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Van Der Graaf Generator - Trisector CD (album) cover


Van Der Graaf Generator


Eclectic Prog

3.50 | 473 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
2 stars So obv. it's inf. neato that teh VdGG are still together and continue to release new music and I really am thankful for that, but despite this reviewer's tendency to be greatly forgiving when it comes to the cult side of progressive rock, Trisector simply lacks as an album and I think it's easy to pinpoint exactly what's missing.

The notable non-presence of a certain musician isn't a wall in the road of VdGG's creativity but it certainly is a hurdle, so because the band suddenly want for range, Mr. Hammill has much more room on Trisector in which to swing his axe, to mixed results. The song Drop Dead is a foray into the heart of classic rock glory, which this reviewer finds painful in general. It has Kinky riffs and really naff lyrics. That's right, naff. Try harder. ;P The opening track is only a little more tolerable, in that it'd still suit the sort of AOR fans who typically drown in Van der Graaf music but at least doesn't have rawk anthem texts.

Lifetime starts in the vein of an intro, and stays in that groove until its conclusion. Well, that's one way to vary an album's intensity levels and the music does seem to suit the mood of the lyrics but it's a bonus track, a B-side, a lacklustre hop into less polarising territory. I appreciate that the band have greatly matured following their classic era, but it's hard to accept that they've mellowed to such a degree. Someone who knows the band in person should start talking about politics, religion or economics in a really loud voice because here's a trio of musicians who do their best when they're furious - if you've read about their escapades and crushing experiences in Italy then you'll know exactly what I mean. Still, I don't claim to understand their intentions or current temperaments; I'm just teasing a standoff-ish, complacent song. <3

As for the love-sized Over the Hill, well, in the parlance of lolcats everywhere, sort of want. It's easy to appreciate, smooth and cut into respectably prog chapters, with a conclusion sure to be envied by scores of neo pretenders, so despite my opinion on the song you need to hear it all the way through. Personally I find it a little too neat (even considering my enduring love of the word neato) and it seems to suit catholic prog tastes a little too exactly, surgically. If it was written this way in all sincerity then congratulations to the band, it's a masterpiece.

What this reviewer enjoys on the album are the times when Banton and Evans grab the reins and steer the songs into less comfortable territory; Interference Patterns intrigues by having VdGG play short notes on their instruments. Gasp, I know! o:) That song's mother was a calculator, and its father was a Geiger counter. Also, Hammill's melody line introduces a little distress and his lyrics are one big metaphor, which is always a good sign that the song's a classic. (We Are) Not Here follows a similarly stark formula and zaps you right on the nose following the over-comfortable epic. I really appreciate as an album-closer; it's the best place they could have installed it in the track order, almost like an antidote. I almost forgave a lot of the transgressions that came before that song but it turns out that I hold my grudges. =P

I'd like to mention Only in a Whisper because it also stakes out new ground for the band, since it's fairly jazzy and explorative without being whammo! like Pawn Hearts or Arrow from Godbluff; i'm particularly thankful that it continues for so long, since Hammill certainly wrote a line of poetry which deserves to be repeated for as long as the listener is receptive.

So when I give this album two stars, understand that it still has content that's relevant to long-term VdGG fans, but that I think the bad slightly outweighs the good. Even after hearing this album I'm still excited that they continue to exist as a band and wish them well, no matter how they choose to progress.

laplace | 2/5 |


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