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Van Der Graaf Generator - Godbluff CD (album) cover

GODBLUFF

Van Der Graaf Generator

 

Eclectic Prog

4.50 | 1360 ratings

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The Monodrone
5 stars 4.5 stars for Godbluff by Van der Graaf Generator.

Godbluff: my introduction into the majestic world of Van der Graaf Generator. Though I was deteremined to shoot down this album after a few careful listens, it started to really grow on me; of this I am very fortunate. What is held within the disc encased in quite plain black artwork and plastic is amazingly good, and quite addictive, I might add! 'Undercover Man' starts the album off quite eerily, yet very strongly. "Arrow" is a strong, aggressive number that usually brings the hairs on the back of my neck up when Hammill screams, "impaled upon the arroooooww!" A mind-numbingly good track that makes the album for me. The only track that I have not become very fond of is the closer, "The Sleepwalkers." It's a bit repetitive and simply not as strong as the other tracks, despite its length. "Scorched Earth" is a lyrically-driven song, but boasts some very entrancing instrumentation. A smooth melody gives a hint of darkness to the track, which is bookended by more great instrumentation.

Hammill's lyrics are flawless and extremely creative and diverse. They create a very clear yet angst-full mental picture. The music matches the lyrics in ways I've never seen/heard before. Hammill is clearly a master with words, weaving them carefully to fit his vision.

Though guitar is almost non-present throughout the whole album, it is not needed. Hammill's distinct vocal theatrics are clearly an instrument, and a very strong one. The album is darker than I expected it to be, but there are moments of uplifting jazzy instrumental sections that act as the glue to Hammill's narration. The quartet of Peter Hammill (vocals, guitar), Guy Evans (percussion), Hugh Banton (organs), and David Jackson (sax & flute) are one of the tightest bands from the 70's that I've ever heard. They all seem to think on the same level musically, and the output strength is high in quality. Banton and Evans create a very smooth rhythm section while Jackson and Hammill give full life to each track. The best thing that I've discovered about the album in recent listens is the lack of pomposity, which seems to ruin many albums for me. The tracks are 97% flawlessly executed and very well written. A recommendation for anyone at all who doesn't have this album yet. Give it at least 3 listens before you judge it though. The 2005 remaster, by the way, is the way to go: crystal clear sound and yet it preserves that classic retro sound we all love.

The Monodrone | 5/5 |

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