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Van Der Graaf Generator - The Aerosol Grey Machine CD (album) cover

THE AEROSOL GREY MACHINE

Van Der Graaf Generator

 

Eclectic Prog

3.28 | 622 ratings

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SonicDeath10
4 stars My inclination is to rate this album nearly a five stars. I agree with George Starostin's essential view of the album: a delightfully psychedelic album that is much different than later period VDGG. It's lighter in tone musically, with more simple song structures and melodies and lyrics that are well...not quite as simple as the lyrics from Fool's Mate but pretty naive.

However, this album can make a strong case for the songwriting talents of Hammill. Later efforts can seem like a lot of empty noise to many people but the compact melodies and riffs of this album show a man capable of writing a pop song. It is also very diverse, for VDGG, with light weight acoustic musings paired next to heavy swirling psychedelic epics juxtaposed with music hall piano poundings! All VDGG albums sound different from each other but all the songs in an album sound similar and create a certain mood: it's what makes them masterpieces of mood. However, they do almost always lack the diversity found in this album.

George compared this to Syd Barrett and while I think that's a bit of a stretch, there is a similar sense of simplicity and psychedelic musings. Peter Hammill is a very complex and weird musician, which is especially notable in his solo career. The man wasn't put on this Earth JUST to belt out metaphysical lyrics on top of complex organ, sax, bass, piano, guitar and drum arrangements. It may be what many of his fans prefer him to do but the man is capable of a lot more and this album shows that. Had it been released as a Peter Hammill solo album (as it almost was) maybe others would consider it different.

As high as I praise this album it only gets a four from me because I almost never listen to it. I usually reach for H to the He, Pawn Hearts or Godbluff first. This is strange because I love the album: I think there is some slight personal psychological reason. Oh well. Great album. Investigate it later, though: if you love it, you may hate the rest of VDGG and if you love the rest you may hate this album.

SonicDeath10 | 4/5 |

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