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Van Der Graaf Generator - Pawn Hearts CD (album) cover


Van Der Graaf Generator


Eclectic Prog

4.43 | 2151 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

2 stars "Pawn Hearts" is commonly voted by progressive rock fan purists as their favourite Van der Graaf Generator album. I am not one of those purists and, for me, it is their least pleasing album.

Chronologically sandwiched between "H to He Who Am The Only One" and "Godbluff" this album suffers from less discernable melodic writing in both the vocal and musical parts and from a rhythmic structure that does not move me. I need either one of those features (or preferably both) to really appreciate my music, so am left a bit cold by "Pawn Hearts". Good progressive rock music contains those elements - this does not!

Not that it's a complete disaster: the three musical pieces that make up the original album are certainly complex and there are moments in all three that I enjoy but the overriding sensation is not one of pleasure. It's a pity because that feeling also means that I find it really difficult to concentrate on Peter Hammill's lyrics when I'm not enjoying the music and they are usually one of the highlights of the band's music, but I couldn't tell you what they are like on here, despite listening to the album quite a few times!

The bonus tracks are interesting but don't lift the overall CD up by a great margin - "Theme One", which was released as a single and became the signature tune to the Friday Night Rock Show on Radio 1 in the 70s, is my favourite of these - melody and rhythm in one - bingo!

For any newcomers to the band, unless you're an absolute "progressive rock" obssessive, then go for the more melodious albums - the ones already mentioned and "The Least We Can Do Is Wave To Each Other" are all better places to start.

alextorres2 | 2/5 |


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