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Van Der Graaf Generator - Second Generation (Scenes from 1975-1977) CD (album) cover


Van Der Graaf Generator


Eclectic Prog

3.35 | 45 ratings

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3 stars Review Nš 153

'Second Generation (Scenes From 1975-1977)' is a compilation of Van Der Graaf Generation and was released in 1986. This is a compilation that includes tracks from four studio albums of them, their fifth studio album 'Godbluff', released in 1975, their sixth studio album 'Still Life', released in 1976, their seventh studio album 'World Record', released also in 1976, and their eighth studio album 'The Quiet Zone/The Pleasure Dome', released in 1977.

'Godbluff', 'Still Life', 'World Record' and 'The Quiet Zone/The Pleasure Dome' belong to their second musical period. About these four albums there isn't a consensual opinion among all the progressive rock fans, or even with the band's fans. Relatively to 'Godbluff' and 'Still Life' is commonly accepted that they are two truly masterpieces, being 'Godbluff' also considered one of the best albums ever made. 'The Quiet Zone/The Pleasure Dome' is in general considered one of their weakest albums from the 70's, with their debut studio album 'The Aerosol Grey Machine'. With 'World Record' the opinions are slightly divided, because some people considered it an excellent album too.

'First Generation (Scenes From 1975-1977)' has nine tracks. The first track 'The Undercover Man' was taken from 'Godbluff'. It begins with Hammill's voice in a low timbre, accompanied by Jackson's flute and Evans' drums. The track develops, with a slow crescendo of Hammill's voice and Banton's organ. This is one of the most beautiful songs created by the band. The second track 'Scorched Earth' was taken from 'Godbluff'. It's a traditional band's track. This is a darker, aggressive and complex track. It has a great work by Jackson on saxophones, well accompanied by Hammill's aggressive vocals. It represents the closest track to their previous album, 'Pawn Hearts'. The third track 'The Sleepwalkers' was taken from 'Godbluff'. It represents the highlight of 'Godbluff'. This is the lengthiest track on that album and is one of their best songs. The fourth track 'Pilgrims' was taken from 'Still Life'. This is a very good track to open 'Still Life'. It starts with a gloomy and melancholic note, along with your own mood and then slowly pulls out its melancholy, ending in a not of an optimistic message. There is a beautiful Banton's organ with soft vocals from Hammill, but Jackson's saxophones make the real mood here. The fifth track 'Still Life' was taken from 'Still Life'. This is a very dark song that speaks about the death and one's own resignation before the death. It's about the consequences of the immortality and the inevitable paradoxes of the eternal life, if there is such kind of thing. It starts with Hammill's singing and Banton's playing organ. The song grows with intensity all over it. The sixth track 'When She Comes' was taken from 'World Record'. This is a song related with Peter's personal love affair. It relates how unstable and unpredictable the relationships are, and how we can live with a person that we didn't know as well as we thought. This is a very sarcastic song with with an excellent saxophone and organ works by Jackson and Banton. The seventh track 'The Siren Song' was taken from 'The Quiet Zone/The Pleasure Dome'. This is a very calm and beautiful song conducted by piano and violin. It's a very melancholic and acoustic song with deep vocals. This is a song that came directly from the past with the same dark atmosphere of their previous albums. It seems a reminiscent of 'Pilgrims'. The eighth track 'Cat's Eye/Yellow Fever (Running)' was taken from 'The Quiet Zone/The Pleasure Dome'. This is my favourite song on that album. It has a fantastic violin work which demonstrates the technical virtuosity of Smith, which raises this song to the perfection of a masterpiece. This is a very frantic and heavy song with an excessive vocal approach by Hammill. The ninth track 'Wondering' was taken from 'World Record'. It's the song that ends beautifully 'World Record'. This is a hymn with a note of hope and desperate questions. It's an optimistic song with great lyrics supported by high quality Banton's keyboards. It brings to us the hope that we need after the breakup on a relationship. It tells us we can return, arise and survive in this world. This is also a nice and perfect way to close this compilation too.

Conclusion: This is another compilation of Van Der Graaf Generator with a great selection of tracks. Relatively to the selection from 'Godbluff', 'The Undercover Man', 'Scorched Earth' and 'The Sleepwalkers', are absolutely perfect. Still, if 'Arrow' had been selected, it would have been perfect too. Relatively to the selection from 'Still Life', 'Pilgrims' and 'Still Life', it's excellent. But, I would have preferred the inclusion of 'La Rossa' instead of 'Still Life'. Relatively to the selection from 'World Record', 'When She Comes' and 'Wondering', it's also perfect. Still, I'm very sad that 'Masks' couldn't be included on it. Finally, and relatively to the selection from 'The Quiet Zone/The Pleasure Dome', 'The Siren Song' and 'Cat's Eye/Yellow Fever (Running)', it's once more excellent. In my opinion, 'Cat's Eye/Yellow Fever (Running)' is the best track on the album. 'Siren' is also one of the best tracks, but if it had been replaced by 'Last Frame' or 'The Wave', it would have been nice too. However, and as happens with so many other progressive compilations, it doesn't can substitute those albums by any mean. So, it's only good and not an essential purchase.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

VianaProghead | 3/5 |


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