Fireworks

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Steve Hackett - 'The Night Siren' http://rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/8a/26/cd/Steve-Hackett-The-Night-Siren-66-1495391586.jpg Hot

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Put simply, Steve Hackett fans will adore this.

This is Hackett's 24th solo studio album of original material and yet again he's delivered the goods. Despite being an ardent fan, I admit the nineties weren't his strongest period, however since the millennium, his output has been top notch, consistent and served to reinforce his place among the greats of the Prog genre. One of the many things I admire about his music is the variety and his ability to keep you on your toes. There's no trotting out albums that sound just like the last one or resting on his laurels. He pushes boundaries whilst remaining both truly melodic and uplifting.

Not quite as immediate as previous album 'Wolflight', 'The Night Siren' and its many delights unfold after just a few plays, no bad thing in my book. Only one of the eleven tracks here carries a single line of attack as Hackett melds Pop and Prog sensibilities seamlessly. A case in point is 'Anything But Love'. It opens with a delightful Flamenco passage before moving into the main body of the song, that puts me in mind of 'Rumours' era Fleetwood Mac, before ending with Hackett letting rip on guitar in familiar style. The acerbic lyrics belie the upbeat nature of the music, which is a delicious twist. Opener 'Behind The Smoke' starts gently but then bursts into a Led Zeppelin-like riff then back again.

Fireworks - The Ultimate Magazine For Melodic Rock Music

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As always, the many guitar motifs, themes and lyrical solos he produces are quite masterful and stick in your head immediately. 'Martian Sea' is a jaunty number with a superb chorus while 'Fifty Miles From The North Pole' has a James Bond guitar motif initially before it alternates between gentle and heavy sections. It also features an unusual choir vocal arrangement that works. 'El Niño' is a typically dramatic Hackett instrumental, while 'Other Side Of The Wall' is an acoustic ballad layered with multiple vocals.

'Inca Terra' has a South American vibe initially, changes to a Renaissance (band) vocal passage and ends with a heavy guitar section. 'In Another Life' has a Celtic feel and 'In The Skeleton Gallery' has a lovely groove and some wonderful heaviness. The sax break is a little random for my taste. 'West To East' is delightful and features another terrific chorus and the album ends with the short but nonetheless spine-tingling instrumental, 'The Gift', which is quintessential Hackett.

Put simply, Steve Hackett fans will adore this.

Gary Marshall

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