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Steve Hackett - To Watch The Storms CD (album) cover

TO WATCH THE STORMS

Steve Hackett

 

Eclectic Prog

3.77 | 373 ratings

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ZowieZiggy
Prog Reviewer
3 stars This album is difficult to approach. It holds so many different styles that it sounds as a musical travel.

Truly symphonic moments aren't too many. But the early stages of this work holds two of them : Strtton Ground and "Circus Of Becoming" (but only partially) will bring you back in time (you know, the seventies...). If you are into KC, I guess that "Mechanical Bride" will please you, but it is on the hard and noisy edge. Not for me, I'm afraid.

One of his most bizarre song ever written might well be "The Devil Is An Englishman" (together with "Vampyre With A Healthy Appetite". Steve's vocals are quite dark If, on the contrary, you prefer the acoustic facet of the master, you will like the Spanish guitar during "Wind, Sand & Stars". He shows again his love for this type of music and have to say that it is a fine moment from this album.

His latest album to date ("Tribute", which was released in February 2008 is a tribute to a great Spanish musician. On his web-site Steve says, I quote : What can be said about Andrés Segovia that hasn't been said already? Let's just say on the nylon guitar his playing informs my every note! I wrote this as a tribute to his eternal influence. I guess that it says sufficient about his feelings. "The Moon Under Water" follows the same route.

A song as "Brand New" holds different themes : acoustic guitar to start with (as if it were a continuation of the previous track), melodic vocals, a pop and dynamic chorus, intricate sax, some AOR-ish parts with heavy drumming and even aerial keys-guitar interplay. One has even the impression to listen to the intro for "Baba O' Riley" ("The Who") just before the fourth minute. Too much for me.

The romantic (mellow?) ballad style is also present. "This World" features a pleasant melody combined with some great electric guitar notes. A bit too popish. A piece as "Rebecca" also mixes several identifiable sections (but mostly limited to the soft and light aspect of Steve's work, which I prefer).

I guess that it is all but normal that a song as "The Silk Road" is closely Oriental related in its initial phase. Lots of percussion and disjointed moments. It could have been interesting to get Phil on the drums command here.

The closing number also flirts with the nice symphonic style I praise so much. One general comments is that I feel that vocals are better than usual (but this applies to the whole vocal tracks here). I don't know whether he cried for help, but brother John plays a wonderful flute part here. What a pity that there aren't more of these magical moments on this good album. My favourite song from "Watch The Storms".

I believe that the diversity of this work doesn't play in favour of its consistency. It is a good album but not of the calibre of some of his (very) early works. But you might know which side of his work I like more.

The remastered edition holds four bonus tracks of which Fire Island should have fitted better on his album Blues With A Feeling. The orchestral Marijuana, Assasin Of Youth has a crooney style closer to Ferry's solo career than Steve's one. After a minute or so, it changed brutally from style to investigate in the pure rock'n'roll mood. Upbeat, extremely dynamic. And to close this long chapter, another gentle acoustic moment with If Only You Know.

These bonuses are just like the album. Going into totally different directions.

Three stars for these "Storms".

ZowieZiggy | 3/5 |

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