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Steve Hackett - Darktown CD (album) cover

DARKTOWN

Steve Hackett

 

Eclectic Prog

3.79 | 309 ratings

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ZowieZiggy
Prog Reviewer
3 stars Steve renews with a more prog sound with this album. Finally!

The first two songs are definitely on the Crimson edge, dark (but this is "Darktown", right?) and scary. Even Steve's voice fits "Darktown" alright. At times, one gets some disjointed moments which inevitably reminds the master in the genre.

The first number to fully remind his earlier work is "Man Overboard". A brilliant and peaceful intro, but as soon as the vocals start, I must say that the beauty is seriously altered. I have never been found of Steve's vocals. Just because they are not great. And the addition of these orchestrations was probably not the best idea.

The same feeling repeats with most of the sung tracks; as if Steve (or his entourage) was not conscious of these limitations. Of course, I discovered the man in 1973 while he was the silent and so brilliant "Genesis" guitar holder. Neither a thank you came out of his voice during a concert (at least the four ones I attended). For the best of his albums, Steve was very much inspired to invite great vocalist (but not all the time) or produce lots of instrumental pieces.

In this album, almost each track features vocals. And even when a guest provides them like during "Days of Long Ago" I can't say that the experience is thrilling. And I prefer to close my ears while listening to the very average "Dreaming with Open Eyes" even if the work on the acoustic guitar is extremely good. Sorry, Steve. You have done much better in the past.

How great this album would have been if more tracks like "Twice around the Sun" would have been featured. A great and inspired piece of music. Fabulous and passionate guitar track like Carlos (Santana of course) could have released. The highlight of this album (but so far very little could have retained my attention). If ever you think I'm too harsh with Steve, you know where my taste is.

These symphonic moments are really superb. I'm just asking for more.

The closing number is another good song. The impressive list of guest musicians won't compensate the average song writing. Still, it has been quite a while (five years since Guitar Noir) that Steve didn't produce such an album.

Three stars.

ZowieZiggy | 3/5 |

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