eSoteriC Banks raids solo back catalogue for eight-disc retro.
When Phil Collins had hits, Tony Banks gritted his teeth. When Mike Rutherford then also thrived outside the band, the Genesis keyboard player must have quietly seethed as his own solo efforts singularly failed to find any sizeable audience.
As this boxed set of Banks’s albums (and videos) from 1979 to ’95 (he now makes classical music) arrives, is it clear why the enduring sonic element of Genesis floundered away from home?
Yes and no. His first, 1979’s A Curious Feeling, should have flown. It’s big on the melancholy grandeur he’d mastered, but Kim Beacon’s vocals don’t catch magic like Collins, and it stalled outside the UK Top 20. This seems to have unnerved Banks’s solo psyche, as in ’83 he returned with glib pop and cod-reggae on The Fugitive, which he sings himself – patchily. The Wicked Lady and Soundtracks showcase his film work, then 1989’s Bankstatement and 1991’s Still mimic Mike + The Mechanics, despite co-production by Steve Hillage on the first, and Nik Kershaw and Fish decorating the second. 1995’s Strictly Inc. is a decent, if dated AOR collaboration with Wang Chung frontman Jack Hues. There’s little that’s priceless here, but some things worth saving. ■■■■■■■■■■