Review Summary: The last prog hurrah by Genesis features an excellent array of progressive tracks such as Duke's Travels, Cul-De-Sac, and Heathaze.1 of 1 thought this review was well written
It's 1980, progressive rock as we knew it in the 70s has all but died. It's been a long three years since we last saw Steve Hackett as a member of Genesis, and an even longer five years since Peter Gabriel was in the band. New Wave music is beginning to take over the music industry and we are seeing a strong shift towards pop music in our once beloved progressive rock groups. Genesis would be one of the first to begin this strong movement, shredding their last bit of progressive rock credibility in 1980.
: Vocals, drums
: Keyboards, synth, 12-string guitar, background vocals
: Bass, lead guitar, background vocals
Clearly Genesis has continued slightly further along their pop trail, Phil Collins has just gone through a divorce, and understandably wants to write more personal songs. Although he gets most of the blame for "ruining" Genesis, Tony Banks was still the chief songwriter in the band. Although most diehard fans dismiss this album as pop garbage, it still contains an array of very strong tracks.
Kicking things off is Behind The Lines
, a relatively pop-influenced song bar the first minute or so. I was never a big fan of this song due to the upbeat intro with some nice multi-layered keyboards that really got me going, and then I felt suddenly let down when the first verse came in suddenly brought down the pace.
Up next is quite a strong song in Duchess
. While there is noting complex at all about this song, it is relatively catchy and for some reason is not considered a garbage track by the diehard Genesis fans. Very nifty chorus and has a nice story to go along with it. Definitely one of the better tracks on the album. Following this is Guide Vocal
, which is a very short track consisting of some softer keys and vocals. It is more of a setup to Duke's Travels
Man Of Our Times
is a very rock-like track, which sounds quite Arena Rockish, and is still a good song. Although the progressive rock elements are definitely at a minimum, it still serves as a good song thanks to the keyboard work of Tony Banks. This next song is the one that convinced many older Genesis fans that the band was over with, Misunderstanding
. Although it is a genuine pop song, I love it. Anyone who is a fan of the earlier solo work of Phil Collins will enjoy this song, as it has the emotional vocals involving his divorce mixed with a good beat and solid instrumentation. While the vocals do take the center stage, the music definitely does not detract from the song.
One of my favorite songs, Heathaze
is a strong mixture of prog-rock ballad and the emotional vocals of Phil Collins. He delivers with a very gutsy performance over an extremely atmospheric backing created by the keyboard mastermind, Tony Banks. Mike Rutherford does his contribution with some strong bass work as well. In my opinion, Turn It On Again
is a rather forgettable track. It is relatively catchy, but eventually it gets tiresome. Minus the nifty guitar/keyboard line in an odd 13/8 time signature, this a very weak song.
is another song that I struggled to get in to. I felt like it was a watered down version of Misunderstanding, or as if something was holding Phil Collins back, because he clearly was supposed to be the highlight of this song. But, right after two weak songs is one of the best songs on the album, Cul-De-Sac
. With some very clever drumming during the verses, it is set up to be a great track. The entire band delivers, and meshes together very well to form a very balanced track. I highly reccomend for anyone to check this song out, even if you aren't going to buy the album.
Please Don't Ask
is another ballad, with often gets forgotten because it is stuck in between the two best songs on the album. While it is not bad, it is just plain not good enough to be remembered.
This is because of the epic Duke's Travels
. Easily the best song on the album, this is an eight minute intstrumental suite that showcases the entire bands performing ability on their respective instrumentals. Starting with a very atmospheric and windy intro, it kicks in to a quite aggressive lead keyboard line from Tony Banks, who then proceeds to layer some swift arpeggios over top of it. The song continues to build and then finally picks up the pace when another aggressive keyboard part is tossed in along with a swifter beat from Phil Collins. This part continues to build up until 5:48 when it all unleashes into one of the best musical moments Genesis has ever created. Tony Banks is layering extremely ambient and creative keyboards over a quick Phil Collins beat when Mike Rutherford kicks in with some amazing lead guitar lines that perfectly accent the keyboards behind. Then the song Guide Vocal
returns to mind when Phil Collins begins singing those lines over the phenomenal backing behind it. The song eventually starts slowing down and comes to end as it segues right into Duke's End
. This song kicks off just like Behind The Lines
, and ends just as relaxing as the verse of Behind the Lines to round off a very underrated album.
This would be the last album in which Genesis still had progressive elements in their music, as shown by Duke's Travels and Cul-De-Sac, two songs that could fit in on any 70s era Genesis album. Overall Duke
is a very underrated album which often gets ragged on by the older Genesis fans, even though it has its very strong moments. I reccomend it to anyone who has an open mind to 80s influences on their beloved progressive rock.