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

PAWN HEARTS

Van Der Graaf Generator

 

Eclectic Prog

4.42 | 1971 ratings

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TheDapperFactor
4 stars Brilliant, but not without its faults.

This album is a must listen for any prog fan. I remember when I was in my infant prog days, I looked up bands to listen to. VDGG was one of them. The first song of theirs I listened to was "A Plague of Lighthouse Keepers". I was frankly bored by the song at first (in retrospect I have no idea how that happened). The only entertaining portion for me at the time was at 16:40 (Where's the god that guides my hand...). I was a bit weirded out by that part. It took me a while to truly appreciate the brilliance of the song. More on that later.

Lemmings| 6.5/10 I've never been able to really feel anything with this song. In fact, writing this review required me to listen to it again because I could not for the life of me remember what it sounds like. Before I trigger fans who swear by this album, let me say I do not dislike this song. When I am consciously listening to it and assessing every detain, i can honestly call it a good song. But it is just unmemorable to me (perhaps because it is surrounded by two far superior songs).

Man-erg| 8.5/10 A solid song after the sort of shaky "Lemmings". Begins with a beautiful vocal section and transcends into an intense saxophone section. For me, this is really where the signature "Pawn Hearts" sound comes: Hammill's screaming, Jackson's sax, etc. It all feels so chaotic (in a good way). The song is not perfect though. It just doesn't have the adventurousness of "A Plague of Lighthouse Keepers"

A Plague of Lighthouse Keepers| 10/10 As I said before, i was not blown away by this song when i first listened to it. The second time I listened to it was about a year later, after I had gained more prog knowledge. THIS is the listen that made me fall in love with this song. I have yet to find a song that it derivative of this, let alone as innovative or abstract as it. Are the lyrics pretentious? Sure. However in my mind, pretentiousness is far overused in prog criticisms, its become meaningless. All I can say for the songs lyrics is that they are dense, and I struggle to comprehend exactly what Hammill meant when he was writing them ("Unreal, unreal' ghost helmsmen scream And fall in through the sky"). I dislike the general nitpicking of lyrics and claiming them as "pretentious", because I find the assertion that the author is speaking "out of their boundaries" to be quite an arrogant assumption. Overall, a brilliant song with brilliant, dense lyricism from Hammill. Hell, Hammill could sing shitty lyrics and make them sound good. The man is innovative in his vocal delivery. A true original.

Average: 8.33/10

Weighted Average: 8.75/10

TheDapperFactor | 4/5 |

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