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Steve Hackett - To Watch the Storms CD (album) cover


Steve Hackett


Eclectic Prog

3.77 | 410 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
2 stars Hackett's main collaborator here is Roger King as was in Darktown. I took a look at the ratings of his later albums and to my surprise noticed that this one has slightly better rating than many others, although I personally have liked those other albums more. Well, there are no big differences anyway, since Guitar Noir from 1993. They all have some very fine compositions and a lot of mediocre stuff too, and perhaps as albums they are a little bit too similar with each other - compared to his earlier output.

This one was a disappointment, not so much as a collection of songs, which is at least almost up to the average Hackett standard, but as for its sound. Many songs I would have otherwise liked are ruined by the plastic-like treatment of vocals (ie. the use of vocoder). How I miss his old habit of using guest vocalists! For example 'Rebecca' (inspired by the Du Maurier novel and the Hitchcock film) suffers from that use of vocoder. Songs like 'Mechanical Bride' or 'Brand New' with its too repeated irritating chorus represent Hackett at his worst.

Two beautiful instrumentals, 'Wind, Sand and Stars' (inspired by Antoine de Saint-Exupery's book of the same name) and 'The Moon Under Water' are the most succesful tracks. This department is something he never fails with. But I'm afraid there's not a single song that would become my personal classic such as 'In Memoriam' from Darktown. And I wonder why he chose to cover a silly Thomas Dolby song. Each track is introduced briefly by Steve below the lyrics (compare e.g. Out Of The Tunnel's Mouth), but I find those phrases quite vain. The music should be speaking for itself. For example, the pain of lost love ('This World') needs no underlining. OK, it's nice to learn that his dad sold paintings at the open air art fair every Sunday, but does it make 'Serpentine Song' sound any better?

I'd rate this three stars if there weren't those faults of plastic-like sounds. I know that two stars (mine is the first low rating actually) may look too rude for a professionally made album with several good things in it, but I let my rating reflect my disappointment.

Matti | 2/5 |


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