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Peter Hammill

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Peter Hammill Out Of Water album cover
3.32 | 122 ratings | 10 reviews | 12% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 1990

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Evidently Goldfish (5:02)
2. Not The Man (4:23)
3. No Moon In The Water (4:35)
4. Our Oyster (5:33)
5. Something About Ysabel's Dance (5:31)
6. Green Fingers (4:35)
7. On The Surface (8:14)
8. A Way Out (7:16)

Total Time: 44:54

Line-up / Musicians

- Peter Hammill / vocals, guitars, keyboards, producer

- John Ellis / guitar (1,7)
- Stuart Gordon / violin (5)
- David Jackson / saxes (3,6)
- Nic Potter / bass (3,6)

Releases information

Artwork: John Ellis

LP Enigma - ENVLP 1003 (1990, UK)

CD Enigma - CDENV 1003 (1990, UK)
CD Fie! Records ‎- FIE 9109 (1995, UK)

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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Buy PETER HAMMILL Out Of Water Music

PETER HAMMILL Out Of Water ratings distribution

(122 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(12%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(36%)
Good, but non-essential (37%)
Collectors/fans only (10%)
Poor. Only for completionists (5%)

PETER HAMMILL Out Of Water reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by slipperman
2 stars More droning from Hammill's spotty, frustrating post-'70s work. A thin, plastic sound to all the instruments is the weakest element, an apparent hangover from the digital-age production ethic that was favored by many '70s prog artists who continued into the '80s. But what about the songs? There aren't many that one could call classic Hammill. Many come off as a kind of meeting point between New Age and Contemporary Adult Pop. Not good. Credit where it's due, Hammill sounds as pained and passionate as ever, but the material isn't that memorable. Not even familiar Hammill cohorts David Jackson and Stuart Gordon can save the lackluster songs. (And I wonder, is credited bassist Nic Mozart actually occasional Van Der Graaf Generator bassist Nic Potter?)

After wading through the first 6 songs, which are trying, dreary kinds of things, Hammill busts out two excellent pieces to end on a high note. "On The Surface" is stark and doesn't succumb to as many production flaws as the more dense material before it. He rides out his vocal choices, melodies hanging loosely in the air, an excellent showcase of his still powerful delivery. It's got the highly-emotional conviction that marks some of his most moving performances, and this quality is given an even brighter spotlight on album- ender "A Way Out". Helped by excellent lyrics, "A Way Out" is simply wonderful--a tragic and fragile piece. Hammill pulls difficult moods out of the listener with the ease of a professional therapist. It could almost be too depressing to handle if you listen with the wrong mindset. At other times, it's beautiful enough to draw tears. It's just too bad you have to wait so long to get to the good stuff on this mostly unremarkable album.

Review by Matti
4 stars In '97 I got the 'PH fever': for the first time I studied any artist's discography thoroughly in the Internet (and printed lyrics), and I started to get his albums. My expectations on Out Of Water were high as it was described having "long, calm, ethearal tracks" or something like that. But no sooner than in '01 I finally bought it.

Two first songs - mediocre pop - were nearly a shock to my expectations. 3rd, 'No Moon in the Water', was an ethearal and somewhat meditative track but boring. With 'Our Oyster' and 'Something About Ysabel's Dance' it calmed down further... hmmm, not bad. Then another crappy faster pop song, and then 'On The Surface' which dragged me deeper into Hammill's gloomy inner world, but very differently than VDGG does. The machine-like cold instrumentation felt disturbing to go on over 8 minutes. All in all I was very baffled about the plastic sound and very uneven songs.

But the highlights I grew to like more and more, including Oyster and Ysabel; in the latter Stuart Gordon's violin is nearly a solo instrument. And the disturbance of 'On the Surface' is exactly the point (though it's not for casual listening). 'A Way Out' is a stunning passionate song with spellbinding lyrics. One of his best ever. These things are enough for 4 stars despite some songs I usually skip.

Review by ZowieZiggy
3 stars After two «true» solo albums, Peter is again surrounded by some of the Graaf gang and I won't complain. I was rather disappointed with his last album ("In a Foreign Town") and I was looking forward to get a full band "solo" album.

But if one is expecting a partial VDGG effort, let me tell you that you find it here. Even if "No Moon In The Water" fully brings us back into this world, it is not yet enough to be impressive. And the least I can say is that both opening numbers aren't really thrilling either.

