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Steve Hackett - Please Don't Touch! CD (album) cover


Steve Hackett


Eclectic Prog

3.59 | 569 ratings

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Cygnus X-2
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Steve Hackett's second solo release (and this time he was completely out of Genesis when he made it) sees him treading new ground and trying to get away from that Genesis sound that could be heard on his debut Voyage of the Acolyte. On this album he draws from a range of influences and brings on an ensemble of musicians ranging from Steve Walsh and Phil Erhart of Kansas to his old drummer when he toured with Genesis for Wind and Wuthering and former Zappa alum Chester Thompson. What you'll find here is a man unsure of what he wants his sound to be. There are uplifting ballads, there are fun rock 'n roll ditties, there are brooding instrumentals, and there are acoustic interludes. The diversity on this album is staggering and you can hear the ideas flow forth as you listen to the album, but it doesn't always come out so beautiful.

Narnia opens the album with a fun piece about that far off place and childhood in general. The vocals are fun as well, opening the album on a rather lighthearted note. Hackett's guitar on this track is very fun and there's a very interesting chord progression underneath. Carry Up on the Vicarage is a bit off an odd tune, with some modulated voices in the vein of Peter Gabriel's on The Grand Parade of Lifeless Packaging on The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway. It's one of the more experimental tunes in his catalogue, seguing from that vocal based intro to a strange organ interlude. Racing In A is another fun tune that has some great lead from Hackett and some strong vocals from Steve Walsh. I must also mention some standout keyboard work on this track as well. Kim is one of Hackett's most recognizable instrumentals (named after the love of his life, Kim Poor). It's a quiet acoustic guitar/flute duet that brings up memories of Horizons but really stands on its own as a fantastic piece. How Can I? is a straight up ballad that features some vocals that sound eerily (in my opinion) like Gordon Haskell, and if you read my review for King Crimson's Lizard, you'll know that I hate Haskell's vocals, so right from the get go I wasn't terribly impressed with this song.

The same thing goes with Hoping Love Will last, which despite having some nice female vocals from Randy Crawford. I'm not terribly impressed with this piece, despite the creative instrumentation. Land Of a Thousand Autums/Please Don't Touch are my favorite two pieces of the album. The first acts as an opener for the second, with the main chords being played by an anxious mellotron before becoming a full blown rock piece. Some great interplay with the time signature 5/8 and has some sublime guitar work from Hackett, it's probably one of his best instrumentals ever and it's my favorite piece on the entire album. The Voice of Necam acts as an acoustic interlude before the closer of the album Icarus Ascending. It has a great organ feel as if it could fit in some B movie, but it's rather interesting as well. Icarus Ascending ends the album in epic fashion, with a ripping tale of Icarus. Some great guitar work from Hackett and vocals from Richie Havens are the main strong points of this song, for sure, and it ends the album well.

In the end, Hackett's sophomore effort shows a man unsure of what direction he wants to take. It's not a bad record by any means, but there are songs I could deal without on this album and some pieces are a bit too experimental for Hackett. Other than that, though, this album has some wonderful pieces on it that most people should like. It's far from Hackett's best album, but it's not his worst by a long shot. 3.5/5.

Cygnus X-2 | 3/5 |


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