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Steve Hackett - Defector CD (album) cover


Steve Hackett


Eclectic Prog

3.65 | 490 ratings

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4 stars The first three albums of Steve Hackett's solo career had shown to the listening public what a diverse and and accomplished artist he was. His first three classic albums were followed by a fourth, Defector, in which most of the first half of the album was themed around the cold war and the imagined experiences of a defector from the eastern block.

Defector starts off with a powerful epic instrumental, The Steppes. The piece starts off with a single flute, and the piece builds up to a pounding musical picture that evokes all the musical imagery of that desolate part of the world.

This is followed by Time to get out - why this was never released as a single I will never know - full of energy and great Vocals by Dik Cadbury and Pete Hicks made this fast paced rocker one of the highlights of the album.

Slogans, an instrumental, uses some great guitar techniques and Leaving uses multi layered vocals to evoke an atmpospheric almost dream like quality to this song, which the guitar work builds on effectively.

Two Vamps as guests is another accomplished classical guitar piece by Steve.

Jacuzzi is a lively track with John Hackett prominent on flute, and Hammer in the Sand is an unusual venture for Steve in that this almost classical number is written for concert grand piano rather than his customary guitar. The mixing of the Phrophet 5 and Mellotron produces an accompanying ochestra effect that makes this a memorable and moving track.

The next track The Toast is one of my all time favourite tracks. The song is a reminiscence of past loves and regrets and has a beautiful sadness to it. The song is broken in the middle with a Sate' -like waltz with John on flute.

The Show was released as a single, but didn't sound like a typical Steve Hackett track - this was more commercial than most of his other work, and hinted at what would come in his next album, Cured. I'm still not sure about this track - it sometimes seems too ponderous, and would have been better replaced by Time to get out as a single.

The original album ended on a humerous note sentimental Institution which uses an Optigan to achieve an effect of an old 78 record. Great Lousis armstrong impersonation by Pete Hicks!

The remastered version has 5 bonus tracks - live versions of The Steppes, Sentimental Institution, Slogans and CLocks - the angel of Mons, and a studio recording of Hercules unchained. The live tracks are always welcome additions, as Steve is always in top form live, and Hercules Unchained almost sounds like an iron maiden/def leppard track - you would never think Steve Hacket had written this!

This marked the last great studio rock album of Steve Hacketts early career. It was only in 1999 with Dark Town that Steve again reached the level of consistency he had attained in his first four albums. He has since continued to produce great symphonic rock albums in the latter parts of his career (To Watch the Storms and Wild Orchids), which would make me suggest that if you want to listen to Steve at his best pick from his first 4 albums and his last three albums.

Leonardo | 4/5 |


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