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Banks; Tony: A Curious Feeling

Having shelved thoughts of a solo record when Genesis decided to continue post-Peter Gabriel, and then subsequently using all the material he'd written round that time on the albums of his main band, Genesis keyboard player Tony Banks set about creating his debut solo effort from scratch. A Curious Feeling, released in 1979, being the results. Enlisting the vocal talents of Kim Beacon (also of String Driven Thing) and the supreme drumming of live Genesis percussionist Chester Thompson, Banks decided he wanted to handle the rest of the instrumentation on his own. Ensuring it was his personality which shone brightest on this solo outing.

History has often been unkind to Banks' work outside of his main band and yet with parallels to be drawn to the Genesis albums that he had a lead role in creating around the time and, rather oddly, fellow Genesis man Mike Rutherford's solo outing, Smallcreep's Day, the chance to reappraise A Curious Feeling through a shiny two disc stereo and 5.1 remix, reveals an album of real depth. Yes, much of the broad strokes Banks brought to late 70s, early 80s Genesis are in place and yes, some of the structures do feel a little too familiar. Although there's also enough of this album which stands off to the side of what you might expect to keep you thoroughly engaged. Good though Beacon is (and he is very good), personally I've always found the instrumental selections on this album to be the most interesting, "From The Undertow" a pensive and unsettling beginning, while the anthemic "Forever Morning" seems to somehow marry the expected Banksisms to a grander, more regal Vangelis like touch; the mix of brash and subtle a real joy. While "The Waters Of Lethe" uses a similar approach through a slow, patient build that offers a serious payoff in both its crescendo and the melancholy which follows.

The album itself is a concept piece beginning life based on the short story Flowers For Algernon by Daniel Keyes, but thanks to an ultimately doomed musical of the story being produced at the same time, evolved into a tale of a man losing his mental capabilities, while being fully aware it was happening. Beacon takes on the story well, and while he may not offer the dynamic attack Phil Collins (or Peter Gabriel, of course) would to Banks' Genesis material, the passion behind the words serves the songs extremely well. The best examples being the heartfelt "For A While", strident "Somebody Else's Dream" or sprightly title track.

Both the stereo and 5.1 mix, as Banks puts it in the excellent, interesting liner notes, 'lift a blanket' off the sound on the original album, the bass pulsating, the drums suddenly full and rounded, while the bonus of a couple of "promotional films" on the DVD prove a fun watch. In fact my only slight niggle with this otherwise excellent reissue is that it doesn't come housed in the style of a small hardback book that the other Tony Banks, Esoteric Records reissue this month, The Fugitive (also reviewed on SoT) does (I do like to have that uniformity on my CD shelves….). This double disc effort a standard jewel case job with superfluous slip case.

It's been many years since I sat and listened to any of the Tony Banks solo albums from start to finish (although the excellent four disc solo overview, A Chord Too Far, from last year was an excellent (re)introduction). However through A Curious Feeling, rectifying that wrong has proved to be a genuinely interesting and rewarding experience.


Track Listing
DISC ONE
STEREO MIX BY NICK DAVIS & TONY BANKS
1. FROM THE UNDERTOW
2. LUCKY ME
3. THE LIE
4. AFTER THE LIE
5. A CURIOUS FEELING
6. FOREVER MORNING
7. YOU
8. SOMEBODY ELSE'S DREAM
9. THE WATERS OF LETHE
10. FOR A WHILE
11. IN THE DARK

DISC TWO


5.1 SURROUND SOUND & 96 KHZ / 24-BIT STEREO MIX BY NICK DAVIS & TONY BANKS
1. FROM THE UNDERTOW
2. LUCKY ME
3. THE LIE
4. AFTER THE LIE
5. A CURIOUS FEELING
6. FOREVER MORNING
7. YOU
8. SOMEBODY ELSE'S DREAM
9. THE WATERS OF LETHE
10. FOR A WHILE
11. IN THE DARK


PROMOTIONAL VIDEOS
FOR A WHILE
THE WATERS OF LETHE

Added: March 6th 2016
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Score:
Related Link: A Curious Feeling at Cherry Red
Hits: 1416
Language: english

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» Reader Comments:

Banks; Tony: A Curious Feeling
Posted by Antti Kärsämä on 2016-03-29 06:05:45
My Score:

A Curious Feeling WAS in fact reissued in a book form... 7 years ago, when it was originally released for the 30th anniversary of the album.




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