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Peter Hammill - Over CD (album) cover


Peter Hammill


Eclectic Prog

3.97 | 308 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars With Van der Graaf Generator in a state of flux following the departure of David Jackson and Hugh Banton, Hammill took some time to lay down a solo album featuring the talents of Guy Evans, Nic Potter and Graham Smith - all of whom would end up forming the core of the reconfigured and reimagined Van der Graaf.

A concept album surrounding his messy divorce, Hammill recounts how he recorded the piece at a sufficient distance from the split itself that he was able to gain some perspective on things - thus the album also includes Crying Wolf, a prog-punk piece of self-criticism reminiscent of Nadir's Big Chance (it's like Rikki Nadir stepped in to tell Hammill to pull himself together and stop lashing out at people) and Autumn, which posits an alternate path where the split never happened and both parties ended up miserable.

The meat of the album, though, consists of Hammill exploring the raw pain that resulted from his wife abruptly leaving him, and doing so in a brutally honest manner. The prog singer- songwriter approach of Chameleon In the Shadow of the Night makes a mild return here, bolstered by Hammill's greater confidence with his guitar, and the piece as a whole is a stark, stripped-down affair closing with a heartwarming crescendo as Hammill acknowledges that things are, bit by bit, getting better once more.

Whilst it's not a dazzling masterwork of symphonic prog complexity, it is an emotionally genuine album in which Hammill shows an unprecedented level of honesty and directness with the audience. Marillion fans with sharp eyes will have noticed its presence (along with Fool's Mate) on the cover of Fugazi, and it was probably this album which inspired many neo-prog artists to address more down-to-earth issues as opposed to the metaphysical and allegorical meanderings of previous prog lyricists. A triumph for Peter Hammill as a songwriter and lyricist, and a truly unique album in his discography, but not one for those who seek complexity above all over considerations or are uncomfortable with raw emotion.

Warthur | 4/5 |


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