Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Van der Graaf Generator - H to He, Who Am the Only One

7/10

FUTURE PUGS: I've decided that this album's second half is just too aimless, with instrumental sections that aren't atmospheric like the ones on Pawn Hearts or interesting in any other way. I have downgraded this album to a 7 from my original score of 9. I still love the first side, though.

Okay, this is where things really started to gel. The songs here encapsulate everything I love about the band; David Jackson's wild reed soloing, intriguing organ lines, lyrics that are interesting (if not always comprehensible) and great vocal performances by Hammill. My personal favorite song on here is "House With No Door," a lonely piano ballad with none of the anger of other VDGG songs, but all of the isolation and melancholy. "Killer" is also one of my favorite songs in the band's catalog; it's the polar opposite of "House" in mood, but still has that world-weary attitude.
The second side isn't quite as strong as the first, with just two songs that go on just a little bit longer than they should, but it's still full of interesting melodies and moods so it's all fine by me. Apparently, this album has a lot of scientific references in it, with the album title being a reference to hydrogen and the song title "Pioneers over c" refers to the speed of light (as in E=mc squared), but my ninth-grade science teacher scared me off of physics forever so I don't really get the point of them.
Oh, and "The Emperor in His War Room" features a guest guitar performance by Robert Fripp.

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