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Steve Hackett - Feedback 86 CD (album) cover


Steve Hackett


Eclectic Prog

2.56 | 161 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Total eclipse of the prog

Following his return to a band environment with GTR, Steve Hackett set about writing tracks for a second album by that band in 1986. GTR however split up following various disagreements, and Hackett began instead to record his follow up to "Till we have faces". For one reason or another, the songs on this album were not released at that time, although several have appeared in modified form on subsequent Hackett albums. This collection however only saw the light of day as an album in its own right in 2000.

The album actually boasts an excellent guest list. Chris Thompson (Manfred Mann's Earth Band) provides much of the vocals, Bonnie Tyler also sings, Brian May (Queen) adds a second lead guitar on a couple of songs and Pete Trewavas and Ian Mosley of Marillion form the rhythm section on track one. Nick Magnus provides keyboards and drum machine rhythms on virtually all the tracks.

The thing we notice straight away as the opening track unfolds that this album has the same commercial leanings as the GTR album. "Cassandra" is an up tempo pop rock number, with a catchy hook and a repetitive refrain. Personally I enjoy it, and I would not criticise Hackett simply for seeking a more direct path for a change. The following "Prizefighters" is a slower ballad type song featuring the fine voices of Chris Thompson and Bonnie Tyler. It has the atmosphere of songs such as Tyler's "Total eclipse of the heart", complete with a pure AOR guitar break by Hackett. Once again, a pleasantly enjoyable pop number.

Things do become just a bit too gooey on songs such as "Slot machine", a totally anonymous pop rock song which even Chris Thompson cannot save and "Don't fall" fares just as badly. After a fine intro, Hackett takes on lead vocals himself for "Stadiums of the damned", a disappointingly ordinary number given the first minute or so.

"Oh how I love you" borders on the cringe-worthy, but Thompson's voice suits such songs well, lifting it out of the ordinary. Magnus's simple, sympathetic piano contribution is just about right, Hackett being relegated to a distant supporting role. Steve's only solo spot is the acoustic guitar solo "Notre Dame des Fleurs", a simple "Horizons" like piece.

The album closes with its longest track, the 7+ minute "The gulf". Here we have something much more in line with what we might expect from a Hackett solo album, the track featuring dramatic keyboard bursts, distorted vocals and some incisive guitar. Ironically for the most distinguished and diverse track on the album, it features contributions from only Hackett and Magnus.

OK, maybe this is not Steve's finest hour, and certainly from a prog point of view it offers little. We must remember though that the songs here were mainly written for GTR, and as such, were intended to fit in with that band's commercial style. Heard on that basis, there is some pretty good material here, plus a couple of smelly ones. Those who enjoyed the GTR album should pop by though.

The belated release of this album includes a plethora of MP3 tracks (20 or so running to 78 minutes in all) from other Hackett albums. Also present are two from Chester Thomson's "A joyful noise" album, and two from Ian McDonald's "Driver's eyes" (one of which is the excellent "Let there be light").

Easy Livin | 3/5 |


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