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Van Der Graaf Generator - Pawn Hearts CD (album) cover


Van Der Graaf Generator


Eclectic Prog

4.42 | 1971 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars As far as Van der Graaf Generator goes, this is only an average album. In fact, as far as 70s prog bands go, this is still just an average album.

This seems to be one of the most popular releases by Van der Graaf, and I can understand why. However, I feel that the second half the album, the song A Plague of Lighthouse Keepers, is a terrible drag on the album. The first song, Lemmings (Including Cog), is a wonderful tune, complex and cynical. Despite a meandering noise-session in the middle of the song, it still can rank as one of the more interesting and recognizable tunes by this band. Man-Erg is a classic Van der Graaf track, powered by Peter Hammill's intriguing voice and some quality guitar insertions by Robert Fripp. Both of these songs ensure that, no matter how horrible the second side, this album gets three stars. These two tracks are essentials to all Van der Graaf fans.

Apparently, A Plague of Lighthouse Keepers is an essential track, too, though I wouldn't know that by listening to it. There are some truly wonderful moments on here. A few of the vocal bits are great. But as far as a song goes, it does not hold together well, and some pieces are downright painful to listen to. The bonus tracks, which were intended to be included on the double vinyl album, do not do anything to redeem the album, though they don't hurt it any. However, no matter how many times I listen to the 20+ minute second side, I still cannot get over the fact that Van der Graaf could have made their best album here, though many still do believe that is what happened.

This is a good album, and one every fan of Van der Graaf at all needs to hear. However, first time listeners to the band should avoid this one in favor of Godbluff or H to He.

LiquidEternity | 3/5 |


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