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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

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Prog Sothoth
5 stars I dig how the opening ambience actually sounds like an aural representation of the album cover. I'm not sure what exactly is going on, but it's cool, spacey and it's a bit dark. Created in late 69 and released in early 70, "Least..." is the sound of some psychedelic rockers awakening from some far-out celestial voyage at some crumbling ruined city, and lost amidst all the rubble are wondering "Where are we and what the hell happened?" The 60's are over, Peace and Love is a done deal, uncertainty and fear remain.

One of the best musical representations of the year 1970, even if created just a bit earlier and wasn't exactly a representative concerning Billboard charts & such, this album captures a sense of desperation, sorrow, fear and tenseness that few others could at the time. There's still some psychedelic rock flavor here, which is probably why I find this album to be my favorite of theirs so far, and the first I really really enjoyed (Still Life and even Pawn Hearts haven't quite clicked). There's also a ton of experimental prog with some gloomy and downright bleak passages that are occasionally offset by some lighter pastoral sections, which is always a good way to strike a sort of vividness to the heavier portions of a musical piece.

All of the songs range from excellent to astounding (yes, there's a difference...I think), with "After The Flood" in particular being not just an incredible and harrowing tune, but a convincing death knell to the "summers of love", with everything being flushed away to prepare for a new dawn, so to speak. "White Hammer" is another corker, with it's wild lyrics depicting the Inquisition alongside some odd verses.

"White Hammer no more is beaten"

Every once in a while my sick mind interprets things in a genuinely wrong fashion. Interpreting the last couple of minutes of "White Hammer" though is quite easy. It's as dark as any dungeon-like early Goth music and utterly foreboding without the need of distorted guitar wails. The sax can be quite an effective instrument for sure.

There's a lot to enjoy within this, in my opinion, masterstroke of art, from the heartfelt delivery of "Refugees" to the acid guitar freakouts in "Whatever Would Robert Have Said?" and plenty of little moments here and there throughout the album as a whole. The dated production doesn't really detract from the musical experience for me, and the variation, song lengths, and overall package make this a no brainer as an important document in the growth of progressive rock and the boundaries it can encompass. The musicianship is fantastic and excessively creative in the songwriting department without going overboard in the 'freakout' department, and the vocals are theatrical and suit the music well without ever striking "annoying" territory. This is pretty much my kind of jam.

Prog Sothoth | 5/5 |


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