|FuzzLogic.com - Van der Graaf Generations|
Record Review Reprint
To my mind, this is where late period Hammill properly starts. The sound has a much more modern and processed feel to it which I am not terribly keen about. Still, the material is strong. Evidently Goldfish opens and has that spark of Hammill originality. A nice attention to detail and a driving mid-ranged delivery. A successful mixture of the enigma with a modern approach. This album is successful largely in virtue of its diversity which is one of Hammill's most endearing traits. Perhaps the heterogeny is narrowing somewhat at this point in his career however, possibly, I think, due to the production style which does not lend itself to particularly wide-ranging treatments. No Moon in the Water is nice, evidencing Hammill's preoccupation with Zen philosophy (the title refers to the final line of a well-known Zen story) and featuring some nice wind playing from David Jackson. A high point is Something About Ysabel's Dance. A spirited and original piece with fine vocals and violin in a darkly romantic piece about the indefinable qualities still to be found in an undefined tourist infested resort. Green Fingers is not particularly inspiring. A taste of things to come on later albums I am afraid. The final track A Way Out deserves special mention and ranks amongst Hammill's finest along with tracks like Silver, In the End. Hammill sings with passion one of those phonetic themes it is hard to damage with gratuitous attention to semantic content. A worthy album, if nothing too outstanding. There was to be better and worse to come.
© 1996 Phil Kime
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