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Peter Hammill - Fool's Mate CD (album) cover


Peter Hammill


Eclectic Prog

3.79 | 392 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars Recorded in just over a week, this is a grab-bag of early Hammill solo material - a series of songs composed during the early Van der Graaf Generator days which tend to be too simple and/or short for consideration for the group's own albums. It's therefore a bit less serious than subsequent solo albums produced by Hammill, in periods when his solo albums were his major creative outlet, and the opening Imperial Zeppelin makes that clear, from the goofy lyrics to the VdGG-gets-happy music to the a capella portion at the end.

This isn't to say that the material here is necessarily lightweight; Hammill's lyrical skills are as adept as ever, and several songs stand out as true gems. Happy is a perfect slice of late-60s psychedelic pop, Vision has stayed in Hammill's solo set for ages, and Viking - co-written with VdGG co-founder Chris Judge-Smith - seems to allude to Refugees from The Least We Can Do Is Wave To Each Other, both musically and lyrically with its allusions to some far-away West.

Ultimately, if you wanted an album to really get the measure of Hammill's solo work, this isn't the one to get, but if you want a slightly jumbled collection of early Hammill compositions in a sunnier and more approachable vein than most of his musical output, this is the one to get. It's probably the happiest album the man's ever done.

Warthur | 4/5 |


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