Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Duke's Travels / Duke's End (Genesis, 1980)

As we all know, "Duke" is a milestone in Genesis' career: depending on one's taste (and mood), this is their last prog album or their first pop album. For sure, this mini-suite - originally the last part of a longer one including other tracks from the same album - is definitely progressive rock at its best. Even more, it's one of the last "purely prog" songs by a '70s band. You might assume I like it and you're pretty right: I adore it. It's a strongly dynamic and percussive song, mainly instrumental, but including a beautiful sung theme (the same of "Guide Vocal", another track from "Duke") and the loud keyboards-driven riff from the opening song "Behind The Lines".

"Albert" looking at a new Genesis' era.

The longer section is a breathtaking crescendo, an impressive wall of sound culminating with the sung passage, then the volume falls down and Phil Collins announces the last section - that's "Duke's End" - playing an ocarina. I heard somebody say this was the swansong of progressive rock; luckily prog is not dead, but this is the final classic prog song from Genesis. That's why I shiver every time I listen to this line: "There was a choice but now it's gone...". Alas...