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Peter Hammill - The Noise CD (album) cover


Peter Hammill


Eclectic Prog

2.79 | 87 ratings

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Tom Ozric
Prog Reviewer
3 stars Over the years, Peter Hammill has shown his listeners that he can keep up with current trends in his own clever way, without actually 'selling out'. Around this time, P.H. has divided his albums into the 'A Loud' series and those he perceived as belonging to the 'Be Calm' series (like the previous album 'Fireships'). 'The Noise' is Hammill's 1st installment of the 'A Loud' series, and offers us songs mostly in an A.O.R. vein (!), with the odd 'Progressive' composition that we can come to expect. The musicians helping him out on this one are Nic Potter (Bass), David Jackson (Saxes/Flute), John Ellis (Guitars) and Manny Elias (Drums). Oddly enough, particularly concerning the Drums, the sound of the production suffers from a somewhat 80's hangover, which seems to influence the overall enjoyment of the album, and it's not as loud as it could've been. Side 1 of the record (Greek pressing on 'Chameleon' records, for the vinyl obsessive) features 4, mainly catchy tracks, where I feel Hammill could've had a hit on his hands somewhere along the way - a song such as 'Like A Shot, The Entertainer' is most difficult to erase from the memory after just one listen - indeed Hammill's sense of melody and compositional structure proves he can rival the most commercial artists of the time, but maybe his unique voice hinders him from hitting the motherlode ?? 'A Kick To Kill The Kiss' and 'Celebrity Kissing' are both conventional pieces that have his unique stamp on them, but lack a sense of adventure, therefore rendering them as weaker tracks. Title song 'The Noise' is more like it, the bellowing vox and the 'heavier' arrangement - this is the type of song which gives a nod to his wonderful band VAN DER GRAAF GENERATOR. On side 2 we have 'Where The Mouth Is', which is a rather straight-forward hard-rocker but the vocal expression is priceless. Jaxon's horns couldn't save 'The Great European Department Store', which has some cool lyrics giving stick to consumerism and the 'I buy, therefore I am' mentality, but musically is another slab of intelligent A.O.R. 'Planet Coventry' features an inspired rhythm jumping between 7/4 and 4/4, and a strong Bass presence from Potter, with a darker feel. A criticism I can find is Hammill's choice of keyboard voicings, which remind me of 'Doogie Howser' for some reason - don't ask.... The entire affair closes with a masterpiece - 'Primo On The Parapet' (8min38) which is a top-notch tune full of dramaticism, intensisty and inspiration, and reason alone to purchase this album. Definately not a 'sell-out' by any means, but perhaps some of the most accessible material one is likely to hear from this phenomenal musician. 3.5 stars.
Tom Ozric | 3/5 |


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