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Peter Hammill - Sitting Targets CD (album) cover


Peter Hammill


Eclectic Prog

3.52 | 135 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars One year into the '80s, with 'Sitting Targets' Peter Hammill foreshadowed the dreary material that was to come on the rest of his '80s albums. But this album isn't all bad. It's a mixed bag, divided evenly in half between lackluster songs and highly intriguing ones. He's aided by some impressive supporting musicians, including Van Der Graaf Generator members David Jackson and Guy Evans, as well as Brand X man Morris Pert.

Opener "Breakthrough" offers a tense, paranoid set of upbeat rhythms, Hammill sounding believable as the tortured artist with a lot on his mind. This song is the only one within the album's first half that manages to do anything exciting, the next 5 hovering in that apathetic nether-zone that so much of Hammill's solo material resides in. "My Experience" was released as a single, and it indeed sounds aimed at early '80s radio: robotic, new wave-ish, awful.

It's the second half of this album that provides some challenging listening, songs with depth and fascinating twists and turns. All kinds of noises fly at you on "What I Did", with that oddball VDGG element making an appearance on "Sitting Targets". The entire back half of the album offers only high-quality moments of Hammill's peculiar schizophrenia, maintaining the focus that fans appreciate about his unique musical persona. Even brooding, proto-punk noise creeps in with closer "Central Hotel", harkening back to the 'Nadir's Big Chance' album, but more effective because it's the only song remotely like this on the whole album.

A lopsided and only half-satisfying album. Hammill's voice is getting grittier, less melodic, and that's a trait that makes his albums a little hard to listen to at times (especially if you love to hear the smoother tones that graced most of his solo and band material of the '70s). Nice to hear all the supporting musicians around this album, which helps maintain the human factor that would be lost and drowned in much of the man's '80s material.

slipperman | 3/5 |


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