“Still Waiting” - Tony Banks’ new album reviewed by Ted Sayers.
Tony’s latest attempt at emulating the solo successes of Phil and Mike (sort of solo anyway) is Still, a ten track album using five different vocalists - the most he has used to date. His need for solo commercial acceptability is becoming almost desperate. The use of so many vocalists of many varying styles is surely a clutching at straws attack on commerciality.
Still has recently had a timely promotion by Phil’s (correct) comment that if people realised how much Tony’s input into Genesis was, then they would surely give his solo material more of a listen. Most of us have always felt that Tony was Genesis - even during Peter’s time with the band, Tony was essential.
Bearing this in mind, Tony appears to have consciously put together an album which tries to cross an old Genesis album with outright commerciality. At least that is how it is being promoted. For me, the Genesis taste is no stronger than any of his other albums. This is always going to be noticeable given Tony’s importance within the group. The attempt at commerciality is undeniable but no more so than in the Bankstatement excursion.
Musically, Daryl’s contribution on guitar is one of the highlights. The vocalists feel wrong, sadly, no more so than Janey Klimek who also contributed to the Bankstatement LP where I also felt she was weak. Andy Taylor of The Jazz Devils falls into the same category. Neither have particularly interesting voices and most certainly suit the album’s style.
Having said that, the weakest track is undoubtedly, Hero For An Hour. This is the track Tony sings on. It is poorly sung and lyrically dire. Tony’s inisistence on singing at least one track per album is becoming consistent if nothing else.
The album’s remaining two singers are the most obvious: Fish and most surprising: Nik Kershaw, both share some song writing credits, which is once again a sign of Tony’s deperation for acceptance. In the case of Kershaw, it deserves to work. The three songs that he worked on are by far the album’s best. The recent single: I Wanna Change The Score was a hit in all but reality. It received phenomenal airplay but did very little chart-wise.
Neither Red Day On Blue Street or The Final Curtain sound even vaguely like Genesis which for me is good news - that is not the path that he needs to take, it has already been done. The former is a clever attack on politicians and the latter a beautifully sad song concerning the end of acceptance (ironic really).
Fish’s contribution is entirely predicatble though I may be the wrong person to pass judgement. His work leaves me cold but anyone who enjoys his style probably won’t be disappointed. The nine minute track: Another Murder of A Day is an out-and-out attempt to recreate Genesis but it doesn’t work and in the end would struggle to come near the weakest Genesis song - maybe we could have a poll for that?
Sadly, this album has gone no further than Bankstatement unless you include the use of more vocalists. Only the Nik Kershaw collaborations show any light at the end of the commercial tunnel.