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


Van Der Graaf Generator


Eclectic Prog

4.06 | 942 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Marc Baum
Prog Reviewer
5 stars Review of Van Der Graaf Generator - "The Least We Can Do Is Wave To Each Other" Remastered Edition

The debut "Aerosol Grey Machine" was more an Peter Hammill solo album than an real band work, all the songwriting and composing was under his direction. With the second record things changed radically. Any single member brought on creative ideas for the new record and finally this is the "real" VDGG debut. The band started to write longer, epic-styled songs like "Darkness", "White Hammer" and "After The Flood", which were all on the same high level and showed the independence of creativity, that the band explored to this point. In view on this, I feel somehow reminded on the process of Genesis after their debut, and the maturity on their second album. Musically you can't compare these two bands at all, but in historical point of view there are definitely some similaritys.

The remastered cd version by EMI released in 2005 is the definitive edition. It contains an digital mastered, larger sound, by far superior to the old version. The extensive sleevenotes, lyrics and band biography are essential items for the listener, to understand the background and involvements surrounded. The band also talks about compositional freedom inside of the booklet, and the album was recorded in four intensive days, full concentration by the members to deliver a great job, and that's what "The Least We Can Do." finally is, specially this remastered cd. There are also two bonus tracks, which are short, but round up the album perfectly. The first bonus track is "Boat Of Millions Of Years", which is a nice simple song, the second is the single version of "Refugees", with different arrangements and ideal fade- out for the finnish of the record. To that more later.

Track by track:

01 - Darkness: The title of the song is perfectly chosen - It says all about the band and their (new) image and they really started to discover it here. This song is magical, dark and colourful at the same time. An furious start all the way! (Track rating: 9/10 points)

02 - Refugees: This was the first song I've heard by them and brought me to tears as I heard it the first time. If there is one representative ballad for symphonic prog, that would be it. The song is about leaving home and go to another place to live there (a personal written piece by Peter Hammill). One of the most moving songs in prog! (Track rating: 9.5/10 points)

03 - White Hammer: An epic with an scary, harsh ending part, interestening lyrics and dark atmosphere throughout the song. (Track rating: 9/10 points)

04 - Whatever Would Robert Have Said?: A piece with relaxed intro but a wild, proggy middle-part, great guitar-work in the ending part. Variation in a nice way. (Track rating: 8/10 points)

05 - Out Of My Book: The second ballad on the album, with once more personal lyrics by Peter Hammill. The instrumental work is simple, but very effective, especially the acoustic guitar is very good, also the organ. Peter Hammill's voice is very sentimental and shining too. Nice piece! (Track rating: 8.5/10 points)

06 - After The Flood: The closing track of the original record and an fascinating epic. The song is about over eleven minutes long and isn't as aggressive as "White Hammer", but very beautiful, the flute part after three and a half minutes reminds me a bit on Jethro Tull, but that's only a personal opinion. Check it out, I somehow imagine Ian Anderson on flute here! The song is getting faster after more than five minutes and the saxophone of David Jackson takes a big part in duality with Hugh Banton's volcanic organ playing. (Track rating: 9/10 points)

Bonus Tracks:

07 - Boat Of Millions Of Years: The original album is already over, now there comes the first bonus track, which is in a simplier style, but with an anthemic chorus and memorable arrangements. Counts the album up a little bit (if this is possible). (Track rating: 8/10 points)

08 - Refugees (single version): Single version of the beautiful Refugees, seems like a revisition on the end of the record and rounds it up very well, that's how I like to have an album closed. That version is also quite different to the original version, with few different arrangements in instrumentation. This version was also part of a soundtrack, read more in the booklet. (Track rating: 9.5/10 points)

That was my review about this remastered edition of "The Least We Can Do Is Wave To Each Other", I highly recommend it to all prog/VDGG fans, even to those who have the old version of the album. If you want to be up to date, watch out for this superior cd in packaging and sound quality. I look forward to review the other VDGG Remasters in the next few days.

Record rating: 9 + 9.5 + 9 + 8 + 8.5 + 9 + 8 + 9.5 = 70.5 / 8 tracks = 8.8125 = 9

Van Der Graaf Generator - "The Least We Can Do Is Wave To Each Other": 88 % = 9/10 points = 5/5 stars

point-system: 0 - 3 points = 1 star / 3.5 - 5.5 points = 2 stars / 6 - 7 points = 3 stars / 7.5 - 8.5 points = 4 stars / 9 - 10 points = 5 stars

Essential: a masterpiece of progressive music

Marc Baum | 5/5 |


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