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Steve Hackett - Defector CD (album) cover


Steve Hackett


Eclectic Prog

3.64 | 435 ratings

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4 stars Having scored some commercial and critical success with "Spectral Mornings", STEVE HACKETT more or less maintained the formula with "Defector", which was relatively easy to accomplish given the continuing presence of a dedicated backing band. It was the dawn of the 1980s, and the fat synths of that decade were starting to creep in, and the tendency to arrange electronically rather than acoustically was in vogue, but quality songs and instrumentals with an abundance of progressive character remain the norm.

"The Steppes" is a superb opening piece in which Hackett seems to borrow rhythmically from his old GENESIS buddies, particularly MIke Rutherford, and tosses in some icy cold and sinister eastern European licks on guitar. Part of the melody rivals Ravel, and this one seems to accomplish what the title cut to "Spectral Mornings" could not, in less time. The other star instrumental is "Jacuzzi", a much cheerier and swifter piece but equally well arranged. "Slogans" might have been in the same league if it wasn't so aligned with "Clocks" off its antecedent. "Hammer in the Sand" and "Two Vamps as Guests" round out the full complement of Hackett styles, be they atmospheric "Wind and Wuthering" oriented interludes or classical guitar centered delectables.

Then there are the vocal tracks, from the quirky hard pop of "Time to Get Out", which starts oddly like "Lamb Lies Down", to the reflective and spacey ballads "Leaving" and "The Toast", which include substantial unsung parts. The weaker moments occur on "Sentimental Institution" where again he resorts to novelty song to mask lead singer anxiety, and the unctuous pop of "The Show", which would be better developed on the subsequent "Cured".

If you are a fan of late 1970s GENESIS or HACKETT but have avoided his 80s work on principle or because die-hards insist it isn't worth the effort, it's time you defect to our camp and enjoy the amenities.

kenethlevine | 4/5 |


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