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Tony Banks - A Curious Feeling CD (album) cover


Tony Banks


Crossover Prog

3.42 | 216 ratings

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4 stars After GENESIS had released And Then There Were Three (1978), Collins needed a break due to his marital problems and both Rutherford and Banks made their first solo albums (Collins' debut Face Value was to come out in '81). All of these solo debuts are also their best solo albums, I think. Especially A Curious Feeling, into which Banks put his heart at least as much - and probably more - as into anything he had made for Genesis. Even though he uses only a vocalist (thank God...) and a drummer and handles keyboards, guitars, basses and some percussion himself, the sound is great, far from being a thin keyboardist-goes-solo failure. It is not very far from Duke that appeared the next year. Think of Heat Haze for example. I do think Duke is a pretty nice Genesis album even with the increasing Collins-goes-pop side of it, but still this Banks album is better. It is more even and coherent, ALMOST to the point of sounding a bit the same all the way, but not quite. He made a wise decision to write a very coherent and balanced album instead of laying all of his possible tricks on the table, as a keyboardist.

I don't know the singer Kim Beacon from other occasions, but he fits perfectly to this music. Coincidentally, I hear both Paul Garrack (Mike + The Mechanics) and Phil Collins in his voice! The drummer is naturally Chester Thompson who had already played in Genesis concerts.

The CD release from 2009 has long liner notes from Banks and is full of interesting information. He originally wished to make a concept album after the Daniel Keyes novel Flowers For Algernon (about a retard and his brief time of becoming clever with a brain operation - a wonderful book, by the way!) but the author informed him that a musical was being produced and so the timing perhaps wouldn't be good. "I went back to the drawing board and reworked the story so the album came to be about a man who was gradually losing his mind but was aware of what was happening to him." Most of the material had been written in a fertile creative period and ideas seemed to be coming easily.

The tracks (with three instrumentals included) vary from regular songs with mostly a thoughtful mid-tempo, to longer (6-8 minute) songs that have more instrumental passages. Some of the tight keyboard solos are among the best he'd ever done. There's no weak track really; the only one I don't care much is the title song, which is more up-beat and light than the rest of the album.

It's a pity he never made another even half as strong solo album. Banks himself seems to know it too. "A Curious Feeling will always have a special place in my heart". If you like Genesis albums of that time, you'll most likely enjoy this album a lot.

Matti | 4/5 |


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