard fanfare. It sounds amazingly beautiful like "Wind And Wuthering". "For A While" is one of the most straight forward songs. This is a melancholic short pop rock song with an engaging melody and an optimistic tone. It features a rare electric guitar break from Banks. "In The Dark" is a beautiful understated piece to conclude the album in a true Banks' style. This short track is nice and includes one final and majestic orchestral flourish. This is a very nice way to close the album.

Conclusion: "A Curious Feeling" has elements of Genesis' early progressive sound. So, it makes of this Banks' debut release the strongest and the really only album from him entirely progressive. After all I wrote about the tracks, I can say that it's for very little that I don't consider this album a true masterpiece. I think to be a masterpiece, only lacks to it a small flame of emotion. So, my rating is 4 stars because I think that it's closer to 4 stars than 5 stars. So, for what all I said before, I sincerely think that "A Curious Feeling" is really a must for all fans of Genesis and for all progressive fans. I know the album since it was released, and fortunately, despite my CD copy, I have also my old vinyl copy. I also know that this album always had also a very special place in Tony's heart, even now, after all these years have passed.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

 A Curious Feeling by BANKS, TONY album cover Studio Album, 1979
3.42 | 222 ratings

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A Curious Feeling
Tony Banks Crossover Prog

Review by Psychedelic Paul

5 stars Keyboard player extraordinaire TONY BANKS (born 1950) is of course the longstanding Master of the Keys in the band Genesis. He's appeared on all fifteen Genesis studio albums, starting with "From Genesis to Revelation" in 1969, right through to the final Genesis album, "Calling All Stations" in 1997. After all, Tony Banks IS the sound of Genesis. He's been voted one of the greatest keyboard players of all time, and deservedly so. He got together with the other three founder members, Peter Gabriel, Mike Rutherford & Anthony Phillips, to form Genesis at Charterhouse School in 1967 when they were discovered by record producer Jonathan King, and the rest is Genesis history, which there's no need to elaborate on here. This album "A Curious Feeling" (1979) is the first of six Tony Banks solo albums. The album features male vocalist Kim Beacon and American drummer Chester Thompson. Later albums were "The Fugitive" (1983), "Still" (1991), "Seven: A Suite for Orchestra" (2004), "Six Pieces for Orchestra" (2012), and his most recent album, "Five" (2018). He also recorded an album under the punningly titled bandname, "Bankstatement" in 1989, as well as composing the music for "The Wicked Lady" (1983) movie, followed by the release of a collection of soundtrack pieces in 1986, titled "Soundtracks", appropriately enough. Tony Banks' albums feature a compelling mixture of Classical music and Progressive Rock. Introduction over, it's time now to give this particular album a spin. I have "A Curious Feeling" you're going to like it.

The album opens in grand symphonic style with "From the Undertow". It's a breathtakingly beautiful opening piece of instrumental music which promises we're in for a rather special treat with this album. This serves as a prelude to "Lucky Me", an exhilarating song with a joyful vibe, as these uplifting lyrics reveal:- "And I would rather be nobody else, I'm happy as I am, all I need is in my way, And you see no one expects too much from me." ..... It's a gleeful song full of boundless optimism. Song No. 3 "The Lie" is a buoyant and flamboyant toe-tapping number that romps along nicely in rousing fashion, which leads us into "After the Lie", where Tony Banks really shines like a beacon with his stunning keyboard virtuosity. This is lush, melodic and marvellous music! Onto Song No. 5 now and the title track "A Curious Feeling", a commercial-sounding song that has "hit record" written all over it. The song has a joyous and jubilant feel to it in the same way as "Follow You, Follow Me" by Genesis. To close Side One in superlative and uninhibited style comes the 6-minute long keyboard opus, "Forever Morning". Prepare to be lifted to a higher plane of musical existence with this touching, transporting and transcendental piece of magnificent music. This is spectacular!

Returning to Earth now with "You" to open Side Two. The singer Kim Beacon is in romantic balladeer mode here with this tender-hearted melancholic number. Wait a minute though! What's this!?? Tony Banks breaks out into a wild and uninhibited Rick Wakeman-inspired keyboard jamboree to close out the song. Wow! This song is amazing! You really have to hear this to believe it!! This is a glorious symphonic masterpiece, elevating this album instantly to five-star status. What more can I say!? I'm flabbergasted by the technical brilliance on display here!! In fact, my flabber has never been so gasted!!! Okay, that's enough exclamation marks for now. Onwards to Song No. 8 and "Somebody Else's Dream", the longest song on the album at nearly 8 minutes long. It's a sonorous and resonant, keyboard-heavy anthemic song with the awesome power of a runaway steamroller, so get ready to pump up the volume and rattle those windows for this stentorian piece of stirring music. To paraphrase James Bond, you'll be shaken AND stirred after listening to this powerful and passionate piece of music. Into melodic Genesis territory now as we settle into a somewhat mellower mood for "The Gardens of Lethe". What's it all about you may well ask and where on Earth is "Lethe"!? No idea, because it's an instrumental. To call this wonderful piece of music an "instrumental" though doesn't really do it justice, because it's a sublime symphonic masterpiece, which is just what we've come to expect from Genesis keyboard maestro Tony Banks. It's time now to take a break "For a While", because that's the name of our next song. It's a lovely romantic ballad featuring these charming and invigorating lyrics:- "It sure felt good for a while, Yes, it was good for a while, I found somebody to take my hand, To the promised land of the loved." ..... It's emotional, it's inspirational, and above all, it's beautiful! Sadly, we've now reached the end of this impassioned and very impressive album with "In the Dark". It's a sad song that really tugs at the heartstrings with these emotionally-wrought lyrics:- "If you know my story now, Please don't tell, Don't want to hear, It can only bring me pain, Maybe one day before I die, I'll open that door, Maybe I'll cry, But for now I'll live in the Dark." ..... It's enough to bring a tear to your eye, as we say goodbye, but try not to cry, because this album will leave you on an emotional and spiritual high.

