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

PAWN HEARTS

Van Der Graaf Generator

 

Eclectic Prog

4.42 | 1457 ratings

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Ivan_Melgar_M
Special Collaborator
Symphonic Prog Specialist
3 stars Some years ago I listened a couple of VAN DER GRAAF GENERATOR albums and found them simply beyond my understanding throwing the LP's and CD's to the bottom of a box and hardly listened them. this of course doesn't imply any discredit for the band's musicianship, but a consequence of my taste, I choose melody over excessive complexity and dissonances, so the band was out of my league.

But my tastes have changed, I became a MAGMA fan, and found some interest in a couple of GENTLE GIANT albums, so last week while putting my albums in order (Mover to a new house some weeks ago), decided to gibe Hammill and company a second chance.

So listened "Pawn Hearts" repeatedly and my opinion has changed partially, still I dislike their unnecessary and annoying complexity and the lack of coherence in most tracks, but at least there are moments that really captured me.

The first track "Lemmings" is one of those I can't still resist, not because of Hammill (Most VDGG detractors blame him), being that his theatrical style and excellent vocal range is amazing, but for the excess of dissonances that take nowhere and the lack of structure (at least for me), sounds like they are trying to more elaborate and complex than everybody but never pass the level of weird music. Melody is an important part of the music and this guys simply deleted any race of melody from "Lemmings"

Now, "Man-Erg" is another thing, an excellent song in which they balance the complexity with a wonderful melody, the use of piano and organ is absolutely delightful, and even in the weirdest parts, the band keeps the central idea alive. After a complex middle section in which the band includes elements of Rock, Jazz and God knows what else, all with extreme dexterity, comes the grand finale in which VDGG makes a display of pomp and drama that really touched me, excellent material.

"A Plague of Lighthouse Keepers" is the middle point between the previous tracks, there are excellent melodic passages and extreme demonstrations of experimentalism, that again go beyond my understanding, not my cup of tea, but I can listen it completely without wanting to press the skip button in any moment as I did months ago. Special mention to the mysterious Hammond solos that are just brilliant.

Today I'm interested in listening carefully more of the band's albums and my ears are open for new experiences, but don't ask me to jump from a 1 star rating that I had given some times ago to 5 stars, I'm not ready for this yet, but rating "Pawn Hearts" with less than 3 solid stars would be criminally unfair for me.

Ivan_Melgar_M | 3/5 |

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