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Van Der Graaf Generator - The Quiet Zone / The Pleasure Dome CD (album) cover

THE QUIET ZONE / THE PLEASURE DOME

Van Der Graaf Generator

 

Eclectic Prog

3.64 | 578 ratings

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UMUR
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars The Quiet Zone / The Pleasure Dome is the 8th full-length studio album by UK progressive rock act Van Der Graaf Generator. The album was originally released under the Van Der Graaf monicker omitting the Generator part of the name though. There´s been quite a few significant lineup changes since World Record (1976) as Hugh Banton ( organ, piano, mellotron, bass pedals) and David Jackson ( Sax and flute) have left the band which probably generated the reason for the name change ( David Jackson guests on the songs The Sphinx in the Face and The Sphinx Returns). Instead former Van Der Graaf Generator bassist Nic Potter returns to the fold and violin player Graham Smith is also added to the lineup. The usual suspects in the lineup are Peter Hammill ( vocals, guitars, keyboards) and Guy Evans ( Drums and percussion).

The lineup changes have a significant impact on the band´s sound. The usual organ and sax dominated soundscape is now replaced by much more guitar and Graham Smith´s violin and viola playing. In addition to those changes the addition of a "real" bass player really gives the music on this album a very different sound compared to the last couple of releases. The songwriting is generally a bit simpler too or in other words closer to the vers/ chorus formula. The songs never fall into a commercial trap though and even the songs that seem most simple have progressive parts that keeps them intriguing.

The album starts with the great rocking Lizard Play and from the very beginning it´s obvious that the music has changed since World Record. Peter Hammill´s paatos filled vocal style is still the center of attention but especially the violin changes the sound. All songs are high quality compositions but I have favorites like Lizard Play, The Habit of the Broken Heart, Last Frame and of course the wonderfully aggressive Cat's Eye/ Yellow Fever (Running). The 2005 Virgin Records CD remaster features 3 bonus tracks. The folky Door, the instrumental The Wave and the B-side track Ship of Fools from the Cat's Eye single. The CD is mislabeled though which means that it appears on the label that Ship of Fools is a demo song and The Wave is mentioned as the B-side track from the Cat's Eye single. The three bonus tracks are a nice addition to the original album but they are mostly a fan thing.

The musicianship on The Quiet Zone / The Pleasure Dome is outstanding. I´m blown back by the energy and enthusiasm that all four musicians showcase.

The production is fantastic IMO. Powerful and detailed.

The Quiet Zone / The Pleasure Dome is not the band´s most progressive release and probably not the best place to start for newcommers, but It´s still an excellent and very unique progressive rock album fully deserving a 4 star rating.

UMUR | 4/5 |

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