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Van Der Graaf Generator - Pawn Hearts CD (album) cover


Van Der Graaf Generator


Eclectic Prog

4.42 | 1953 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
5 stars The final album of Van der Graaf Generator's first run (they'd come back for another go with Godbluff after a rest) sees all the promise of the previous albums coming to a head, with some of the band's darkest, most emotive, and most complex material on display. A Plague of Lighthouse Keepers, being the sidelong track, gets a lot of attention, but props have to also be given to Lemmings and Man-Erg; between them, the three tracks give a series of different musical and lyrical takes on themes of loneliness, social conformity, and the contradictory impulses that live in all of us - pretty timeless affairs, all told.

I'll leave it to others to sing the album's praises further and just point out that if you have the remasters of this and H to He Who Am the Only One, you can make a neat little playlist of the main tracks and the last three bonus tracks from this one (which are three solo compositions by Hugh Banton, Guy Evans and David Jackson) and the awesome live-in-the-studio rendition of Squid 1/Octopus/Squid 2 from the bonus tracks to H to He, to get as close to a reconstruction of the original double album concept as we're ever likely to get. Amazingly, this actually enhances the experience; the solo compositions are simple enough to cleanse the palette after the emotional rollercoaster of Plague of Lighthouse Keepers whilst at the same time having sufficient experimentalism to feel like they belong here, whilst the workout of old Aerosol Grey Machine represents some of the most furious VdGG playing ever captured in the studio, lending a new aggression and polish to the piece. Give it a try!

Warthur | 5/5 |


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