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Steve Hackett - Defector CD (album) cover


Steve Hackett


Eclectic Prog

3.65 | 464 ratings

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Cygnus X-2
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Hackett's first album of the 80s shows him in transition from his past to newer, more mainstream influenced music. You can hear the seeds planted for his future two albums Cured and Highly Strung in this album, but this album totally surpasses those two albums. There are some wonderful instrumentals on this album, but you can also find some interesting AOR based songs and songs that could have fit on his following two albums. Overall, though, there is a lot of merit in this album and it should in my opinion be more highly regarded among Hackett fans.

The album opens with one of the strongest Hackett instrumentals ever in The Steppes. A sparse flute introduces the main theme of the song, which is then joined by a steady drum beat and a droning taurus pedal note. The song itself has a very Egyptian feel musically and it really evolves quite nicely with some great soloing from Hackett. Time to Get Out, as the other reviewers of this album mentioned, is a more straightforward rock composition with some nice vocal harmonies and a great offering on the guitar from Steve Hackett. Certainly not prog, but not a bad piece of music at all. Slogans is the second best song on this album after The Steppes, in my opinion. A forboding keyboard tone in 5/8 introduces this song, and it really hits home with some great tapping work from Hackett and some brilliant keyboard work from Nick Magnus.

Leaving and Two Vamps as a Guest are musically linked tracks, with the first being a great harmony based flute/keyboard song and the second being the same motif from the first, but this time with an acoustic edge. Jacuzzi is another wonderful instrumental with some great swirling flute and guitar melodies that shift seamlessly between sections of 7/8 and 5/4. It's the third best song on the album right behind The Steppes and Slogans. Hammer in the Sand is another instrumental that is led by some wonderful piano work from Nick Magnus. Another truly outstanding song on this album. The Toast is a pretty commercial sounding track that has no real invention or even any little complexities from Hackett what so ever, it seems like a flagrant excuse for a hit single in my eyes. The Show carrys on the same vein of Time to Get Out, it's not the best song on the album, but a strong piece in the end. Sentimental Institution ends the album on a humorous note in the vein of Are You Ready Eddy? on ELP's Tarkus album. It's a bit of a comic number with some definite references to that 40s Jazz pop style and really ends the album on an uneven note.

In the end, Hackett's fourth studio album is seen in most fans eyes as a weak one, but I truly love this record. Granted it's not as good as Voyage of the Acolyte or Darktown, but it's certainly an achievement for Hackett. I'd rate it the same as Spectral Mornings, which is another fantastic record from the guitarist who seems to be all over the place stylistically. 4/5.

Cygnus X-2 | 4/5 |


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