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Steve Hackett - Wild Orchids CD (album) cover


Steve Hackett


Eclectic Prog

3.75 | 308 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
2 stars 2.5 Stars

Variety is good, but this album is so musically incoherent due to it's immense variety that it makes it seem like an extra CD full of bonus tracks. Also, musically it is not very impressive (save a few tracks) and does not redeem the awful vocals throughout the CD. I never expected Steve Hackett to have vocals as weak as Steve Howe. I have heard this album more than five times and it doesn't click on me, the interest keeps fading, though I admit that the some songs are very enjoyable.

1. A Dark Night In Toytown : Great opener. A symphonic track composed as if it was metal, except that the riffing is conducted by an orchestra. Pretty original and it has great guitar playing as well as a nice musical break around the middle in which the orchestra dominates and plays slower. The vocals are pretty weak, but they don't bother me much here. 8.5/10

2. Waters Of The Wild : an eastern song with interesting percussion and sitar playing. Nothing impressive but it is another original song, though it probably should have been shorter. 6.5/10

3. Set Your Compass : It quite sounds like Genesis' acoustic songs like "Entangled", with its delicate acoustic guitar, gentle vocal harmonies and dreamy feel, but this one does not have great vocals and nothing really happens. Quite dull. 4.5/10

4. Down Street : Easily the most interesting song of the album, though it takes time to get used to. It begins sounding like a very dynamic and bleak soundtrack of a horror movie with a narrative then it ends with three minutes of magic: a showcase of Hackett's ability to produce wonderful arrangements and play phenomenal guitar solos. 9/10

5. A Girl Called Linda : another very mellow that is ruined by its emptiness and lack of good vocals, only that this one is longer. The flute playing is pretty however. 3/10

6. To A Close: Extremely boring. If the previous song didn't put you to sleep, this one will. It's all vocal harmonies and a symphony and while the melodies are pretty, the song is just very boring and appears after another boring track. It feels like a nursery rhyme. 2/10

7. Ego & Id: A heavy rocker, finally some excitement! There's no problem about this song instrumentally-speaking as the guitar work is very good and the songwriting is solid. The problem is again the vocals; they are weak, especially for this type of music. 6/10

8. Man In The Long Black Coat: An atmospheric mellow tune with nice guitar performances and better-than-usual vocals and melodies. However, the rhythm is repeated for five minutes, making it a bit dull. 5/10

9. Wolfwork: A song dominated with syncopated orchestra stabs. However, this song is very varied and quite enjoyable throughout. Steve Hackett plays very good here. 6.5/10

10. Why : what is this? it sounds like an intermission that sounds like 40s jazz with extremely bad vocals. Thank God it's short. 0/10

11. She Moves In Memories : pointless filler. Basically an orchestra playing the awfully dull song "To a Close". It's a bit better, but I give it 0/10 because it's pointless!

12. The Fundamentals Of Brainwashing : I decent mid-tempo track with effective modified vocals in the refrains, which uses vocal harmony and instrumental backing in a very good way. 7/10

13. Howl : A continuation of the previous track, this time being instrumental. The piano playing here is superb. 7/10

If I average the score/min of the album, I'll probably end up with a 3-star album, but since the album is so incoherent in terms of style and quality, it is a bit painful to listen to it in its entirety. As a result, I consider it a 2.5 star album rounded down.

PS: The sample of "Transylvania Express" is quite impressive, maybe I should have gotten the special edition.

For Fans of Steve Hackett.

Zitro | 2/5 |


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