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Van Der Graaf Generator - The Quiet Zone / The Pleasure Dome CD (album) cover

THE QUIET ZONE / THE PLEASURE DOME

Van Der Graaf Generator

 

Eclectic Prog

3.65 | 635 ratings

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alextorres2
5 stars "The Quiet Zone/The Pleasure Dome" is Van der Graaf Generator's seventh studio album and was originally released in 1977, nearly 30 years before they were to return with an eighth, 2005's "Present".

Of all of the band's albums, it has a very unique soundscape: Hugh Banton (keyboards etc) and David Jackson (saxes, flutes etc) had left in 1976 due to family pressures and had been replaced by Nic Potter, who had previously played on a number of the band's albums, and Graham Smith, the ex-String Driven Thing violinist who had been helping Peter Hammill record his latest solo album. Graham's violin playing in particular gave this album a very distinctive sound. In addition to these sound changes forced by the alterations of the band's members there were also significant compositional changes - perhaps as a result of the punk revolution, or for some other reason, the album contained 9 short (well, short for VDGG anyway!) songs, as opposed to their previous compositional style of fewer extended pieces. Perhaps because of these changes the band shortened their name to Van der Graaf for this album only (and its associated live tour, by which time Jackson had rejoined).

The result, for me at least, is one of their most pleasing and most accessible albums. It is rockier and punchier and the musical textures brought by Graham Smith suit the style of the music to perfection. There is plenty of melody that shines through both in Graham's playing and in Hammill's singing. I think that they brought in these changes without losing the essence of the VDGG sound though and pieces such as "The Habit of the Broken Heart" and "The Siren Song" would have graced any VDGG album under the "normal" line-up. However, my favourite piece from the album is "Cat's Eye/ Yellow Fever" where Graham's violin playing raises the song to perfection.

For me, it is a shame is that the band split up soon after this and we were to hear no more of Graham's brilliant playing integrated with the VDGG sound.

Excellent album!

alextorres2 | 5/5 |

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