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


Steve Hackett


Eclectic Prog

3.77 | 374 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars With this album Steve Hackett proved that, of all the legendary prog guitarists of the 1970s, he was the one who had the best ideas left. It's especially instructive to compare his situation with that of his old rival, Steve Howe, who keeps churning out album after album of mediocre instrumentals. I can't think of a single Steve Howe record that brings tears to my eyes, but TO WATCH THE STORMS certainly does. Furthermore, this is by far the most varied AND the most unified Steve Hackett album I have heard; it convinced me that, so many decades after leaving Genesis, Hackett is still developing artistically.

Not all this material is top-drawer. The first seven tracks are fascinating, but after that some of the songs sound a little cloying. Both 'This World' and 'Rebecca' would have benefited from less indifferent lyrics and stronger lead vocals. The gorgeous mazurka (!) 'Come Away', which features tin whistles and Steve himself (I think) playing the harmonica, cries out for a rousing (preferably female) singer. But 'Come Away' WILL put you in a good mood, and the two tracks following it (on which the album concludes) must be among the best Hackett has written.

So what are THE STORMS' highlights? Well, there are many:

- I especially enjoyed the dreamy, mainly acoustic opening track ('Strutton Ground');

- Also, the gorgeous church organ-and-lead-guitar outbursts in 'Circus of Becoming' (Rick W., eat your heart out!);

- 'Mechanical Bride', which sounds like a 21st century update of '21st Century Schizoid Man', without getting too derivative (I just LOVE all that controlled mayhem!);

- The thoroughly romantic 'Wind, Sand and Stars', which features some of Steve's loveliest classical guitar;

- The wonderfully exciting guitar rock of 'Brand New', which simply took my breath away;

- And finally, the closing track, 'Serpentine Song', the Hackett brothers' gorgeous tribute to their father, who sells paintings just outside Hyde Park, London (at least I hope he still does): a delicate melody, embellished with magnificent solos on classical guitar, flute and (finally) sax. Imagine having your sons perform such a song for you!

You may have doubts about symphonic prog as a genre, in which case this album is probably not going to convert you. But if you've ever enjoyed Hackett's or Genesis' music, the many colours of TO WATCH THE STORMS won't leave you unimpressed.

fuxi | 4/5 |


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