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Van Der Graaf Generator - Godbluff CD (album) cover


Van Der Graaf Generator


Eclectic Prog

4.48 | 1998 ratings

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4 stars A 'comeback' album for VDGG. Before Godbluff, there wasn't a clear seperation between VDGG albums and Peter Hammill's solo albums. Some of VDGG's earliest albums were originally intended to be Hammill solos; his early solo albums feature members of VDGG on them. Starting in 1975, with Godbluff and Nadir's Big Chance, there was a clear seperation of what was a "Peter Hammill' record and what was a 'Van Der Graaf Generator' record.

This album starts with the weakest song and ends with the strongest. Here you have the usual organ/drums/sax but there is also some clavinet and flute. The bass parts are played by keyboardist Hugh Banton. "Undercover Man" begins with some flute. This is the most accesible track on Godbluff. Later on there is sax and clavinet. "Scorched Earth" is the closest to sounding like Pawn Hearts. This is the only song not written by Hammill alone. The whole album has great lyrics but this song has one of the best lines: "nowhere to turn, unless it's to stone". Hammill's clavinet playing sounds like a guitar on "Scorched Earth". Before 3 minutes his vocals are modified by studio effects. Before 8 minutes the music gets more intense with some great drumming.

"Arrow" starts with very jazzy drumming. Some weird vocals and jazzy sax. After the vocals start there is a nice clavinet/flute part. Things pick up with a steady drumbeat around 5 1/2 minutes. Peter does some of his most intense singing on this song. Some nice wah-sax here as well. "The Sleepwalkers" is the best song on Godbluff. Some good cowbell in this song; even VDGG could not resist the temptation of the cowbell. After 3 minutes there is a great part that doesn't last very long. What do you call this kind of music? Tango? Bossa Nova? Latin jazz? I don't know but it sounds great and works really well within the context of the song. Around 4 1/2 minutes there is some really great organ playing. This leads into a great rockin' groove. There are overdubbed Peters singing. At the end the clavinet almost sounds like an acoustic guitar.

Although Pawn Hearts is their masterpiece, this or H To HE... would make a better introduction to the band. They would never make an album quite as strong as Godbluff again. The following albums are still great just not as great as this. 4 stars.

zravkapt | 4/5 |


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