Van Der Graaf Generator - Still Life CD (album) cover


Van Der Graaf Generator


Eclectic Prog

4.28 | 1132 ratings

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3 stars Needs a bit of movement and direction...

For me, an easy and initially engaging but ultimately wearying listen. At first, the music engulfs the listener in a rich groove and washes of full Hammond. The only initial obstacle is Hammill's slightly over-enthusiastic warbling, which has somewhat precious tendencies. However, obstacles are meant to be overcome - especially when the music is of this sort of quality, and the lyrics give plenty to chew on.

A fine organic ebb and flow introduces the album, and, although there's nothing remarkable or particularly memorable going on, the music is very much "for the moment", and provides a comfortable easy chair for the mind to relax into, despite Hammill's dark and somewhat angst-ridden vocals. There's nothing particularly outstanding about the first two songs - they're just nice. It's the texture of the music that tempts us in deeper.

La Rossa combines a magical groove with imginative shifts in texture and mood. It sadly is not perfect, as it becomes altogether too raucous for my liking towards the end, with sax and keyboards apparently battling it out after a particularly impassioned vocal section. Several times, the texture and direction appears to get lost - but at least the ending is possible.

My Room is a good place to be... if I may put it like that. A beautiful if slightly over- loose jazz groove winds its way around melancholic vocals. The only real criticism I would offer is that the bass tends to be a bit directionless and uninteresting - otherwise a smooth track, one that stands out without trying to.

Childlike faith in Childhood's End somehow fails to maintain the interest, throughout its' epic length - although all the right noises are made... with the exception of Hammill, who maintains a wearying level of intensity with little light and shade or sensitivity to the lyrics.

There are interesting episodes, when it feels like it might all come together, but generally it all seems a bit aimless and directionless.

...which last paragraph sums up this album as a whole, really. Definitely one for the fans - but I wouldn't say Fans/Collectors only, as I am sure that many would get something out of this album. I don't think it's an essential album, but really, every self- respecting prog collection should have at least one VDGG album in it. This may not be the one though.

Certif1ed | 3/5 |


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