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Tony Banks: A Curious Feeling/The Fugitive

Banks raids solo back catalogue.

The solo career of keyboard king and current Prog God Tony Banks was documented recently and decently with the A Chord Too Far box set.

For those who wish to ‘go deep’ into his extra-Genesis catalogue, individual album reissues start now. A Curious Feeling (1979) emerges as a CD & 5.1 DVD set, while ’83’s The Fugitive comes in a new stereo mix, and each offers a booklet with notes by Banks himself. The contrast between the two matches that between the Genesis output of the eras. A Curious Feeling is a river of piano-led melodies, still tapping into the grandiose and melancholic. Recorded at Abba’s Polar Studios after the And Then There Were Three tour, it’s based on Daniel Keyes’ sci-fi novel Flowers For Algernon. Drummer Chester Thompson guests, and vocals are by the late Kim Beacon, once of String Driven Thing. Beacon has a Paul Carrack-like reliability, but, to be harsh, doesn’t quite catch the emotional edges of songs the way Phil Collins did at the time. For A While and the instrumental The Waters Of Lethe represent Banks at his most moving, and the opening piece From The Undertow was originally intended as an introductory passage to Genesis’ own Undertow. Overall, A Curious Feeling lacks some of the glorious feeling his bandmates brought to the fusion, but is, at the very least, pretty. The 80s are well under way by the time The Fugitive runs into view. Released four months prior to the self-titled Genesis album, it features quality players like Daryl Stuermer and Steve Gadd, but Banks’ decision to sing himself results in competence rather than triumph. The would-be-commercial soft rock and cod-reggae feel isn’t an unqualified victory either. Singles This Is Love and The Wheels Keep Turning are more Thotch than thrust. It’s the earlier album of this pair which greater rewards rehabilitation, with pathos and poise to be found among its restrained, cinematic ripples.