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Steve Hackett - Defector CD (album) cover


Steve Hackett


Eclectic Prog

3.64 | 433 ratings

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4 stars It is always illadvised to think the loss of an individual isn't felt in a band, or that the deficit will be easily filled and unnoticed in the material. The reverse is also true; to assume a single musician's own work, reaching out with a more internal vision, will be less accomplished is frequently proven wrong. Often liberating, these solo projects can be a much more personal and intimate expression of an artist and for Defector, Steve Hackett demonstrates this with the same quiet expertise he brought to Genesis. The album suffers at times from an early 80s techno-box quality that cheapens the sound (including a few flirtations with outright disco), but mostly this is one of Hackett's better albums and it fixes a hole where the rain gets in.

Steve Hackett had been making solo records since 1975, so regardless of his tenure with his 'other' band, it was nothing new. And though both Voyage of the Acolyte and Spectral Mornings are first-rate sessions, this one is a touch more clear-headed and concise in its vision, and no less ambitious. 'The Steppes' opens on a soothing flute, rumbling awake with Dik Cadbury's bass and a most pleasing melody of layered guitars from our host, expanding over a grand landscape. 'Time to Get Out' tastes of later Genesis with springy arpeggios, bright pop appeal and a countrified solo, abruptly pushed aside by the militant 'Slogans' which features a hornet's nest of guitar pyrotechnics and Hackett's sense of restraint and musicality. Highly prog and full of movement, it seamlessly transitions to the sweet-sounding 'Leaving', a reflective vocal harmonic. The master's nylon-strings are showcased in the delicate 'Two Vamps as Guests', and 'Jacuzzi' is prime Hackett, handling the synths as well as guitars for some great symphonic rock that could easily be mistaken for Genesis circa 1973. 'Hammer in the Sand' is a tearful lament on piano, 'The Toast' is slow, drunken sentiment which becomes a salute to Erik Satie and refreshes the soul with its simple beauty. 'The Show' curbs this even flow with a cold dance beat and funky bass sounding like a play for radio appeal, and the hilarious 'Sentimental Institution' creaks with 1930s Americana, Victrola atmosphere and early jazz crooning.

Though bumpy at times and giving a sense of a work unfinished , Defector was one of the best prog offerings of 1980 and proves why Hackett's absence in his former band was deeply felt. Very nice.

Atavachron | 4/5 |


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