The listener has to wait for "Our Oyster" to feel that the great man is back. Weird lyrics, subtle backing band and Peter's delicate voice. A well known combo. But it works damned good.Just as the fine violin play during "Something About Ysabel's Dance". Well done Stuart.

"Green Fingers" is probably the first song during which one realizes that Jackson is on board. Not that his sax play is over-invading but just because you can finally hear the big man. Which is always a pleasure to my ears. One of the best track of this album.

The album ends on two longer songs, but the repetitiveness of "On The Surface" is not convincing. Eight minutes of the same notes are too long and offers little to be laudatory about. Backing vocals remind me some "Talking Heads" ones (but it is not the first time that I could find some similarities between them). Still, the guitar work in the last section does convey a nice feeling.

The story is different with "A Way Out". This one is a fantastic Hammill song: grandiose vocals and a perfect band to raise this song to the masterpiece status. Peter on the keyboards is extremely emotional; but what to say about his brilliant vocal performance? THE highlight of this album, no doubt.

The sort of songs which is raising the level of this album which otherwise would only be an average one. As such, three stars.

Review by Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars After the 80's sounding Foreign Town album, Hammill continues using the same overproduced and swollen vocals and plastic-synth sound.

On the Surface and A Way out have some potential but Hammill's vocal indulgences make them stray off the path a few times. Something About Ysabel's Dance would be the only track worth recommending to anyone who is not an devoted fan.

I feel that, with another producer, acoustic drums and other sound choices, some of Hammill's early 90s albums could have been a lot more interesting, but instead they just ended up being something that varies between good, generic, predictable, and terribly dated. It's still Hammill and in that respect still unique, but it's not what we came to expect. Nadir's very dead and buried here I'm afraid.

Review by Evolver
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
3 stars I have mixed feelings about this album. The lyrics and the songwriting are bith very good throughout this album. They are not the best from Peter Hammill, bet they are easily not the worst. And his performance is somewhat subdued. There is very little of the screaming, over- emoting Peter Hammill that can sometimes make his work difficult to listen to.

My problem with this album is the heavy reliance on synthesizer sequences, which after all of these years, sound pretty cheesy at times. Ah well, at least it's another Peter Hammill album, and there can never be anough of those.

My favorite tracks on this one are the weird Evidently Goldfish and Green Fingers. This is a nice album if you can get past the above mentioned sequences.

Latest members reviews

4 stars The frontman from VDGG is a very prolific progressive music composer and I must say, from the beginning, he is the author of an impressive prog music work from the last over almost 40 years. I find it very difficult to rate a PH album, because his music and his way of expression i ... (read more)

Report this review (#263130) | Posted by Sachis | Thursday, January 28, 2010 | Review Permanlink

2 stars Damn you Hammill, you ruined a perfectly good coaster right at deaths door. OK so even musical geniuses have to have their off days (and boy its a big one for Pete, as much as I love his music you just cannot ignore a stinker, full of half hearted songs, given in a half-hearted fashion, with ... (read more)

Report this review (#85255) | Posted by Gog/Magog | Monday, July 31, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars To be brief: Final track only will do to deserve the five stars mark. IMHO the best expression of grief of death and hope...... In some way different from "In Memoriam" from Steve Hackett's "Darktown" album, deeper, more passionate, grave but somehow... serene. Just keyboards, guitar and The V ... (read more)

Report this review (#18741) | Posted by RaphaelT | Saturday, April 2, 2005 | Review Permanlink

5 stars With this album my PH period have started and after years I still like it. It belongs to the branch of less self-obsessive albums of PH. It is very melodic (not the man), original, experimental (on the surface). Who likes VDGG will certainly like some tracks like Green fingers or Evidently gol ... (read more)

Report this review (#18738) | Posted by | Wednesday, February 23, 2005 | Review Permanlink

5 stars It`s fair to say that this cd is a highlight in Hammill`s output.After the somewhat dissapointing atempt to make a poprecord,"A foreign Town",this marked as a return to form.Exellent songs,and ditto arrangements made me listen to this one over and over again."Listen to "On The Surface" and " A ... (read more)

Report this review (#18736) | Posted by present | Friday, June 18, 2004 | Review Permanlink

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