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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)

3.43 | 231 ratings
A Curious Feeling
1979
2.44 | 125 ratings
The Fugitive
1983
3.25 | 53 ratings
The Wicked Lady (OST)
1983
2.78 | 92 ratings
Bankstatement
1989
3.15 | 111 ratings
Still
1991
3.49 | 81 ratings
Strictly Inc.
1995
2.80 | 79 ratings
Seven - A Suite for Orchestra
2004
3.86 | 96 ratings
Six - Pieces for Orchestra
2012
3.95 | 160 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)

2.83 | 66 ratings
Soundtracks
1986
4.64 | 13 ratings
A Chord Too Far
2015
4.00 | 6 ratings
Banks Vaults - The Albums 1979-1995
2019

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

3.21 | 9 ratings
For a While / A Curious Feeling
1979
4.38 | 8 ratings
For a While / From the Undertow
1979
2.96 | 7 ratings
And the Wheels Keep Turning
1983
3.07 | 9 ratings
This is Love
1983
3.40 | 5 ratings
The Wicked Lady
1983
3.50 | 4 ratings
Performing Songs from Lorca and the Outlaws
1985
2.88 | 7 ratings
Shortcut to Somewhere
1986
3.00 | 6 ratings
The Gift
1991
3.00 | 6 ratings
I Wanna Change the Score
1991
3.71 | 7 ratings
Still It Takes Me By Surprise
1992

TONY BANKS Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Soundtracks by BANKS, TONY album cover Boxset/Compilation, 1986
2.83 | 66 ratings

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Soundtracks
Tony Banks Crossover Prog

Review by Mirakaze
Collaborator Eclectic Prog Team

3 stars As the title would suggest, this is a compilation of incidental music that Tony Banks made for two 80s movies: Quicksilver and Lorca & The Outlaws (also known as Starship). I didn't know anything about the former going into this, and if the Red Letter Media crew is to be believed, the latter is apparently pretty terrible, but I didn't want to make hasty judgments about the music, especially coming off the relative success of Tony Banks's soundtrack to The Wicked Lady. The good news compared to that score is that this collection doesn't have any pointless, cheesy orchestral filler, but the bad news is that it also doesn't have anything nearly as striking or memorable as the songs from The Wicked Lady. The main theme of Quicksilver, the Fish-sung "Short Cut To Somewhere", an optimistic and spirited synthpop number, probably comes the closest and is pretty good by the standards of mid-80s Banks pop songs; its production is a bit too generic 80s power-poppy for my taste but neo-prog fans will probably appreciate this. The same praise cannot be uttered for the pop songs on the Starship OST which are just rather dull and mediocre: "You Call This Victory" is a toothless arena rocker with an ugly vocal performance and "Lion Of Symmetry" overstays its welcome by at least half its running time.

As far as the actual scores are concerned, it's all perfectly serviceable and listenable but aside from "Lorca" and the electronic "Smilin' Jack Casey" none of it is all that outstanding. By no means is this an essential item in Mr. Banks's catalog and only big fans of his compositions will find something of value here.

 Bankstatement by BANKS, TONY album cover Studio Album, 1989
2.78 | 92 ratings

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Bankstatement
Tony Banks Crossover Prog

Review by VianaProghead
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Review N 485

The musical career of Tony Banks is very extensive and is divided on two distinct facets, the career inside Genesis and his solo musical career. Inside Genesis, his role was fundamental on the group's sound and he always was one of the main composers of the band. His elaborated keyboard style is perfectly evidenced in songs like "Firth Of Fifth", "The Cinema Show", "Watcher Of The Skies" and "Supper's Ready", just only to mention some of them. Definitely, his work in the band helped to establish the final and unique sound of Genesis. Those works explain why he is considered as one of the best and most respected keyboardists and the owner of an unmistakable sound in the progressive rock. Banks' distinct keyboard style is very different from many of his contemporary keyboard players, always keeping a low profile, in opposition to the most extravagant styles like we can see, for instance, in the cases of Rick Wakeman and especially in the case of Keith Emerson. That style earned him to be considered the quiet driving force behind Genesis.

