Towards the end of the 1970s, the premiere progressive band Genesis was in a state of flux and looking towards a new direction. They had lost their lead singer a few albums previously, but had ably continued with drummer Phil Collins stepping to the mike. They lost their lead guitarist only recently and released an album aptly titled And Then There Were Three. This recording was a dark and moody piece, with very little of the English pastoral sound they had been famous for in the past. With all this change happening, members of the band began to make their first forays into solo recordings.
A Curious Feeling was the first solo recording from the current core of Genesis members. Peculiar, as Tony Banks was perhaps the man most responsible for the Genesis sound. His style just screams Genesis, you don’t even need to hear a voice and you know it’s him. Thus, this album comes off as a great Genesis album without any other members of Genesis and would have sounded great even with the talents of Rutherford and Collins contributing, though they did not. I don’t mean to slight the skilled talents of Genesis touring drummer Chester Thompson or the incredible voice of Kim Beacon, though. Both of these talented musicians superbly assist in the making of A Curious Feeling, but Banks is clearly the driving force here.
This is the first time we hear Banks playing with new sounds derived from the new keyboard equipment he would be using on the next Genesis album, Duke. I also feel this is the true transition from ATTW3 to Duke, as it still asserts some of the moodiness of the first and introduces some brighter sounds of the second.
The album is loosely based on Daniel Keyes novel “Flowers For Algernon,” which was made into a wonderful movie called “Charlie” starring Cliff Robertson. It has classic Genesis-style instrumentals and great songs beautifully sung by String Driven Thing’s Kim Beacon. The record features lovely melodies and intriguing lyrics.
Some of my favorite songs include “The Lie,” “You,” and “Somebody Else’s Dream.” But really most every cut here is worthy of recognition. I’m especially impressed that Banks uses this, his first solo recording, to feature some uncommon solo action on his keyboard playing. Both “The Lie” and “You” feature incredible keyboard solos. Interesting, because Banks had mostly played in chordal support to the songs previously, unlike his peers Wakeman and Emerson.
Every note on A Curious Feeling is rich and complex. If you truly want to see how and why there was such a dramatic change in the band Genesis sound between And The There Were Three and Duke, you would not need to look any further than this album. A true undiscovered gem in the Genesis discography. You must hear this if you are a fan of the various eras of the band.
Reviewed by Terry Jackson on January 8th, 2011