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Van Der Graaf Generator - World Record CD (album) cover

WORLD RECORD

Van Der Graaf Generator

 

Eclectic Prog

3.82 | 699 ratings

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someone_else
3 stars

Van der Graaf Generator released World Record as the third album of their second period, within a year after Godbluff and Still Life, their two greatest masterpieces. The album opens with "When She Comes". This track starts with soft flute sounds and Peter Hammill's voice joining in. The track becomes rather enjoyable when the organ enters, but although it grew on me after a few listens, it always gives me the feeling that it lacks some melody or harmony and that it needs a bit of fine-tuning.

"A Place to Survive" may have a bit of the same harsh features, but nevertheless it is my favourite track on the album. The band is playing tightly here and the instrumental second half of the track has a psychedelic feel in which Hugh Banton's organ plays a starring role.

"Masks" is a rather mellow, melodic track, much easier to get into. Hammill's vocals are less shouting than in the previous tracks. The lack of a final chord may give the listener an unsatisfied feeling, but it is very suggestive and combines well with the lyrics somehow.

"Meurglys III (The Songwriter's Guild)", a 20+ minute track, starts promising, with some complex rhythm patterns; the time signatures seem to shift to and fro between 19/8 and 21/8. But when the song proceeds, it becomes increasingly boring. I have to force myself to keep my attention to it, if I don't want it to fade away after 10 or 11 minutes. It ends with a lengthy reggae-like jam, of which I can hardly imagine that it was ever intended to come further than Headley Grange. But if I want to hear British reggae, I prefer UB40. The only positive thing I can say about "Meurglys III" is that it has more structure in the music than their previous epic, "A Plague of Lighthouse Keepers", but I am convinced that this band's strength lies within the 6-13 minute range.

If you have the patience to eat yourself a way through this riceberg (owning a vinyl copy played on a pick-up without remote control - like I do - may prove to be helpful), a delicious dessert awaits: "Wondering" is a symphonic track, dominated by keyboards. The passage from 1.5 to 2.5 minutes with organ and flute is the highlight of this album, a magical moment. This track has a repetitive ending, but this does not diminish it.

This album has its ups and downs, but the ups are still in the majority here. Nevertheless it is not on par with Godbluff and Still Life, but this is not a shame: two masterpiece albums within one year is a great achievement, three would be a world record. 3.5 stars.

someone_else | 3/5 |

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