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Genesis - Duke CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.50 | 1494 ratings

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Prog Leviathan
Prog Reviewer
3 stars Not having a nostalgic connection to Genesis, I don't gag reflexively when I consider my thoughts on Duke, as many of the other prog fans do on this page. But I certainly understand where the reaction comes from. Reviewing albums by prog bands during the 1980's is usually like rolling up ones sleeves with the intent of polishing a turd out of the desire to find something good in groups we know are capable of producing gems. I get it - I feel the same way about most of Yes' and King Crimson's 1980's material.

At any rate, Genesis has never been a favorite of mine, so I'm coming to the review of Duke without the heartbreak associated with having one's favorite band "go mainstream." So what do we get with Duke? Well, the answer is something much less mainstream than detractors would have us believe. While the overall sound fits into the modern, synth-heavy style of the period, Genesis' performance here is actually quite good, ambitious, and energetic.

The album opens with walls of keyboards and big flashy hooks, fat bass riffing, and a thoughtful composition that has an eye for variety. "Duchess" gives way to a lush ballad, with still more walls of keyboards. Banks is definitely the star of this show throughout. Nestled between a few mediocre ballads are the single hits that helped make Duke reach #11 on the Billboard charts. Unsurprisingly, "Turn it On Again" and "Misunderstaning" feel very much like Phil Collins' solo output. Given his success as a solo artist, it's easy to see how these songs are what people remember most about Duke.

"Duke's Travel's" is probably the best song on the album in terms of song writing and instrumentals. It's dynamic, surprisingly bottom heavy, and filled with great solos by the group. It fits very snuggly into the classic prog feel while retaining that modern sound. Sure, Duke plays it safe on a few tunes that border on the sappy and simple, but these are in the minority.

All in all a solid release that holds up 30 years later as a great snap-shot of timeless emotions set against the sonic pallet of the '80's. Despite a few short comings, a good but not essential release.

Songwriting: 3 - Instrumental Performances: 4 - Lyrics/Vocals: 3 - Style/Emotion/Replay: 3

Prog Leviathan | 3/5 |


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