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Tony Banks - A Curious Feeling CD (album) cover

A CURIOUS FEELING

Tony Banks

 

Crossover Prog

3.42 | 216 ratings

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Psychedelic Paul
5 stars Keyboard player extraordinaire TONY BANKS (born 1950) is of course the longstanding Master of the Keys in the band Genesis. He's appeared on all fifteen Genesis studio albums, starting with "From Genesis to Revelation" in 1969, right through to the final Genesis album, "Calling All Stations" in 1997. After all, Tony Banks IS the sound of Genesis. He's been voted one of the greatest keyboard players of all time, and deservedly so. He got together with the other three founder members, Peter Gabriel, Mike Rutherford & Anthony Phillips, to form Genesis at Charterhouse School in 1967 when they were discovered by record producer Jonathan King, and the rest is Genesis history, which there's no need to elaborate on here. This album "A Curious Feeling" (1979) is the first of six Tony Banks solo albums. The album features male vocalist Kim Beacon and American drummer Chester Thompson. Later albums were "The Fugitive" (1983), "Still" (1991), "Seven: A Suite for Orchestra" (2004), "Six Pieces for Orchestra" (2012), and his most recent album, "Five" (2018). He also recorded an album under the punningly titled bandname, "Bankstatement" in 1989, as well as composing the music for "The Wicked Lady" (1983) movie, followed by the release of a collection of soundtrack pieces in 1986, titled "Soundtracks", appropriately enough. Tony Banks' albums feature a compelling mixture of Classical music and Progressive Rock. Introduction over, it's time now to give this particular album a spin. I have "A Curious Feeling" you're going to like it.

The album opens in grand symphonic style with "From the Undertow". It's a breathtakingly beautiful opening piece of instrumental music which promises we're in for a rather special treat with this album. This serves as a prelude to "Lucky Me", an exhilarating song with a joyful vibe, as these uplifting lyrics reveal:- "And I would rather be nobody else, I'm happy as I am, all I need is in my way, And you see no one expects too much from me." ..... It's a gleeful song full of boundless optimism. Song No. 3 "The Lie" is a buoyant and flamboyant toe-tapping number that romps along nicely in rousing fashion, which leads us into "After the Lie", where Tony Banks really shines like a beacon with his stunning keyboard virtuosity. This is lush, melodic and marvellous music! Onto Song No. 5 now and the title track "A Curious Feeling", a commercial-sounding song that has "hit record" written all over it. The song has a joyous and jubilant feel to it in the same way as "Follow You, Follow Me" by Genesis. To close Side One in superlative and uninhibited style comes the 6-minute long keyboard opus, "Forever Morning". Prepare to be lifted to a higher plane of musical existence with this touching, transporting and transcendental piece of magnificent music. This is spectacular!

Returning to Earth now with "You" to open Side Two. The singer Kim Beacon is in romantic balladeer mode here with this tender-hearted melancholic number. Wait a minute though! What's this!?? Tony Banks breaks out into a wild and uninhibited Rick Wakeman-inspired keyboard jamboree to close out the song. Wow! This song is amazing! You really have to hear this to believe it!! This is a glorious symphonic masterpiece, elevating this album instantly to five-star status. What more can I say!? I'm flabbergasted by the technical brilliance on display here!! In fact, my flabber has never been so gasted!!! Okay, that's enough exclamation marks for now. Onwards to Song No. 8 and "Somebody Else's Dream", the longest song on the album at nearly 8 minutes long. It's a sonorous and resonant, keyboard-heavy anthemic song with the awesome power of a runaway steamroller, so get ready to pump up the volume and rattle those windows for this stentorian piece of stirring music. To paraphrase James Bond, you'll be shaken AND stirred after listening to this powerful and passionate piece of music. Into melodic Genesis territory now as we settle into a somewhat mellower mood for "The Gardens of Lethe". What's it all about you may well ask and where on Earth is "Lethe"!? No idea, because it's an instrumental. To call this wonderful piece of music an "instrumental" though doesn't really do it justice, because it's a sublime symphonic masterpiece, which is just what we've come to expect from Genesis keyboard maestro Tony Banks. It's time now to take a break "For a While", because that's the name of our next song. It's a lovely romantic ballad featuring these charming and invigorating lyrics:- "It sure felt good for a while, Yes, it was good for a while, I found somebody to take my hand, To the promised land of the loved." ..... It's emotional, it's inspirational, and above all, it's beautiful! Sadly, we've now reached the end of this impassioned and very impressive album with "In the Dark". It's a sad song that really tugs at the heartstrings with these emotionally-wrought lyrics:- "If you know my story now, Please don't tell, Don't want to hear, It can only bring me pain, Maybe one day before I die, I'll open that door, Maybe I'll cry, But for now I'll live in the Dark." ..... It's enough to bring a tear to your eye, as we say goodbye, but try not to cry, because this album will leave you on an emotional and spiritual high.

A gloriously uplifting album which is choc-a-bloc full of sonorous symphonies and romantic ballads. It's an absolute must-have album, regardless of whether or not you're a Genesis fan, because dare I say it..... this album is as good as, if not better than anything Genesis have ever done. It's certainly better than the 1980's Phil Collins era of Genesis, that's for sure!

Psychedelic Paul | 5/5 |

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