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Steve Hackett - Spectral Mornings CD (album) cover


Steve Hackett


Eclectic Prog

4.14 | 856 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
5 stars This review of Spectral Mornings is based on the new remastered version, complete with bonus tracks. This is, of course, considered by many to be one of, if not the best of Hackett's solo works. And it certainly ranks up in his top five, although I cannot say it is his best as his music is so diverse it depends on the listener's mood which album grabs him, or her. 'Every Day' opens the album in fine style. An up tempo song, it is one of my favourite all time Hackett tracks. For those who haven't heard it, the first half of the song, the verse and chorus, in no way indictates the beautiful guitar work which dominates the second half. I can listen to this song again and again. Stunningly melodic, it is a classic Hackett track. 'The Virgin And The Gypsy', the song which follows, is another of my faves. A very gentle, haunting ballad, with gorgeous harmonies, a strength of Hackett's which he was to use again and again on following albums. Really lovely this one, with beautiful flute work from famous brother John. 'The Red Flower Of Tachai Blooms Everywhere' is an instrumental track, with strong Oriental flavour to it. Very relaxing and pleasant, it fits in nicely with the previous track's ambience. 'Clocks' is, or was, a concert favourite. Powerful guitar work dominates this instrumental. 'The Ballad Of The Decomposing Man' is another of my favourites. It is absolutely hilarious, with Steve, every the southerner, impersonating the archtype northerner, George Formby, to great effect. Like his old band, he is a master at creating humorous songs. This is a scream. 'Lost Time In Cordoba', which was the first track on side two of the old vinyl, is a beautiful acoustic piece, the type Hackett is a master of. 'Tigermoth' is another classic. Superb guitar at the beginning, when he makes his instrument impersonate a falling aircraft, amidst the aak akk and flack, it brings shivers to me. Not an original concept, as guitars have done this sort of thing before,as well as impersonating birds. But there is something about this one... the song then settles into an old fashioned war song, nicely sung by long dead chums. And the simple but effective guitar that fades out the song is satisfyingly atmospheric as well. And finally...the rather well known title track 'Spectral Mornings' ends the album proper. One of the great instrumentals, I will say no more, except to say everyone should hear it. A truly beautiful piece. There are seven bonus tracks on here, and they are all decent. The live acoustic set, which I had originally on the 12" single of 'Clocks' is stunningly played. Also, the alternate version of 'Every Day', which has the guitar mixed in slightly differently, is important, as it lasts a little longer, and has a different ending, one where the whole track slows down and mellows out as it fades. Excellent. The other alternate versions are closer to the originals, but with subtle differences, mainly in the vocal department. The best of these is probably 'Ballad Of The Decomposing Man', where the 'Office Party' section has more things going on than the original. This album is a must-have for all Hackett, Genesis, and prog fans in general. Oh yes, and the remastered version has tremendous sound quality; louder, crisper and clearer than the original. A worthy addition, probably a masterpiece. If you don't possess it, why?
chessman | 5/5 |


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