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Peter Hammill - X My Heart CD (album) cover


Peter Hammill


Eclectic Prog

3.22 | 97 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
2 stars This is not so much a bad Peter Hammill album as an unnecessary one. I'm sure it was necessary for Hammill, as he's never at a loss when it comes to purging his psyche. But we don't necessarily have to watch every gory minute of it, either. 'X My Heart' is on the more plodding side of his output, his voice finding that talk-singing middle ground some of his fans find frustrating. Add to that a lack of real musical action to hold on to, and you have a trying listen ahead. It's not his darkest or most depressing, it's not his's not his most minimal and it's not his most sort of treads water in between all that, a monochrome set of songs mandatory only for the Hammill completist.

There is nothing one could call truly bad here, but things like "Ram Origami", "A Forest Of Pronouns" and "Narcissus (Bar & Grill)" are like watching an obsessive-compulsive wring his hands under the sink for the thousandth time. We've heard this stuff from him countless times in the past, and usually to much better (and fresher) effect. Even onetime Van Der Graaf Generator cohort David Jackson doesn't save the day with his sax and flute work. The only real remarkable musical performance worth paying for is Stuart Gordon's smoothly delivered violin note-mania throughout the end of "Amnesiac". Much of the material is hurt by the synthetic/thin "drum" sounds. Even though Manny Elias is credited with drums & percussion, much of it sounds like, and is quite likely a drum machine. This can't help the already dreary and gray plod of the material. The best moment comes twofold in "A Better Time", which bookends the album, the first being an a cappella rendition, the other a piano- and-symphony arrangement. This song stands as one of Hammill's most convincing vocal performances, a hopeful light inside an otherwise claustrophobic tunnel. Bravo Peter. even on your least remarkable albums you always manage a slice of genius or two (see the brilliant "A Way Out" on the otherwise so-so 'Out Of Water' album).

slipperman | 2/5 |


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