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Tony Banks - The Fugitive CD (album) cover

THE FUGITIVE

Tony Banks

 

Crossover Prog

2.41 | 113 ratings

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Moogtron III
Prog Reviewer
3 stars First the prog fan information leaflet:

WARNING: this record may cause heavy disappointment and confusion among devoted prog / Genesis fans. Even disgust and tendency to vomit belong to the possible side - effects.

This is not a very popular prog album amongst prog fans, and now I'm being very, very careful.

Okay, you might even hate this record for the following reasons:

1. At the moment that I write this, Tony Banks has been appointed to crossover prog. But the thing is: he doesn't cross over to prog. The chicken crossed the road, but Banks doesn't want to cross over, and certainly not towards prog.

2. Honestly, the album sounds more like... new wave! There, I said it. I hear some of you even mutter: pop!

3. Whereas on A Curious Feeling mr. Chester Thompson was drumming, he has now been replaced by... mechanical drums and a drum computer! And the latter sounds like it also.

4. There are no epics on the album, or even attempts to epics.

5. Most of the songs follow mainly the simple song structure: A B A B C A B . Okay, with an extra twist, but still...

6. Did someone say Abacab? Oh, me in point 5? Well, the album sounds a bit like Abacab, though Abacab is much more diverse than The Fugitive.

7. Tony sings on the album himself. He's not the best of singers.

8. The lyrics are not about myths and fantasy stories. Actually, they're pretty straightforward.

9. The lyrics have an atmosphere of doom and gloom.

10. The synths are not as warm sounding as on A Curious Feeling, but they sound mechanical instead.

Right, for many proggers this is "10 things I hate about The Fugitive". Nevertheless, readers of this review who are paying attention see that I reward this album with 3 stars. Do I not know about the rating system? Don't I agree with the 10 points that have been written by myself? Yes, I do. Well, then...

This is all true, and yes, I would have liked to have heard another album in the style of A Curious Feeling. Yes, maybe I would have liked any kind of real prog album by Tony Banks, who wrote and co-wrote so many Genesis masterpieces in the 1970's.

But still...

There's another side to it. Okay, the album is not prog, and almost mechanical sounding, and all the things that I mentioned. But Tony Banks never promised us a prog garden. He had the right to make an album that he wanted to make. And Tony Banks had become an admirer of the new wave style.

So now, we have seen what we missed in the album, what there is not. But what IS there in the album,as it comes to quality?

First of all... songs. Yes, songs. You'd almost forget that a prog spearhead like Tony Banks was actually a good writer of (almost) traditional songs, with a head and a tale, and a middle part. They are there on The Fugitive. Not prog songs, but songs anyway, and they are good, in their own right, in their own style! No bad songs on the album. All quality songs. With attention to detail.

Further on: Thirty Three's (his age at the time) is a good instrumental, with some lovely Banksian chords.

Even further... the album has atmosphere, even warmth, even though the synths, the drum computers and Tony's voice are cold in itself and the lyrics pessimistic. Yes, in a strange way, there is a romantic feeling on the album. Daryl Stuermer, though he plays a modest role, adds some nice riffs.

And... Tony is not a good singer in the traditional sense of the word, but he is characteristic singer. His vocals do work out quite well.

And the record is melodious. Yes, it is! Somehow this album works nicely after all. I have listened to it many times.

Tony was disappointed that the album wasn't being received enthusiastically. Many Genesis fans were disappointed with the album. Still, it has to be said, even when the album is not prog or even crossover prog, it is a well written, melodious, new wave / pop / rock record. Songs and lyrics: all laboured with love, and with vision, though not a prog vision.

Be warned, because many prog / Genesis fans really don't like the album, but there are fans of the album. Like me. If you doubt the album, check the other reviews well. But I would certainly recommend the album to prog listeners who like new wave and melodious pop.

Moogtron III | 3/5 |

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