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Steve Hackett: Spectral Mornings

Album Reviews:

Mojo (Publisher) (p.130) - 4 stars out of 5 - "[Featuring] the haunting title track and epic 'Every Day'..."

Album Notes

To his credit, Steve Hackett learned from the mistakes made on Please Don't Touch, and delivered a much-improved mix of songs and instrumentals on 1975's Spectral Mornings. With a workable backing band that includes John Shearer, Nick Magnus, and former Decameron bassist Dik Cadbury, the ex-Genesis guitarist exploits his strengths: progressive instrumentals that skip between heaven and hell, pastoral pop songs, and a healthy dose of English humor. Vocalist Peter Hicks takes the lead on a few tracks, and as the honey-fied "The Virgin and the Gypsy" makes clear, his voice is much better suited to the material than Richie Havens. Hackett's lone vocal cameo, "The Ballad of the Decomposing Man," is a Pythonesque treat. The guitar work is typically top-notch, equally effective in acoustic sections that feature John Hackett's flute and in tempestuous arrangements where Steve's trademark electric guitar pierces through the chaos. The guitarist also extends his range to the Cantonese koto (presumably a variation on the Japanese koto) for the delicate instrumental "The Red Flower of Tachai Blooms Everywhere"; in typically mischievous fashion, it lulls the listener into a false sense of relaxation for the sonic onslaught of "Clocks -- The Angel of Mons." For many, Voyage of the Acolyte is the definitive Hackett record, but Spectral Mornings is more indicative of his range as a solo artist. The music is true to progressive rock in sound if not in scope, a trait which endears Hackett to Genesis fans who found that band's subsequent commercialization distasteful. ~ Dave Connolly



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