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Steve Hackett - Wild Orchids CD (album) cover

WILD ORCHIDS

Steve Hackett

 

Eclectic Prog

3.77 | 222 ratings

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Gatot
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars

Where is my 'Mechanical Bride', Mr. Hackett?

I got the Special Edition CD of this album quite late, after hearing all good words and reviews about this new album by Steve Hackett. My expectation was very high because I thought this must be better than "To Watch The Storm". The CD arrived with Porcupine Tree's "Fear of A Blank Planet" which I prioritized to be listened to first prior to "Wild Orchids". It's probably two factors that finally conclude me that "Wild Orchids" as just "good" album and nothing more. First, I enjoyed "Fear of A Blank Planet" first, which musically is very superb and masterpiece; each track is a wonderful one and I have no major complaint with it. After enjoying this Porcupine Tree new album and then enjoying Steve Hackett's "Wild Orchids" I experienced great gap, emotionally. "Wild Orchids" failed to exceed my satisfaction even though it's not bad at all. Second, my expectation about "Wild Orchids" was very high way before I clicked my order of this album. I suddenly compare this album with "To Watch The Storm" and I cannot find the song that is at par excellent as "Mechanical Bride". So, where is my Mechanical Bride, Mr. Stephen Hackett?

Why Liking This Album

Pretty straight to the point: because you have been familiar with any of Steve Hackett's music which I believe has been quite consistent. Well, I might say that since "The Dark Town" album he has explored further his musical boundaries with sort of avant-garde endeavor. I enjoy The Dark Town album, really. As I mention quite often in my reviews about Hackett's albums, he is not a good singer, actually, but for some reason he can adjust his "mundane" (even bad - excuse me!) voice with his music style. In a nutshell, I can say that he approaches his music in a way that at the end would accommodate his "so and so" voice quality. I don't know why for this album, I cannot ( or fail to) identify the beauty of his voice merging beautifully with the music. It might be I'm quite bored with his singing style. But this does not apply in specific terms. For example, I do enjoy "A Girl Called Linda" very much even though his singing quality is mundane.

For those of you who enjoy "Dark Town", you might be very satisfied with the opening track "Transylvanian Express" (3:44). In my humblest opinion, this instrumental opening track is superb and it's the best track from this album. This is actually the instrumental version of track no. 16 "A Dark Night in A Toy Town" which can also be enjoyed by those who purchase the standard CD version. Oh my God . this is really a masterpiece and well-crafted composition! In fact, I played this song in a local FM radio program "Saturday Night Rock" at Trijaya Network, broadcasted all over the nation. I was quite proud putting this track in my play list.

For those of you who like something explorative in nature, "Waters Of The Wild" (5:35) is an interesting track with the middle east influenced style. "Down Street" also has good musical exploration at the ending part, even though the intro is quite awkward. I do enjoy "A Girl Called Linda" (4:44) especially in the music style which resembles the memory of old days with excellent interlude of flute and jazzy rhythm section. Through this album, Steve Hackett also demonstrates his love of blues through "Blue Child" (4:25) - which is not bad at all.

Why Not Liking This Album?

You might find that the opening track "Transylvanian Express" is a beautifully crafted music combining excellent orchestration and a bit of avant-garde style. But .. unfortunately this is not continued seamlessly with another upbeat tempo track and sounds like disjointed. This is only one example. Another thing is that the fact that this album offers various music styles, the whole album seems like not in a cohesive whole. It's not a big problem, actually, but it's a bit bothering to my ears, really. In a way, I love blues music but if I listen to it in the middle of my prog mode being switched "on" I got trouble digesting the music.

Conclusion

Having said so, I considered this album is good and actually can be excellent if some other things included: more prog, more coherent setlist, more upbeat music. But, because I'm a fan of Steve Hackett, I will still keep this CD to complete my collection. Keep on proggin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

3 Days to DRAGONFORCE Live in Concert, Jakarta, May 19,2007! Be There!

Gatot | 3/5 |

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