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Peter Hammill - In A Foreign Town CD (album) cover


Peter Hammill


Eclectic Prog

2.88 | 104 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
1 stars Why do so many Hammill fans buy records like this, knowing they aren't all great and that we won't listen to them often? Because between Van Der Graaf Generator and his many solo albums, we know we'll always be rewarded with something worthwhile; even the worst albums usually have a song or two to make the trip worthwhile. 'In A Foreign Town', unfortunately, is the least remarkable album that Hammill has ever been involved with (at least, of the 25 or so that I'm familiar with). I can only recommended it to masochists, like me, who need to hear everything this intriguing artist has recorded. The album is a miserable slog of a journey, bleak and cold tunes made even colder by a sterile recording job. Even the promise of a re-worked V.D.G.G. song, "Sci-Finance", is not capitalized upon, feeling stiff in its dumbed-down new-wave styled production (robotic drums, cheesy guitar sounds, etc.). Things sink much further with "This Book", which I find to be the hardest Hammill-penned song to listen to, flirting too much with new-age adult pop strains for my liking. "Auto" is another offender, hinting at Gary Numan/Kraftwerk sort of stuff, something I can't deal with and something even fans of that sort of stuff probably wouldn't find all that impressive. Most of the other songs arent so much awful as they are faceless. Only "Time To Burn" is up to the man's usual standards, a song with a real depth of wisdom, an introspective downbeat to the rest of the album's more upbeat, dance-able (yes..."dance-able") material. Inexplicably there's an instrumental version of "Time To Burn" at the end of the album, an idea he would later employ to better effect on 1996's 'X My Heart' album with "A Better Time". "The Play's The Thing" is also quite you get two downcast bits of beauty on this otherwise way-too-dippy album.

No, I don't hear a lot on 'In A Foreign Town' that can be recommended to any but the most rabid Hammill completist. Part of the problem is the fact that Hammill generated all of the sounds, as opposed to having real live musicians with real wood-and-string instruments lending a hand. This helps give the album that sterile quality noted earlier, but it also isn't his best clutch of songs either.not by a longshot.

slipperman | 1/5 |


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