9 Songs, 44 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Peter Hammill is the sort of artist who concedes just enough to conventional taste to allow his most challenging ideas to be appreciated. While his output at the helm of Van Der Graaf Generator remains formidable, his solo offerings since the ‘70s may be even more provocative in concept and execution. Singularity ranks high in Hammill’s canon, recombining many of his familiar motifs in striking ways. The veteran prog-rocker played all of the instruments here, giving the tracks a compelling intimacy. Songs like “Famous Last Words” and “Naked to the Flame” reaffirm his disquieting lyric touch and European chanson-like melodic sense. Hammill walks a delicate line between defiance and fatalism, stopping to offer such nervously sentimental vignettes as “Meanwhile My Mother” and “Friday Afternoon.” “Our Eyes Give It Shape” and “Vainglorious Boy” show he can deliver punchy (if somewhat bent) rock tunes, while “White Dot” finds him confronting chaos amidst a swirling sound collage. Hammill’s parched, anguished vocals add to the prickly hothouse atmosphere.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Peter Hammill is the sort of artist who concedes just enough to conventional taste to allow his most challenging ideas to be appreciated. While his output at the helm of Van Der Graaf Generator remains formidable, his solo offerings since the ‘70s may be even more provocative in concept and execution. Singularity ranks high in Hammill’s canon, recombining many of his familiar motifs in striking ways. The veteran prog-rocker played all of the instruments here, giving the tracks a compelling intimacy. Songs like “Famous Last Words” and “Naked to the Flame” reaffirm his disquieting lyric touch and European chanson-like melodic sense. Hammill walks a delicate line between defiance and fatalism, stopping to offer such nervously sentimental vignettes as “Meanwhile My Mother” and “Friday Afternoon.” “Our Eyes Give It Shape” and “Vainglorious Boy” show he can deliver punchy (if somewhat bent) rock tunes, while “White Dot” finds him confronting chaos amidst a swirling sound collage. Hammill’s parched, anguished vocals add to the prickly hothouse atmosphere.

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