Friday, April 17, 2009

Van der Graaf - The Quiet Zone/The Pleasure Dome

5/10

This isn't a Van der Graaf Generator album. Instead, it was released by "Van der Graaf," whose shortened name probably had something to do with the fact that David Jackson and organist Hugh Banton left the band. However, they weren't replaced with new members their instruments (although Jackson guests on two tracks), resulting in a band that has lost most of what made it unique. So it's little wonder that the name was shortened.
Replacing them is violinist Graham Smith, whose playing is just generic as hell on an instrument I've never liked much in the first place (both the electric and acoustic variations). This album is definitely the most commercial that the band ever produced; there's nothing chaotic or dark about it at all (except for the excellent track "Chemical World," the one song on the album which manages to recall the band's previous sound). The only reason that this doesn't get an even worse grade is that it never veers into incompetence and isn't exactly unpleasant to listen to.

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