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Steve Hackett - Defector CD (album) cover

DEFECTOR

Steve Hackett

 

Eclectic Prog

3.65 | 315 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Cesar Inca
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars With this fourth studio effort, Steve Hackett bid his farewell to the 70s, and his musica lstrategy was mostly going headlong for a continuation of the sound and moods that had made his previous release "Spectral Mornings" such an accomplished progressive opus. This time, "Defector" didn't match tha tsort of greatness, but still deserves to be justly labelled as a Hackett classic. All in all, this album exposes an emphasis on the rockier side of Maestro Hackett, which in places spins a turn into the pop side of things, which directly affects the width of the room given to his pastoral/acoustic side. So, let's go for the tracklist itself, shall we? 'The Steppes' opens up the album with an eerie mood that may somehow remind us of the preceding album's title track but, in comparison, 'The Steppes' delivers a punchier vibe based on the melodic motif's exotic ambience, while 'Spectral Mornings' was a demonstration of sheer eerieness. The majestic beginning is followed by a more easy-going piece, 'Time to Get Out', which kind of reminds me of the sort of prog- pop tunes that Camel usually came up with increasingly since the end of the Bardens-era. Good stuff, indeed, not lost in the standard frivolity of pop but properly ornamented with tastefully constructed solos and an ordained rhythmic structure. Later on, the also poppish (even poppier) 'The Show' handles this scheme more directly, which means that it doesn't enjoy the same level of musical inventiveness: it is a pity, since this joyful song might as well have used a more expanded arrangement. But let's recover our procedure and go for 'Slogans', a superb gem from this album: this piece is a daughter of 'The Towers' and a niece of 'Tigermoth', an exhibition of psychedelic progressive architecture with ample room for guitar tapping, providing an overall sinister mood. The piece is firmly constructed but it doesn't deter it from becoming authentically muscular. The adequate contrast comes in with the segued acoustic ballad 'Leaving', which sets things on mysterious ground while remaining warm. The coda 'Two Vampires As Guests' is a lovely classica lguitar solo piece, a delightful coda for the album's first half. The second half starts with another highlight - 'Jacuzzi'. This delightful composition is yet another perfect example of typical Hackett progressive voice: inspired melodies, stylish developments and a clever use of sundry adornments in pure symphonic style. This is a hard trick to follow, but then come 'Hammer in the Sand' and 'The Toast', two slow pieces that keep the majestic ambience going: the former features a piano basis and a marriage of guitar-synth and mellotron layers, the latter being more akin to acoustic Genesis (12-string guitar and all). The closer 'Sentimental Institution' is a funny old-style jazz song that sounds like a very old vinyl single: it's all about the Optigan, a pet keyboard of hackett himself. Well, here we have yet another fine musical work by Hackett, the last one of what many call his classic era.
Cesar Inca | 4/5 |

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