Unfortunately, unlike the other band members of Genesis, his solo musical career, beyond can be considered relatively short, never was considered really bright. Sincerely, I could never understand the why, and it always let me puzzled and disappointed. Apart from being responsible for some of the best and my favourite songs from Genesis, he always was my favourite member of Genesis along with Steve Hackett. Sincerelly, I don't know yet all his solo musical works. However, of the four works I know, until now, "A Curious Feeling", "The Fugitive", "Bankstatement" and "Still", the first is, in my humble opinion and without any doubt, the best and the only that we can consider truly a progressive album.

"Bankstatement" is his fourth solo studio album and was released in 1989. Technically, it's a group's project with little more than an only a name. In reality, this is a solo project of Tony Banks, issued under a band's name. The other band's members were the singers Alistair Gordon and Jayney Klimek, predominantly on lead vocals. The latter of which, also appeared in Bank's next and fifth solo studio album "Still", released in 1992. It seems that Banks had the idea of creating a band named Bankstatement, after he knows the success that Mike Rutherford was having with the debut eponymous studio album of his Mike And The Mechanics musical project, an album which was released in 1985.

Again, Banks wrote all the tracks and invited several musicians to participate on the album. So, the line up on "Bankstatement" is Tony Banks (vocals, keyboards, bass synthesizer and synthesizer lead guitar), Alistair Gordon (lead vocals and backing vocals), Jayney Klimek (lead vocals and backing vocals), Geoff Dugmore (drums), Pino Palladino (bass guitar), Dick Nolan (bass guitar), Steve Hillage (guitar), John Wilson (additional vocals), Martin Ditcham (tambourine and congas), Martin Robison (saxophones) and The Phantom Horns (brass).

Once more and as happened on his "A Curious Feeling" and "The Fugitive", the album has also eleven tracks. As a conceptual album, I'm not going to review the album track by track, as usual, but only a global review. "Bankstatement" is an album completely different from "A Curious Feeling" and "The Fugitive". "A Curious Feeling" is essentially a symphonic progressive album and "The Fugitive" is, for me, a little bit difficult to classify. It's something between a crossover album and a pop album. "The Fugitive" is, in a certain way, a kind of a nave album where Banks thought he could dispense some professionalism, like dispense a real vocalist and do himself those functions. "Bankstatement" is a more professional album than "The Fugitive". It's a more painstaking album with two really good vocalists and it has also a handful of good professional performers. Certainly, it's not Banks at his best but it has some tasteful moments. As happened with "The Fugitive", I like this album too, but I think it isn't better than "The Fugitive". After first listenings it seems to be a bit flat and boring. But, I think these are the main problems of almost the albums made by the classic prog bands of the 70's, in the 80's. It has some inconsistency but if you're a fan of 80's Genesis, maybe you can like it.

Conclusion: My overall impression about this album is mixed. There are some highlights on it, there are some good songs but there are also some mediocre songs too. Banks to often rely on repetitive musical structures and does lyrics to do the trick. The sound is still firmly rooted in the 80's, though the drum sounds reveal that it has been recorded near the end of that decade. By the other hand, the musicians on "Bankstatement" didn't become a truly full band. The proof is that on his next solo work "Still", it appeared under Tony's own name again, though the concept of "Still" isn't so different from "Bankstatement". Finally, what lacks to this album is some variety and catchy tunes, especially for being a non progressive album. After all I said before, I still think that "Bankstatement" can be considered a good album, but on the contrary with Rutherford's "The Mechanics" project, Bankstatement never reached the successful career of his colleague and friend. So, unlike the opinions of most of my colleagues on Progarchives, I don't think "Bankstatement" is a better album than "The Fugitive" is. So, I think that "Bankstatement" deserves to be rated with the same 3 stars.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

 The Fugitive by BANKS, TONY album cover Studio Album, 1983
2.44 | 125 ratings

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The Fugitive
Tony Banks Crossover Prog

Review by VianaProghead
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Review N 449

Tony Banks is a British composer, pianist and keyboardist which became most known in the world of progressive rock music, especially because he was one of the founding members of Genesis, with Peter Gabriel and Mike Rutherford. Along with Rutherford he was the only band's member that stayed in the group throughout their entire musical history.

Banks was trained in the classical piano, and what many of we don't know, is that he was also a self-taught person in terms of learning to play guitar. So, we can even say that it's also a guitarist. Having studied at Charterhouse School in the 60's he met Gabriel. Along with Chris Stewart both formed a band named The Garden Wall, which was merged with a band called Anon which included Rutherford and Anthony Phillips. The final result of that was a group called Genesis.

