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Van Der Graaf Generator - The Least We Can Do Is Wave To Each Other CD (album) cover

THE LEAST WE CAN DO IS WAVE TO EACH OTHER

Van Der Graaf Generator

 

Eclectic Prog

4.03 | 674 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Wicket
Prog Reviewer
4 stars "The Least We Can Do Is Wave To Each Other" will go down in history as, not only a progressive rock album with a very interesting title, but as the record that jump started a British leviathan that would take the prog world by storm, even if they were hiding in the shadows the whole time.

"Darkness (11/11)" would definitely start that trend. Even though there were many albums in the future where Peter Hammill sounded like crap, his vocal performances on this album, and particularly on the aforementioned "Darkness (11/11)" and ballad "Refugees" would send him to stratospheric heights in comparing him to the likes of David Gilmore and Jon Anderson as some of the most iconic voices in prog rock history. Wheras the former was a showcase of musical talent, as well as David Jackson's flaming saxophones, the latter was a cool breeze in the autumn air, a ballad that showcased everything beautiful in life. Quite a contrast in the first two tracks, but a unique quality that made the is band famous.

"White Hammer" would switch back to the guitar chugging shield that would back Hammill's heart-piercing spear of a voice. It develops into an almost free-flowing jam with Jackson once again taking the lead with his saxophone until it dissolves into Nic Potter's lone fuzzy bass before a dark, ominous beat takes center stage, once again fronted by Jackson's mutated saxophone (easily similar to the sax playing evident in The Mars Volta's music).

"Whatever Would Robert Have Said?" is an interesting change of pace from the long spaced out jams of "Darkness" and "White Hammer". After a great intro by Hugh Banton, it sort of falls into a sort of "Jethro Tull-esque" jam, with acoustic guitar and wonderful overlaying harmonies by Jackson and Banton. It's a very nice song and Potter shows off some good licks. Great melody, great harmony, very exciting track.

Speaking of "Jethro Tull-esque", "Out Of My Book" is straight from that book. Hammill and Jackson pair acoustic guitar and flute to wondrous amazement. This is where Hammill really starts to shine vocally. A nice ballad with folk elements that reveals the softer, less hectic side of this British outfit, and another quality element that would increase their popularity in the years to come.

Finally, the record concludes with "After The Flood" which, once again, starts off in that brash intro with Hammill crooning in spears mouths and Branton once again with a great intro. It's a wonderful epic and a fantastic finish to a fantastic album. There's no loss of excitement here as each beat comes with it a uniqueness completely original to VDGG, which is why this is one of the most critical prog albums of the decade.

The '70's heralded the emergence of prog rock, and Yes, Pink Floyd and Kansas answered the call in the name of symphonics and elaborate passages. Van Der Graff Generator, however, took the low road to focus on more than just symphonics and high pitched vocals. This album, along with King Crimson's "In The Court Of The Crimson King" would spark the emergence of eclectic prog. Essential for any follower of this outfit and this genre.

Wicket | 4/5 |

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