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Van Der Graaf Generator - Present

Van Der Graaf Generator - PresentSo after twenty seven years, in their former glory, Van Der Graaf are back together. This new album is a two disc set and contains over a hundred minutes of that classic sound.

After a brief chat with David Jackson at Whitchurch 2003, I asked if there were any plans to reform, he suggested that it was going to happen, and now there are some gigs and of course the new album.

Both David Jackson and Peter Hammill have been active, David on the first album from Tangent (see review) and Peter with Italian legends P.F.M, and to see this classic line up perform live again must be a event worth seeing.

On the Present album, disc two is just improvisations filling the ten tracks, while the first disc contains six tracks and is just like stepping back in a time warp and hearing VDGG for the first time. Peter Hammill still has the manic voice that sends shivers down your spine, while the saxes from David Jackson are on top form with his trademark sound. The rumble of the organ hasn't gone away from Hugh Banton, and Guy Evans still has that trademark drum sound which is a lot of cymbals.

First track Every Bloody Emperor could have been on any of the first few albums, but as Pawn Hearts is a favourite of mine, I can safely say that these new tracks fit very well into the back catalogue. Peter's poetic lyrics and distinct vocals are a highlight on this first track. The David Jackson penned Boleas Panic is next, which is a slow moving sax solo with the throaty organ sound just underneath it. Third track Nutter Alert is which again Peter Hammill goes into his well known vocal chants, along with the fills from the organ.

Abandon Ship! is the track to hide among the older albums, because it is like the old classics sound wise, and wouldn't be out of place at all. In Babelsberg has the forceful guitar and sax riff in sync, while the gentle On The Beach closes the first side complete with sounds of waves.

This is a great album for any VDGG fan, and I for one am looking forward to the live shows very soon.

Danny Mayo

Van Der Graaf Generator



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