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Tony Banks - Still CD (album) cover


Tony Banks


Crossover Prog

3.13 | 108 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Moogtron III
Prog Reviewer
3 stars A well made melodious pop / rock album. Not much prog elements on it, so be warned.

As it comes to sound, this Tony Banks album is definitely an improvement on its predecessor, "Bankstatement". To start with, the production is much better. "Still" has a full, warm, organic sound in comparison to the somewhat mechanical sounding "Bankstatement".

Also positive is the return of Daryl Stuermer (who was also present on "The Fugitive"). Stuermer gives the album more of a rock feel. In fact, this is the album where Banks more than ever before uses rock. This does the sound of the album good, there's no doubt about it. Some of Banks earlier albums missed some sort of punch. This is the best sounding Tony Banks album up to date (which doesn't mean that it's his best album artistically). Banks has some top session musicians as well: Vinnie Colaiuta on drums and Pino Palladino on bass. The latter puts himself on the background, but is very important for the wonderful sound of the album. Colaiuta puts himself more on the foreground, and I'm glad that he did: he is a very skilled and emotional drummer.

So this is already a winning team. For the rest: Banks uses the same formula as on Bankstatement: using different singers on the album, and it has to be said: this is good for the variety within the songs and it helps Banks to develop more of his versatility as a song writer.

But how about the compositions? The album has some of the best songs ever made by Banks, and a few forgettable ones. As for the highlights on the album: Banks is best at making songs with heavy keyboard layers, somewhat slow songs with a dramatic vocal performance, completed by wailing guitars. In general, the songs sung by Fish (ex -lead singer of Marillion) are the best on the album. These are songs with tempo changes, great keyboard work, wonderful somewhat Clapton - like guitar lines by Stuermer, and Fish who offers a great vocal performance, with wonderful story telling lyrics. The Fish - songs also have some prog elements. Fish fans should check this out! "Angel Face" and especially "Another Murder Of A Day" (about a prostitute who is waiting for her next customer) are wonderful tracks, where Fish is really excelling.

Also good, in the same vein as the Fish songs, is "Still It Takes Me By Surprise", where Andy Taylor sings lead. He doesn't do as good a job as Fish, though. He doesn't seem to get his voice fully around Banks' song, and one sees his limitations as a singer. Banks should have used Fish for this song also. Still, this song and the two Fish songs that I mentioned, are real highlights of the album. They are very much compelling songs.

Nik Kershaw, an artist admired by Banks, is also present on the album. He sings the album opener "Red Day On Blue Street", which sounds like a hit single (and probably was meant as such), but Banks throws a lot of chord changes in the song, which makes it attractive after all. The sound of the song is also very powerful, and those who would gruel by the idea of Banks using saxophone on the album can relax: Banks does it very sparesome, but the song has some Miami Vice / Jan Hammer sensibilities, though more subtle. Banks is ever subtle on the album, even when the record has some commercial streaks.

Still, Nik Kershaw is not an emotional singer in any way. That is no problem for the song "Red Day On Blue Street", because the music itself is powerful and emotional, but it is for "I Wanna Change The Score", which is a bit of a filler. The closing song on the album, "The Final Curtain", also sung by Kershaw, is a great song, but here also one would have wished some more emotion in the vocals.

A song that also succeeds on the album is "Water Out Of Wine". Once again, not because of Jayney Klimek's vocals, but because of Banks' excellent composition.

There is, like on Bankstatement, one song that is sung by Banks. "Hero For An Hour" is nice and original, and even though Banks is not a very good singer, he has a characteristic voice, and once again Banks delivers a nice musical story.

No doubt Banks tried to make a commercial album with an artistic edge. Yes, commercial, I said the C - word. Too bad that Banks was trying to reach the masses, because he didn't succeed and with every next pop album he estranged his original audience from him. Still, however commercial sounding the album is, there's still a lot to enjoy on, lets say, seven songs of the album. The other three are not really convincing, close to being fillers.

This album is an improvement on Bankstatement, in sound, even in compositions, though Banks should have used more soulful vocalists. Fish is a very good singer, but Andy Taylor doesn't succeed in his vocal performance, and Jayney Klimek and Nik Kershaw are not very good vocalists, a bit too cold sounding for Banks' compositions. Still, the album can take you by surprise, especially on the songs sung by Fish.

Moogtron III | 3/5 |


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