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Van Der Graaf Generator - Godbluff CD (album) cover


Van Der Graaf Generator


Eclectic Prog

4.48 | 1555 ratings

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Prog Leviathan
Prog Reviewer
4 stars As a VDGG neophyte, I went into this recording knowing that, as a piece of classic prog, it was likely to be met with ambivalence over its musical merit/historical significance and a dated sound which comes across comparatively underwhelming when compared to contemporary stuff. With Godbluff, each comes across strongly-- but the energy, uniqueness, and campy production make this one a true winner in the sometimes chances I sometimes take in mediocre '70's bands.

For those thinking of investigating VDGG, be prepared for a tremendous amount of enjoyment mixed with one big, gigantic, noisy, mess of a singer. Peter Hammil seems to be equally hated and loved, and I think that ultimately one's enjoyment of this album will come down to the listener's opinion of his singing. Think of him as an even more out of control version of Fish; he belts out bizarre lyrics with an almost vaudevillian exuberance, which will make many cringe or roll their eyes. I, however, think it is the most delightfully goofy example of early prog campiness, so serious in its intensity that it becomes more of a joke than anything else. Just listen to "Arrow" and you'll see what I mean.

As for the band-- top notch. Predominantly organ-led melodies and textures dominate, often shared with cool woodwind work by David Jackson. His is the one of the finest sounding saxes in the genre, and does a lot to make this album's sound unique. Guitars are present occasionally, but otherwise the listener should be prepared for synth/sax interplay. The group's songwriting is highly energetic and varied-- pretty much par for the course in terms of expectations for the genre, but is played distinctly.

For those exploring classic prog, VDGG and Godbluff is a fine addition to one's library. Its technical and vocal shortcomings are made up by strong, complex playing and unique style, which makes it stand out strongly against the other big boys of the time.

Songwriting: 4 Instrumental Performances: 3 Lyrics/Vocals: 4 Style/Emotion/Replay: 4

Prog Leviathan | 4/5 |


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