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Steve Hackett - Wild Orchids CD (album) cover

WILD ORCHIDS

Steve Hackett

 

Eclectic Prog

3.77 | 230 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Shakespeare
3 stars Ex-Genesis legend, and long time solo-performer, Mr. Steven Hackett is recognized even by the musical world outside of prog (though not much...) to be an excellent guitar player. So will this prog icon fade away, and never relive his former glory? No way! This little hidden gem is a testament, along with Peter Gabriel's Up, that aged musicians can still return to their former glory, or rise to a new level. However, this album's magic doesn't reside in the musical skill of Hackett, or even in the great compositions of the songs, but in the nostalgic aura surrounding every second of sound.

What a nice hodgepodge of styles here, ranging from very bluesy guitar, to classical, to lounge jazz, to Beatles-esque sitar, with even dark songs, experimental in nature. This wide arsenal of varied musical textures and soundscapes really make this album extremely pleasurable to listen in entirety (though the songs are excellent when removed from the album, as well). Hackett, not one known for his vocal prowess (to say the least), proves firmly that he is a good singer! His sincere, almost monotone voice fits astonishingly well with his music. And thankfully, his wizardry on the six-string has not suffered even a fraction over the years. In fact, I would say that it has even improved. Also to improve is his melody-writing skill, which is a key part of this inspired album.

Production is top-notch: all effects and editing, sound quality, and booklet are all superbly executed. The entire ensemble is drenched in elegance. The orchestral touch is phenomenal, and not over the top. The atmosphere is compelling, and lyrics are surprisingly well done. The energy builds, and is strongest during Down Street, Wolfwork, and most powerful in the closer Howl, though it's sort of an anti-climatic, and not dramatically epic album in the end. Overall, this is makes for a quite unforgettable journey, which takes only a few listens to immerse into fully. Picture this as a completely unessential masterpiece.

Shakespeare | 3/5 |

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