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Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography
Van Der Graaf Generator - Pawn Hearts CD (album) cover


Van Der Graaf Generator


Eclectic Prog

4.42 | 1962 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

5 stars Van der Graaf Generator is one of the most underestimated bands from progressive history and their peak is considered as Pawn Heats. But why?

Album starts with the strong, complicated song called Lemmings. "Lemmings" is hard to follow and in the first listening you may find it very complicated and far away from melody. But like all of VDGG material, chaotic environment of the song is reflected through lyrics and music perfeclty. The genuity of Hammil's poetry shows itself again. Hammil use the Lemmings story in this song with the concept of "running always" and mass "suicide". Like lemmings running, the song starts with a "rush" and strong vocal continues until the end. Lyrics starts with hopelessness and and the end it ends with a little hope by mentioning "What choice is there left but to try?" This kind of poetry may resemble the early song "Killer", like its ending as "We need love", with an opend door.

Man-Erg is my personal favorite in this album. In the first part of the song, musically all instruments plays "soft" and there is great harmony between them. This "softness" is relatively due to Hammer's vocal. Many people find its vocal style very "strange", but in this song it's rather considered normal. Then before the second part and there is a transition section with sax and screaming vocal of Hammil. Afterwards, the lyrics started to be complicated (even I used dictionary frequently), and Saxon's great performance shows itself. And this part of the song (both poetry and musically) makes the listener calm till the killing end part of the song with a dramatic realism. The lyrics emphasize the simplicity of "the man" by saying "I'm just a man" and consider "man" as the source.

The final long-run song, A Plague of Lighthouse Keepers, is a masterpiece itself. It startes and continues with Hammil's unique vocal. The harmony at transition between different parts of the song is very well arranged with different instrument usage. The poetry (if it's considered as whole) resembles the other songs of this album. Lyrics start with dark, chaotic reflections and ends with kinda "happiness." This happiness is due to an end of the whole dark, depressive and painful part of the song by saying "All things are a part". Within the song, lyrics also refer to the other two songs by saying "I can see the lemmings coming, but I know I'm just a man". This kind of poetry also enriches the completeness of the album itself.

As a final remark, it can be said that album is full of Hammil's unique vocal and the great harmony of sax and other instruments. Moreover, the complicated poetry adds virtue to the album dramatically.

ibolomania | 5/5 |


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