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Van Der Graaf Generator - Still Life CD (album) cover


Van Der Graaf Generator


Eclectic Prog

4.29 | 1449 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars The best of 2nd era VDGG.

Competes with Godbluff for best of the 2nd era, you really can't go wrong with either one. I find this album more complete and more polished. No one single track particularly stands out, although La Rossa is my favorite here, and the only real flaw I see is My Room.

Pilgrim is somewhat of a flashy song, with a brilliant sax line. It could easily be a song on Godbluff similar in style to Arrow and Scorched Earth. The next track, Still Life emphasizes a solemn tone, with soft organs backing Hammill's story-telling vocals. This leads to a dynamic instrumental section, and then back to a quieter, backing organ.

La Rossa is one of the few tracks with guitar by Hammill himself (rather than Fripp) that I like. My favorite part about La Rossa however is the different percussion employed to back the creative sax/organ interplay. It really helps to build the vocal sections and add another flavor to an easily recognizable classic VDGG sound. The ending here fits perfectly as well.

My Room is a bland track to these ears. It's more jazzier and laid back, Hammill's voice is deeper here as well, and it sounds more like a cafe song to me than anything else. It's a nice little track, but it doesn't do much for me.

Childlike... is one of the most disparaging tracks VDGG have written, and their have been many, so you know it's pretty bleak. Lines such as "Even if their is a heaven when we die" wouldn't be the thoughts of an optimist. This track reminds me somewhat of Plague of Lighthouse Keepers, even if the eccentricities are much more pulled back. I see it as such mainly for its structure and the importance of the lyrics to the music.

The second best VDGG album, and the place I would look to for new fans to the band. I say here, rather than Pawn Hearts, because I feel that album is perhaps most difficult to get into and most standoffish to casual listeners. Of course, this all depends on your interpretation of Hammill's intriguing vocal delivery.

OpethGuitarist | 4/5 |


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