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Steve Hackett - Defector CD (album) cover


Steve Hackett


Eclectic Prog

3.64 | 433 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars "I can thrill her with Glenn Miller"

Steve Hackett's albums are so diverse in content, that you never know what to expect when approaching them. One album can be completely acoustic, the next a heavy, lead guitar driven selection.

"Defector" is nearer to the latter than the former. The opening bars of "The Steppes" with their plodding, deliberate back-beat, and soaring lead guitar indicate straight away that this is a "Voyage of the Acolyte" type album. the track is a striking instrumental with feedback on the guitar and a "Firth of fifth" type sound. This is one of several instrumentals of a similar style on the album, "Slogans", which seems to be a reworking of "Clocks" is another. "Jacuzzi", which opens side two is more upbeat, and slightly lighter, but of the same mould.

"Two vamps as guests" is not the spooky nightmare the title might suggest, but a gentle acoustic piece very similar to the intro to Genesis "Blood of the rooftops". "Hammer in the sand" is another strangely titled instrumental, the dominant piano featuring in a gentle, almost new age type arrangement.

In terms of the vocal tracks, the overt pop rock of "Time to get out" disguises some very cynical lyrics such as "23 and one half billion joints were smoked by Thursday.. Place your bets which side lives longer, time to get out while you can". "Leaving" sounds remarkably like a track by Camel, the reflective melody complementing the slightly off-key harmonics in the singing. "The toast" is a warm, slightly inebriated, slurring song which paints a picture of sitting by an open fire after a raucous evening.

"The show" strays dangerously close to the territory Genesis moved into after Hackett left, thus retaining his credibility. This and the closing "Sentimental institution", a cod war time song, are by far the weakest tracks on the album.

None of the tracks here is particularly long or indeed intricate. The album as a whole is not overtly prog, despite the presence of a number of instrumentals. As a whole, the songs are easily accessible and in their own way pleasant. Hence, while I enjoy the album when I hear it, I cannot in all honesty say it is one I listen to often. Good but unremarkable is probably the best description.

Easy Livin | 3/5 |


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