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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

4.08 | 1219 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

4 stars Van der Graaf Generator has always been an interesting band and is something of an acquired taste. While they are nominally considered a progressive rock band (specifically eclectic prog) they typically eschewed the symphonic flourishes of contemporaries such as the Moody Blues, Yes and Genesis and, as such, did not receive anything approaching the radio airplay or publicity of those other bands. Although VdGG could stretch songs past ten minutes and tell mythic tales within them, there always seemed to be a darkness and anger at the heart of their music, more so than their peers.

"The Least We Can Do Is Wave To Each Other" (1970) could be considered to be their first album in the format that VdGG fans have become accustomed to, much harder and harsher than their psychedelic debut "The Aerosol Grey Machine" (1969). As much as their debut looked backwards at the psychedelic movement and perhaps was late to the party, "The Least We Can Do..." looked forward...anticipating early 1970s Genesis and heavily influencing Fish-era Marillion. Distorted organ, throbbing bass and swelling horns dominate the music with Peter Hammill's vocals, sometimes shrieking and sometimes whispering, provide plenty of drama.

The opening track "Darkness(11/11)" provides a mission statement or blueprint of sorts, showcasing Hugh Banton's aggressive organ playing, Nic Potter's pulsing bass and David Jackson's virtuoso horn playing. The next track "Refugees", along with "Out of My Book", showcases a more gentle side of the band and is vaguely reminiscent of Genesis, though the resemblance is probably coincidental given that this album was released in the same year as Genesis' first good album ("Trespass"). One almost wonders if VdGG influenced Genesis, because it almost certainly does not seem to be the other way around.

"White Hammer", "Whatever Would Robert Have Said?" and "After the Flood" are among the album's other highlights, mining the same dark, angry musical territory as "Darkness"...especially the last track. The bonus track "The Boat of Millions of Years" is also highly worthwhile. The album's only useless track is the redundant single version of "Refugees", which is included in some versions as a bonus track. While this album may not be quite as classic as "Pawn Hearts", "Godbluff" or "H to He Who am the Only One", it is still a remarkable album and is ahead of its time.

Fenrispuppy | 4/5 |


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