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Peter Hammill - In A Foreign Town CD (album) cover

IN A FOREIGN TOWN

Peter Hammill

 

Eclectic Prog

2.84 | 94 ratings

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JackFloyd
2 stars I guess some people like this stuff, but dated production and average songs spoil it for me.

Perhaps Hammill was feeling left behind by this time and wanted to try out the new ways of music, or wanted to update the do it yourself style that made The Future Now so irresistible. But whatever it is, In A Foreign Town does very little for me in almost every sense.

Sure, PH is one of the best singer-songwriters ever, but here he just sounds like trying to rip-off every artist from the 80s while trying to maintain the path he began to tread with Skin. Sure it isn't so, but the territories he explores here where already done in a much better way by other musicians and bands, and Hammill almost always sounds fake when covering universalist themes, because when he does so he rarely includes feelings of his own.

The highlights for me are "Hemlock", which is very ominous and would be much better if not in this context; "The Play's The Thing" is a relief since it's only Hammill and his piano; "Invisible Ink", a catchy number with one of Hammill's best identity-related lyrics since "Mirror Images" perhaps; and "Time To Burn" written as a tribute to deceased Charisma boss Tony "Strat" Stratton-Smith, is a classic, moving, song, even if the drum machine does everything except keep time. As for the rest, I guess it all has to be taken as a product of it's times, but "Sci-Finance" works better as a punk tune, here, with a new wave treatment, it's almost a new Talking Heads song including a bridge with the riff from "Money (That's What I Want)", and "Auto" is too weird to come to life in an environment this synthetic, but the rest of material ain't much better either.

Looking at the good side of things, there's finally a place for the fans of synthpop to become acquainted to Peter's music, and Hammill himself grew to a better producer and learned how to make decent drum machine patterns, but better yet, he quickly got away from this sort of record.

JackFloyd | 2/5 |

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