A gloriously uplifting album which is choc-a-bloc full of sonorous symphonies and romantic ballads. It's an absolute must-have album, regardless of whether or not you're a Genesis fan, because dare I say it..... this album is as good as, if not better than anything Genesis have ever done. It's certainly better than the 1980's Phil Collins era of Genesis, that's for sure!

 Seven - A Suite For Orchestra by BANKS, TONY album cover Studio Album, 2004
2.80 | 77 ratings

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Seven - A Suite For Orchestra
Tony Banks Crossover Prog

Review by sgtpepper

2 stars The first real forray into classical music, Tony Banks leaves a mixed but even more bored feeling after listing to the album. There are little traces of anything from rock or jazz music. The proper classification would be modern classical music with some hints of movie soundtrack as heard by brass instruments. Compositions miss keyboard instruments; you wouldn't guess that it is Tony's album by any means.

The classical music listener will be likely put down by not a sufficient complexity; and the progressive rock listener will find this album boring.

If I should pick one track to recommend, then it would be tha last long one.

 Strictly Inc. by BANKS, TONY album cover Studio Album, 1995
3.50 | 77 ratings

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Strictly Inc.
Tony Banks Crossover Prog

Review by sgtpepper

3 stars Unlike other listeners, I don't consider this album to be in Banks' best effort; that position is firmly occupied by the "A curious feeling" despite potentially worse vocals.

What has happened since 1979 until 1995? Tony sharpened his intelligent pop crafting abilities and his progressive rock signature evolved more on the Genesis albums then in his solo path, on which he rested on his laurels or and limited himself to non-distruptive keyboards in the background.

Strictly Inc incorporates many similarities with the 1991's Still: clever pop melodies and rock/synth arrangements, variety of quality vocal guests (even Fish) and an epic majestic composition: "An island in the darkness". Tbe first two tracks are quite memorable, "Walls of sound" with a Genesis feeling. "The serpent said" has a dramatic underfeel and could be suited for Peter Gabriel. Subtle synth accompaniment and longer instrumental section have their charm. "never let me know" belongs to the best melancholic numbers on that album.

"Charity balls" is based around a semi-prog motive.

The last and epic composition "The island in the darkness" is generally overrated here on Progarchives, although it is a nice return to 1979's "A curious feeling". Instrumental sections on Yamaha-CP80 are great but do not bring anything new and the same goes for the vocal parts of the composition. Keyboard runs in the middle of the song are long awaited; however i have expected more based on the rave reviews on Progarchives and considering its lenght.

Summa summarum, a pleasant pop album with hints of progressive rock and an epic composiion that will appeal to all modern Banks and Genesis fans.

 Still by BANKS, TONY album cover Studio Album, 1991
3.13 | 106 ratings

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Still
Tony Banks Crossover Prog

Review by sgtpepper

3 stars Together with Strictly Inc, these two albums represent peak in Banks' clever pop output, their commercial flop can be attributed to lack of promotion and no touring, since most of the songs have a commercial potential. Still, Still offers solid musicianship and is actually at least a 4-star pop album with some remote echoes of progressive arrangements as heard in longer songs.

The first song is perhaps the most known from the album and could be heard in European radios for a short time. Upbeat tracks are alternated by reflective and melancholic songs. Banks is at his most confident songwriting in his solo career; that could explain the album cover with himself depicted on a chair. Synth arrangements are competent and you won't find typical (prog) rock soloing; it is about providing a supporting layer.

The result is a memorable and catchy album that should have performed better in the charts considering the Genesis comeback in 1991.

However, little to be found for proggers and therefore 3 stars only.

 A Curious Feeling by BANKS, TONY album cover Studio Album, 1979
3.42 | 222 ratings

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A Curious Feeling
Tony Banks Crossover Prog

Review by sgtpepper

4 stars The first album is also the best one that TB has released in his pop/rock solo career if I don't count his orchestral albums. The album has 3 5-star tracks, all instrumental and the rest is oscillating between 3-4 stars. The instrumentals are dreamy, multilayered ingeniously crafted pieces that only Tony Banks could have created; they are fully firmly rooted in the Tony Banks realm with the sound and variety of keyboards. "From the undertow" is a very promising ouverture that was originally thought for "And then there were three" but rejected by Genesis. Suits well to "Undertow" on that album.

