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Steve Hackett - Spectral Mornings CD (album) cover


Steve Hackett


Eclectic Prog

4.14 | 856 ratings

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Symphonic Team
3 stars A band new morning

Spectral Mornings was a major step forward for Steve Hackett after two quite disappointing albums. His debut album, Voyage Of An Acolyte, is far from being the masterpiece it is often said to be and the title of his second album, "Please Don't Touch", should be taken as a warning not to touch it (despite a few good moments)! Spectral Mornings fares much better by comparison. In my opinion it was with this third album that Steve Hackett really started to find his own identity as a solo artist. As a guitarist he had, of course, found his own distinctive style several years earlier with Genesis, but it was first with Spectral Mornings that he began to find his identity as a writer, singer and band leader. In that sense Spectral Mornings was the first true Hackett album. However, despite some really excellent moments, this album too fails to be as strong as people say it is and, in my opinion, Steve would make better albums later on. Including his next one, Defector.

The opener here, Every Day, and the closing title track are clearly the best two songs here and they stand out above all the rest. Too bad not everything in between them is as good. Virgin And The Gypsy is good, but nothing that blows me away. It was with this album that Hackett began blending influences from World Music into his brand of Rock. The Red Flower Of Tachai Blooms Everywhere is a Japanese influenced piece played on a Koto, a traditional Japanese instrument. Very nice, but not particularly memorable.

Clocks (The Angel Of Mons) is a very experimental guitar piece with a very strong presence of percussion instruments. Hackett had not been so experimental before, at least not with the confidence he seems to have here. A very good track that became a live favourite.

Lost Time In Cordoba is a very typical Hackett classical guitar piece with some wind instrument also present. Not one of his better, but it seems that every one of his albums needs to have one or two of these (which I love!).

Hackett's previous (and several of his later) albums are inconsistent and disjointed. Having several different vocalists on different tracks, and not being able to fuse the many different styles of music together, into a coherent whole are some of the usual problems. As I have said, Spectral Mornings comes closer to a unified whole than his first two albums, but it is far from perfect. I don't understand why Steve always has to put songs like The Ballad Of The Decomposing Man on his albums, what is the point? Is it supposed to be humour? Also the vocal part of Tigermoth seems out of place and brings this album down a bit.

Steve Hackett would go on to make many further albums in the 80's, 90's and 00's, several of which are even better than this one. On his next album, Defector, Steve would perfect the style he explored with this album and thereby make an album that is a bit more consistent and works better as a whole despite the absence of such major classics as Every Day and Spectral Mornings.

Recommended, but not as essential as people say

SouthSideoftheSky | 3/5 |


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