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Genesis - Duke CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.50 | 1495 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars |C+| So much music coming from just three guys. Sound familiar?

Indeed, the Genesis album Duke is recognized by most in both the prog and pop communities as a very worthwhile album, and it isn't too often that the two groups agree on anything when it comes to music. The reason for this is obvious: the band maintains relative musical integrity while still making the music accessible with catchy melodies and more repetition. So there you go, a happy intermediate between pop and prog, though a bit more on the pop side with this album.

I came across this album after discovering my parents' old vinyls in a box which hadn't been open for years. The only post-Hackett Genesis I'd heard before this was their self titled album, which I still consider pop rubbish. So naturally I expected the same with this album. When I first played it, I dismissed it as such after only half listening to it, then the last two tracks played, which caught my attention. Duke's Travels and Duke's End sound a lot like the band's proggier stuff, which I was pretty happy about. Since then I've played it on the turn-table about once a week or so, and each listen I'd pick up more things I hadn't noticed before, and now it's to the point that I can say I really enjoy this album, though I still don't give it the merit of many of the band's prior albums.

The main thing that impresses me about this album is Banks' diverse keyboard work throughout the album. I think of his parts playing a similar role in the music to Lifeson's guitar work (hence my introductory sentence) in that it not only fills up the middle space between the bass and vocals, but plays a key role in driving the music overall with the chord progressions and melodies. He does more with his keyboard on this album than most other hailed prog keyboardists on their masterpiece works. And of course let's not forget Collins' reputable drumming and competent vocals, and Ruthorford's bass, twelve string work, and backing vocals. So there should be no argument about the demonstration of diverse musicianship, something I certainly wasn't expecting from post-Hackett Genesis.

The main reason why I enjoy this album, however, is the emotional aspect of the album. Many of the experiences our character Duke faces are something most of us can really relate to on an emotional level, and this emotion is portrayed in the music very well. It's one of those albums you could easily sing to and enjoy even though you know it's not the old Gabriel-era Genesis we all love. This relatibility is probably why the pop listeners enjoy this even more than most proggers. Duke is a character we all know, because his adventures are similar to our adventures, in a sense. Quite frankly, of course a concept album about personal relationships isn't going to be full blown prog!

And this album does vier between pop and prog, coming real close to being completely one or the other for some tracks. The tracks Duchess, Misunderstanding, Turn It On Again and Alone Tonight come closer to the pop side, while the last two tracks, Man of Our Times and most of the instrumental sections come slightly closer to the prog side. But overall, it is somewhere between the two concepts, thus this album could probably be best labeled as predominantly prog-related.

Duke is certainly one of the better threes I'll give. I mainly suggest a purchase to those who are already fans of the band and don't mind Collins' voice and fans of prog-related music who like the pop-prog combination, but really this is a good buy for anyone who likes prog rock or pop music. I wouldn't be surprised if this is indeed the best of the post-Hackett albums.

Isa | 3/5 |


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