CD Reviews

Steve Hackett - 'Please Don't Touch!' / 'Spectral Mornings' / 'Defector'

Added by Central Electronic Brain     April 15, 2018    
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The original albums re-mastered: new stereo & 5.1 Surround sound mixes, B-sides, alternative versions, live recordings and bonus tracks.

If the cost of the very impressive fourteen disc 'Premonitions' box-set was too expensive for a person's wallet they now have the option of purchasing three of the constituent albums individually with the same features; original album re-mastered, new stereo mix, 5.1 Surround sound mixes (courtesy of the ubiquitous Steven Wilson), B-sides, alternative versions, live recordings and bonus tracks.

I'm biased when it comes to Steve Hackett as I consider him to be an icon of the Progressive music genre. That's not to say he's flawless, I don't like absolutely everything he's produced, but his success ratio is exceptionally high when one considers the volume of his output since leaving Genesis. The albums under review here are amongst the strongest of his twenty plus studio releases, indeed I'd go as far as saying they are pivotal, not least because they created the benchmark for the variety, eclecticism, inventiveness and sheer quality of his work. It may be nearly forty years since I first heard these albums but I vividly recall the excitement and satisfaction they generated after just one play.

Fireworks - The Ultimate Magazine For Melodic Rock Music

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Far from being "just" a guitarist, Hackett is a composer who first and foremost creates songs. These excite, sometimes challenge, but which are always interesting and rooted in great themes and melodies. The tracks don't always rely on guitar either but when they do, they are invariably sublime as he makes his solos and instrumentals sing without words. A case in point being 'Seven Cups' – a bonus track on 'Please Don't Touch' – which is predominantly a piano piece with guitars underpinning rather than leading.

'...Touch' features a number of guests including members of Kansas (Steve Walsh & Phil Ehart) but also Richie Havens, whose vocals on 'Icarus Ascending' are spine-tinglingly superb. There's also the Hackett discovery, Randy Crawford, who is equally impressive on the lilting 'Hoping Love Will Last', another track the type of which you'd not expect but which is perfectly in context.

'Spectral Mornings' is home to 'Everyday', 'Clocks' and the title track, each a bona fide classic where Hackett's exquisite guitar is front and centre in all its glory. 'Defector' features 'The Steppes' which moves between light and heavy in brilliant fashion, 'Time To Get Out' that's almost Melodic Rock in structure, plus the rawness of 'Slogans' where Hackett really goes for the jugular.

Gary Marshall

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