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Genesis - Duke CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.50 | 1495 ratings

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3 stars A damn sight better than the stodgy pop-prog of 1978's first post-Hackett album '...And Then There Were Three', the first Genesis record of the 1980s also proves to be one of their strongest since their first post-Gabriel album, 1976's 'A Trick Of The Tail'. Conceived and created during a difficult period for the now trio-sized outfit, 'Duke' - and for that matter Genesis' entire post-1980 career(sorry for the multiple uses of the word post, I'll stop now) - only came about thanks to the painful demise of Phil Collins marriage. Really? Yes, really. Because of the drummer-cum-singer's personal strife the goup had decided to disband for a while in order to allow their frontman the time to sort his domestic life out, and for Collins that really did mean the end for Genesis if that's what it was going to take to save his ailing relationship. Sadly(but not for fans of eighties Genesis) the marriage failed, and back came Collins, armed with a notepad stuffed full of self-penned songs - many about his, yawn, break-up(get over it Phil, your a rock star for christ's sake) - and a new desire for international success. Back together with Tony Banks(keyboards) and Mike Rutherford(guitars), the new, slimlined group reconvened in Holland(?) to start sessions on a new album. Virtually a million miles from the sound found on such Genesis prog classics as 'Nursery Cryme' and 'Selling England By The Pound', 'Duke' finds the threesome parlaying slick, synthesized keyboards and snazzy new technology into a distinctly melodic pop-rock brew that was just perfect for the 1980s. Still a year-or-so away from his own smash-hit solo success, Collins would, for the first time, contribute much of the writing to 'Duke', and rather predictably, the album proved a big success. Penning, amongst others, the catchy-albeit-lightweight break-up ditty 'Misunderstanding', and thus affording the listener a brief glance into the balding vocalist's own soft-pop future, Collins poured much of the pain, anguish and emotion of his recent break-up into 'Duke', making for a peculiar mixture of emotional pop balladry, fast-paced electro-rock and, still lurking hazily in the background, a dash of modernistic keyboard prog for those fans still yearning for the good old days. Of course, many of Genesis' older fans would leave the story at this point, but they would be replaced tenfold by a younger, hipper and less demanding audience who lapped up everything the band had to offer over the next five years. 'Duke', an album stuffed with expensive studio trickery, essentially kick-started the lucrative second-life of Genesis, and despite its slightly cynical commercial conception, it's actually a rather good album. Highlights are frequent, and include the toe-tappingly good 'Turn It On Again', the rather beautiful keyboard-led 'Duchess', and last but by no means least, the epic techno-prog of the surprisingly complex 'Duke's Travels'. Yes, it's not the Genesis we once knew and loved, but come on folks, deal with it. As a certain singer-songwriter once said, the times, they are-a-changing. He wasn't wrong. STEFAN TURNER, STOKE NEWINGTON, 2014
stefro | 3/5 |


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