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Van Der Graaf Generator - Pawn Hearts CD (album) cover

PAWN HEARTS

Van Der Graaf Generator

 

Eclectic Prog

4.42 | 1437 ratings

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burgersoft777
4 stars I am not going to add a great deal to what has already been said. At the time of its release most people didn't get this recording especially in the UK. VDGG where a cult band certainly not in the first division of Progsters. As far as the musicianship goes VDGG couldn't compete with the real big boys, even the compositions are amateurish and sloppy in comparison with those of Yes as an example. Some of the arrangements are clumsy or get out of hand. On the original LP release there is even a point were the engineer turns the volume down really crudely. However this is still a truly classic recording and it certainly is progressive in every sense of the word. VDGG take a lot of risks (especially on this set ) but many of them come off and make this a very interesting even essential purchase. There is a real passion behind the vocals, it becomes almost operatic in its scope and Peters voice is an important instrument, indeed P.H's Vocal are the only virtuoso performance on this record they carry the sound and the drive of the music wonderfully. The composition are without exception interesting and at times the music is very beautiful. This is contrasted against some of the most ugly and aggressive music ever recorded. It is little wonder that Fripp wanted to be part of this, and King Crimson are the only other prog band that contrast their music so sharply. I personally think VDGG are a better band than any KC line up although in terms of musical skill they do not come close. VDGG were not a super-group outside of VDGG the other musicians did not have big names. They are not classically trained super stars but they are a tremendously dedicated and hardworking band. For this reason they remain by far my favorite prog group. This record is VDGG at one of its creative peaks. Later albums would be safer and they would never again go quite so far into the darkness. The extras on the re-issue are a mixed bag. The version of W is interesting but has a few mistakes in it which may be why they re-recorded this track later. W is a gem of course even with Jaxon out of tune at times. The version of Theme One is pretty good. The tracks from the pawn Hearts period are mostly experimental and not that good. The inclusion of the extras has rather spoiled the effect of this LP ,Its a great shame they had not been found and put on the Box instead were they would have fitted comfortably. Its a great shame that the live version of Killer is lost but the live squid/octopus is on the H to He set where it fits perfectly. This remains a must have purchase for any serious collection of prog, and remains a classic.
burgersoft777 | 4/5 |

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