|24 Mar 2017||InsideOut Music||Special Edition CD/Blu-Ray Mediabook featuring 5.1 surround sound mix & making of documentary: 88985410452, Standard Jewel case CD: 88985410462, Gatefold black 2LP vinyl + CD: 88985410471, Digital Download|
|24 Mar 2017||InsideOut Music||CD, 2xLP, Digital|
Less and less of the musicians we love from the seventies are still producing original and interesting music today. David Gilmour, Robert Fripp, Peter Hammill and a few others are part of this short list but nobody has come close to matching Steve Hackett's output (in quality and quantity) in the last 15 years. In fact, what ever the era I take into account, in my humble opinion only Steven Wilson has equalled Hackett on that level. So, nearly two years after the very good Wolflight, Steve Hackett is back with The Night Siren.
I finished my review of Wolflight wondering if Steve Hackett could still reinvent himself for yet another album. The Night Siren answers this question with a spectacular ''YES!''.
The Night Siren starts out in a powerfull way with ''Behind the Smoke'', a song with middle eastern flavors that ends with an extensive guitar solo. It is followed by ''Martian Sea'' that begins in a rythmic and joyfull way, but gradually, after a few nice solos, evolves into darker moods. Third track ''Fifty Miles from the North Pole'' sounds almost like an old gangster movie song, but then gradually turns strange in a Hackett kind of way... featuring nice harmonies, reverse style guitar soloing and even a bit of Free Jazz. Next is ''El Nino'', an intense instrumental that hints back to ''The Air Conditioned Nightmare'' from Cured. It is followed by the very moving ''Other Side of the Wall'' that affects me in a similar way to ''Til these Eyes'' from Beyond the Shrouded Horizon. To me these two songs are excellent examples of how much Steve Hackett as progressed as a singer in the second part of his solo career. Next is ''Anything But Love'', introduced by flamenco guitar but quickly turning into what should be (in an ideal world) a radio hit. Great harmonica on this one. '' Inca Terra'' comes as close as Hackett ever came to making a Yes song. This feeling does not last because when the electric guitar kicks in (and also some great organ) it's pure Hackett again. ''In Another life'' is another very moving song that finishes as an instrumental that kind of reminds me of Camel (circa Harbour of Tears). It's one of my favorites. Next song ''In the Skelleton Gallery'' sounds like it will give me a breather... but no... a heavy Jazz Fusion section changes the mood completly. ''West to East'' is again an emotional song, also with great singing by Hackett. ''Afterglow'' from Wind and Wuthering pops into my mind when listening to this one. Finally, this great album ends with a short (and moving) instrumental ''The Gift''.
The Night Siren is nothing less than a ''tour de force'' by Steve Hackett. It's just incedible that after all the music he has produced in the last 40+ years he is still able to offer us one of his best ever albums. If you are a fan, The Night Siren is an obligatory addition to your album collection. If you have turned away from Hackett in recent years, this new album will make you realise how much you have missed him.