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Van Der Graaf Generator - The Least We Can Do Is Wave To Each Other CD (album) cover

THE LEAST WE CAN DO IS WAVE TO EACH OTHER

Van Der Graaf Generator

 

Eclectic Prog

4.03 | 664 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Evans
4 stars Most people consider The least we can do is wave to each other to be the first Van Der Graaf Generator album, and while it has that characteristic VDGG sound, i tend to see it as a prelude to what was to come.

What to expect from this album if you, like me, aproach it with prior knowledge of the band, is more of the same only not as developed. The only shockers abound are Refugees, which is one of if not the brightest song the band ever recorded, Out of my Book which i will return to later in a paragraph of its own, and the fact that the bass guitar is a much more prominent instrument than it will later become. Opening track Darkness (11/11) is very driven by it, and overall it gives a slightly different feel than much of what expecially latter generation albums does.

Besides being underpinned by a good bass line, Darkness (11/11) is one of the best tracks on the album and the one which best predicts the path the band would take in the (now past) future. The ominous keyboard, Peter Hammills trademark screaming and the tormented sax work of David Jackson, it is all there and recognizable.

One thing which isn't quite what it would later be, however, is the lyrics of Peter Hammill. The only track which hint at the greatness of Still Life and Pawn Hearts is Refugees, the bands most sentimental moment of all, and the one track on the album which moves me beyond the purely musical. Not that White hammer, a song about the inquisition's war on whiches back in the 1400's or, After the Flood, dealing with the end of the world in pure progressive spirit, are bad, but the more personal and emotionally gripping songs hasn't made their appearance yet.

The second to last track, Out of my book, is something as rare as a throwaway VDGG track. Flute-laden, short and with unusually soft vocals by Hammill, it is easy to understand why they decided to abandon this style after this. It's not enturely unpleasant, but it is not remarkable in any way and it's not congruent with their overall style and it's not representative of the band's originality and greatness in any way.

Another one of my gripes with the album is that the album closer After the Flood lacks variation. It has a great impending doom-feeling over it, and a sax freakout resembling the one in Man-Erg, but overall i would have liked it a bit shorter, or with more variation. However slow the build-up is, though, the ending is the usual blown up Van Der Graaf Generator and in the end it is a really good track only not as focused as VDGG when they are at their best.

If Still Life was a harsh album made out of marshmallow, then The Least we can Do is Wave to Eachother is a soft one made out of marble.

Recommended.

Evans | 4/5 |

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