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Steve Hackett - Till We Have Faces CD (album) cover


Steve Hackett


Eclectic Prog

2.42 | 223 ratings

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1 stars Were you one of those kids in school whose teacher would give you a low grade on a writing assignment while giving your stoner friend a decent grade, then tell you it was because she “expected more from you”? Well, that’s how I feel about this album.

Not that I’m a big Genesis fan; in fact, I’m not a fan at all. ‘Wind and Wuthering’, maybe 'Trick of the Tale'. That’s about it. And I’m not much of a Hackett fan either, but I do own ‘Please Don’t Touch’ and ‘Voyage of the Acolyte’. Both of those are varied and interesting albums, but everything he did after seemed to either be underachieving or blatantly commercial. This album is both.

It doesn’t help this came out during a very, very bad time for progressive music. Other than half-decent albums from Marillion and Rush there was almost nothing being produced that was worth picking up in 1984. R.E.M. maybe, just because they were a bit novel and interesting at least. Oops, I said 'progressive' music though.

But this thing is a heaping pile of commercial crap, and displays virtually every eighties musical and stylistic cliché that decade is know for. Piles upon piles of synthetic keyboards, sequenced and digital drum tracks, simple and danceable beats interspersed with faux ‘world’ percussive sounds that only the inept would consider authentic. And above all insipid lyrics that completely fail to grab the imagination, inspire, entertain, or even spur any emotion beyond boredom. Is boredom an emotion?

From the embarrassing calypso/mambo digital midi-sounding “Matilda Smith…” to the suspiciously Disney soundtrack-like “Taking the Easy Way Out”, this album smacks of an attempt to leverage the technical skill of the various musicians who performed to take advantage of an unusually stupid and low-reaching musical public. And yes, I count myself among that group. I did after all buy Queen’s “The Works” that same year and consider it a stellar album. Not now of course, but I think my point is made.

The closest Hackett comes to delivering something worth playing more than once is “Let Me Count the Ways”, but even here the white-collar blues guitar riffs chafe my eardrums after just a few listens. And by the way, A Flock of Seagulls could have done “A Doll That’s Made in Japan” just as well and probably delivered an appealing video to boot!

So this should probably be a two-star album, since Hackett fans are quite loyal and I’m sure a lot of them bought this thing. But like I said at the outset – I expect more of someone with the musical lineage of Steve Hackett, especially if I’m going to actually spend my money on something spawned from a band I don’t find particularly interesting. If Hackett really needed to pay the bills he should have at least given Phil Collins or Peter Gabriel a ring: at least they were putting out pop music in the eighties that was easy on the ears. One star.


ClemofNazareth | 1/5 |


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