19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
This was to be the last VdGG studio album for nearly 30 years until this years very pleasing "Present". Though "World Record" is often overshadowed by its predecessors, "Godbluff" and "Still Life", this is still a very fine album indeed. Hammill was still in the throes of a highly productive period of songwriting. He had just completed excellent solo work such as "Over", "In Camera" and the often cited inspiration for the upcoming punk movement "Nadir's Big Chance". But it does feel with "World Record" that the current incarnation of VdGG had run its course. The band had such an original and distinctive sound that everything they set out to do was achieved with previous albums. But tracks such as "When She Comes" and "Masks" are as good as anything on "Still Life" and "Meurglys III, The Songwriters Guild" never seems to be recognised for the brilliance it truly is. Hammill was playing more guitar and this ode to his favourite instrument and the obsessive, solitary nature of songwriting shows the band at their instrumental best. There is so much room over its 20 minutes for both Jackson and Hammill to flex their muscles. Hammill has never been considered a prodigious solo electric guitarist, but his playing here is beautifully judged.
After his album both Banton and Jackson left. The generator was gone, so Van der Graaf came into being. That's another story, but the book on VdGG was thought closed, till now. Thankfully new chapters are at last being written for one of our most original and exciting rock bands.
20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on 20 August 2005
Van der Graaf Generator has to be one of the least recognised and understood bands of the seventies. Foregoing labels as progressive or as underground, the band led by Peter hammill, exploded into the dark sub-conscious of what was referred to as the progressive rock scene: with uncompromisingly vulnerable lyrics of self-reflection from Hammill, gothic pulsating organ rhythms from Hugh Banton, sudden shocking multi-rhythmic refrains from David Jackson on saxophone and meticulous time-keeping courtesy of Guy Evans, the album breaks into the opening bars of "When she comes". This is a complex and ironic reminiscence of an ardent and impassioned liaison. The album culminates, for me, in the anthem "Meurglys III: a song-writer's guild" ... a song of alienation and fulfillment, of friendship and passion.
Throughout, there is a pulsing kick-rhythm courtesy of Evans and Banton, with the evocative voice of Hammill cut with the sugical precision of Jackson's sax - this is truly a multi-faceted, complex and beautiful album ... and really, you can dance to it :)
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on 28 November 2000
This album was the final VDGG album with the classic lineup and the third recorded in a frantic 18 months of activity after Godbluff and Still Life with which it has a lot in common with in terms of style.
The most interesting track is "Meurglys III" named after Peter Hammill's guitar, which offers an insight into the songwriting process and the thoughts of the man himself. This lacks the structure of earlier VDGG epics like "A Plauge Of Lighthouse Keepers" though, as much of its 20 minute length is devoted to a meandering reggae-style jam.
The other major highlight is "When She Comes", a complex yet powerful hard-rock song with powerful vocals by Hammill.
All in all, a good album if perhaps a bit on the rambling side and not quite up there with its immediate predecessors.
6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 29 December 2006
This 1976-recorded offering marked a hat trick for the regenerated VdGG, reaffirming the stylistic direction of two predecessors with a winning formula in the origination and delivery of its material.
Writer Peter Hammill was in particularly fine form, his work informed by a period of personal trauma that tipped over into this and his next solo album, bringing even greater passion and drive to his songs.
Brimming with emotional diversity, all five tracks accord with the theatre of VdGG.
Whilst brevity was never a hallmark of the band's work, they hold us all the way (with the possible exception of "Meurglys III" - Hammill's tribute to his `only friend', his Guild electric guitar, which chugs up to the line at 20 minutes plus).
Bonus tracks come in the form of BBC radio session versions of the fine "When she Comes" and "Masks" and this reissue, re-mastered and packed with informative notes and archive pictures, can only be recommended to those with a thirst for knowledge and novelty in their music.
Notwithstanding favourable reviews, VdGG's relentless touring was costing too much, both financially and domestically. Organist Hugh Banton, newly-married, announced his decision to quit and the band played its last gig in Saarbrucken, Germany on December 9th of that year.
In 1977 lurked a new wave of music that was to overturn the prams of prog but for Dr Hammill's creation, from which more was still to come.
on 20 March 2013
I'm a great fan of the Generator, have all their old records, some also in vinyl; but it is this one that takes the prize. Listen to Meurglys III, it's a prog highlight if ever there was one! Buy it, you wont regret it!