Like happened on their debut album "A Curious Feeling" on "The Fugitive", Banks also wrote all the tracks and invited several musicians to participate on it. So, the line up on "The Fugitive" is Tony Banks (vocals, keyboards, sinth bass and Linn LM-1 drums), Daryl Stuermer (guitars), Mo Foster (bass guitar), Tony Beard (drums and percussion), Steve Gadd (drums and percussion) and Andy Duncan (drums). Shortly, we can resume the main differences from his debut album to three. First, he doesn't invite a vocalist to sing on the album, as happened with his previous work, and so, this is his first and only full length album where Banks sings all the songs. Second, he decided doesn't play guitar on the album and for that job he invited Daryl Stuermer, an American musician that he knew very well, because he played guitar and bass for Genesis during the live shows of the group. Finally, he invited three drummers instead Chester Thompson, the American drummer who usually played drums during the live shows of Genesis, replacing Phil Collins when he sungs on their live performances. Curiously, he also decided to use the mechanical drummings on the album.

So, "The Fugitive" is his second solo studio album and was released in 1983. As happened with his debut solo studio album "A Curious Feeling", the album has also eleven tracks. As I usually do in many cases, I initially thought to review this album track by track. Still, my final decision was not do so. Instead of that, I decided to make a global review of it.

So and in the first place, is important to say that, "The Fugitive" has nothing to do with his previous debut studio album "A Curious Feeling". His debut is, in my humble opinion, essentially a symphonic progressive rock album, almost on the same vein of a Genesis' classic album, while "The Fugitive" isn't a progressive album, and has nothing to do with the music of Genesis, until that moment. In the second place, "A Curious Feeling" is a conceptual album and the songs are based on a story of a book where all the songs are somehow linked together, while on "The Fugitive" we have a set of songs unconnected with nothing to do with each other and where the lyrics aren't about stories, myths and legends. In the third place, Banks composed the songs on "The Fugitive" to his voice and, as we all know, and despite he has a very nice voice, he was never a real true vocalist, indeed. In the fourth place "The Fugitive" isn't an album easily identifiable as a keyboardist album because there aren't really on the album any great keyboard solos and the sound of the synthesizers sound rather mechanical. In the fifth place, Banks became very disappointed with the poor reception of "A Curious Feeling". Comparing the reception of his album with both albums of his colleagues of Genesis, his album not reached the success that Rutherford and Collins reached with "Smallcreep's Day" and "Face Value" released in 1980 and 1981 respectively. Finally, the last but not the least, fashioned with the new wave musical style, Banks decided to make an album lighter and essentially with many pop characteristics. So, due to all I said before, "The Fugitive" is a very strange album. He decided to move further away from his Genesis' progressive roots and the band's melodic pop period too. So, as a whole, "The Fugitive" has a rather and pleasant catchy sound, but without any kind of prog visions.

Conclusion: "The Fugitive" marks, in my humble opinion, the first time that Banks clearly found his own very unique musical style, as a solo artist. Despite some fairly sophisticated songs, the album provides a much stronger pop feeling than demonstrated on their previous solo debut studio album "A Curious Feeling". "The Fugitive" dramatically sets Banks' solo work apart from his work with Genesis, and in many aspects, it's a light years away of his previous solo studio album. It's unquestionably not for everyone. It represents also, possibly, the end of hope that Banks, as a solo artist, followed the same progressive path followed by Hackett. Both always were my favourite Genesis' members. However and despite everything I said before, I like "The Fugitive". This is, in my humble opinion, a good album, and I sincerely think that Banks made a very honest and interesting musical effort to create this album. I know very well that "The Fugitive" isn't a progressive album, but, for me, it's a very well balanced album with a good handful of songs. I also know that most of you don't like particularly of this album and became very disappointed when you listen to it for the first time. However, this is my point of view. I sincerely think that "The Fugitive" deserves to be rated with 3 stars.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

 Still by BANKS, TONY album cover Studio Album, 1991
3.15 | 111 ratings

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Still
Tony Banks Crossover Prog

Review by VianaProghead
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Review N 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
3.15 | 111 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
3.95 | 160 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
3.43 | 231 ratings

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A Curious Feeling
Tony Banks Crossover Prog

Review by VianaProghead
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Review N 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
3.43 | 231 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 | 79 ratings

BUY
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
3.49 | 81 ratings

BUY
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.

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

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