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Peter Hammill - Sitting Targets CD (album) cover


Peter Hammill


Eclectic Prog

3.53 | 162 ratings

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Prog-Folk Team
3 stars In setting out to review at least one album by each of the prog rock "big N", where N is some number < 10, I have discovered that Van de Graaff Generator is sometimes included in that number. While I never acquired anything by this group, I had been drawn to several solo songs by its leader Peter Hammill. In fact, back when this album was current, I heard and was very taken with the opening cut "Breakdown" and its slow buildup and cut-loose chorus on my campus radio station without finding out who did it. Only when I bought the album on the basis of several other interesting cuts did I rediscover the song with glee.

First of all, this is not easy music to listen to, not particularly melodic nor accessible. Hammill can be harsh, and doesn't so much sing as shout. Yet there is an underlying musicality unfettered by the 1980s sound, quite an achievement given the time of release. Apart from "Breakdown", tracks like "Ophelia", "My Experience", the title cut, and "Sign" all show an uncompromising verve that is propelled by Hamill's guitars and Morris Pert's punchy percussion.

Only being familiar with a small proportion of this man's catalog, I cannot say how this stacks up, except that it has a good number of potent moments and a denseness of sound that stands repeated listening. Not a masterpiece, but certainly no sitting target for critics either.

kenethlevine | 3/5 |


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