"Forever morning" is my most popular song by Tony, an incredible suite filled with synths, mellotron, electric piano and crafted composition with dynamism. It is the most symphonic track here with a lot of majesty and plenty of Yamaha CP- 80. "The waters of lethe" is the third major track, also instrumental, where Hackettesque guitar brings the atmosphere closer to Genesis. For all three instrumental tracks, drums are missing and that is good - the focus is on symphonic keyboards.

The sung track always have a memorable melody, passionate voice, although worse than Collin's one. Arrangements are OK, not very progressive but Banks makes sure that keyboards are represented each second and sometimes shows a nice instrumental part, for example in the upbeat "After the lie". This is also the most romantic solo album that Tony Banks recorded.

Very much recommended, and only one recommended for all classic Genesis fans.

 Seven - A Suite For Orchestra by BANKS, TONY album cover Studio Album, 2004
2.80 | 77 ratings

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Seven - A Suite For Orchestra
Tony Banks Crossover Prog

Review by FalconBleck

4 stars #28 Review

Original Review was made on 12/3/2018 Decided to update it today 5/5/2021 while making a YT playlist with Tony's orchestral music, and in all this time my perspective on this album has changed.

1.- Spring Tide 9/10 (Update) This song has a demo on the "A Chord Too Far" compilation and now i love it, it brings so much calm to me, there are subtleties in the orchestral version that sound quieter or even removed from the original, while the orchestral has some stuff of its own, i think that with both you can make a better version, but for now, the better version for me is this demo. Also, somehow the orchestral is almost a minute longer while also being a faster in many parts, i think that this speed changes contributed more to me liking the demo version. In my original review (wich was pretty bad to be honest) i said "...i'd have liked it more if the piano took more over the orchestra." and that was actually the case, atleast something i said was right.

2.- Black Down 6/10 In my original review i said that this reminded me of a dark forest, and that this track doesn't move me much... that hasn't changed much, with Tony songs i usually expect many things, one of those is radical changes in chords, and it takes almost half the song to get there, in many compositions waiting is key, and i feel like waiting here, yet the peak of the song doesn't speak to me.

3.- The Gateway 7/10 Some quotes i did in my original review: - "At half, the piece gets more exciting, as if the gates opened" - "a really beautyful piece that takes time to peak" And i have to add, what makes this pretty are the beautyful chords, clearly made for an orchestra to tell the story, and i love it. At times it reminds me of dances and in others at certain movies that present this beautyful sight. Tony said in an interview that he is more comfortable writing dark sounding landscapes, and i think that here, he wanted to escape from that.

4.- The Ram 8/10 And thus Tony said "I want you to wake up and walk" and thus he composed this track. Going back to that darkness, for Tony an easy task it is. This track and the first one are the ones that remind me the most about his rock outputs, and i think that the orchestra had a good time with this one more so than the other tracks, it oozes with energy, but you gotta have a team that does both well.

In my original review i said "the only problem with this piece is that it gets calm for too long", and i still agree, the hook at the beginning repeats, but i expected more of it and more from it instead of going back to a slower pace. The ending of this track though, beautyful, Tony really knows how to make a beautyul ending when he wants.

5.- Earthlight 7/10 In my original review i used the word "Dynamics" to describe that the chord changes were faster than the first 3 tracks, that might be incorrect but i still feel the need to say that this track, being the shortest one barely has waiting moments and i really liked that and still do, the appearing chords are glorious and reminded me of my favourite soundtracks. "It gets the job done in a shorter time, it could be more interesting though." What i meant by that was that this song could've done more by being longer, because the idea was that solid. I think that the idea is ok at the lenght it is, but i still wanted to feel those chords once more.

6.- Neap Tide 5/10 In the contrary to Spring Tide, i think that this track's demo is worse than the final result because i think that this track was well translated to orchestra, but also this track is simpler, so the demo is simpler and hence worse. The main motif of this track doesn't interest me that much, and it repeats too much through out the piece, in my original review i said " this theme would've been better if added to another piece in the album, or shortened, or by removing the repeating part in the background" and that's still true, i have listened to this track a lot more than when i did the original review and it still doesn't move me.

7.- The Spirit of Gravity 8/10 Now this is a Tony Banks track, with many changes, sections, tecniques and weird chords, at almost 12 minutes is a complete ride, in my original review i said "this theme changes quite a lot, but i feel like the orchestra is not doing justice for more of the parts, this theme sounds more like an experimentation on doing an orchestra with a grain of classic Tony Banks on it", and i still wonder how the demo of this was, or how it would be with a different orchestra, but either way, this track doesn't get boring, one section probably won't move you but the next surely will, hopefully not to get off your sit but instead to admire and even when you are doing that, the song will probably change and make you wonder "Where to next?".

I thought that more things would change after almost 3 years, but the score and thoughts mostly remained unchanged, the final score however ended up being higher along with my enjoyment of this album, the final score is 71/100, and that definitely says to me that this is a 4 star album, i absolutely recommend the first, last and "the ram" tracks, a good time in all of those.

Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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