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4.7 out of 5 stars
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4.7 out of 5 stars
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on 21 May 2010
I have listened to thousands of the best prog records along my life. Pawn hearts is definitely in my top five list ever. Its atmosphere, composition, musicianship are out of this world. Highly recommended along with all VDGG first and second era records. The new remasterin is a great improvement.
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on 6 September 2012
The fate of the human race,the different personas within us and isolation- three awesome topics delivered in true schizophrenic style both musically and lyrically by Hammill the master of doom, but contained in each song there is a message of hope that all is not lost. He sees inside the human psyche like no other prog rock artist. Fantastic. Everybody should listen to this album-- you may hate it but it would be a shame to miss out on this one if it is the kind of thing that speaks to you. And I didn't need the bonus tracks to persuade me to buy this one.
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on 27 June 2010
The most outstanding album of VDGG - plus some tasty extra tracks. An easy addition for VDGG fans. If you are buying this for the first time - it takes a few plays to take it all in.
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on 5 March 2008
"Pawn Hearts" is commonly voted by progressive rock fan purists as their favourite Van der Graaf Generator album. I am not one of those purists and, for me, it is their least pleasing album.

Chronologically sandwiched between "H to He Who Am The Only One" and "Godbluff" this album suffers from less discernable melodic writing in both the vocal and musical parts and from a rhythmic structure that does not move me. I need either one of those features (or preferably both) to really appreciate my music, so am left a bit cold by "Pawn Hearts".

Not that it's a complete disaster: the three musical pieces that make up the original album are certainly complex and there are moments in all three that I enjoy but the overriding sensation is not one of pleasure. It's a pity because that feeling also means that I find it really difficult to concentrate on Peter Hammill's lyrics when I'm not enjoying the music and they are usually one of the highlights of the band's music, but I couldn't tell you what they are like on here, despite listening to the album quite a few times!

The bonus tracks are interesting but don't lift the overall CD up by a great margin - "Theme One", which was released as a single and became the signature tune to the Friday Night Rock Show on Radio 1 in the 70s, is my favourite of these - melody and rhythm in one - bingo!

For any newcomers to the band, unless you're "progressive rock" obsessed, then go for the more melodious albums - the ones already mentioned and "The Least We Can Do Is Wave To Each Other" are all better places to start.
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on 21 January 2007
RECORDED IN 1971, WISH WE COULD GO BACK TO THOSE GREAT DAYS WHEN NEW BANDS AND NEW SOUNDS CAME OUT EVERY WEEK. TOP MUSICIANSHIP THROUGHOUT AND THE LONG 'PLAGUE OF LIGHTHOUSE KEEPERS' STANDING OUT, BUT THE OTHER TRACKS ARE GREAT TOO. AMAZING LYRICS SUNG BY PETER HAMILL. QUALITY ALWAYS STANDS THE TEST OF TIME AND THIRTY YEARS ON THEY ARE STILL IN DEMAND. TRY TO HEAR ALL THE OTHER ALBUMS I THINK YOU BE IMPRESSED
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on 26 February 2015
Brilliant album; Prog Masterpiece etc,etc: But, I've now bought two of these "remastered" Pawn Hearts CD's about 6 months apart and they've both unfailingly become corrupted when ripping them as compressed files. The CD itself plays perfectly but the ripped files are rendered totally unlistenable, with all kinds of nasty distortion spoiling the show. My Experience (!) is that all the other albums of this VDGG reissue series are fine in that regard and there's no mention of copy protection on this CD or anywhere else, but unfortunately that's what I've found anyway. So if you're buying this one purely with a view to enjoying it on your handy personal Walkman-type-thing, then sadly I prophesy disaster, and a silent scream...I'd buy the MP3's instead.
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on 4 April 2000
Van der graaf is not an easy group, but once you understand and learn to appreciate it.... you get addicted to it. Never made it big like King crimson, yes, genesis, etc, but is on the same level: one of the best groups of the seventies. Pawn Hearts is a very deep masterpiece; Peter Hammill is a genius and one of the most expressive voices ever. Incredible musicians surround him. Also very recommended VDGG cd's for starters: Quiet Zone, Maida Vale, Still life, Godbluff, world record. If you are into Crimson, genesis, yes, etc, get this records, you wont regret it. Also Hammill's solo cd's are worth buying.
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on 2 January 2004
...this is the one. Man-Erg and Plague... are brilliant. Lemmings is the weakest of the three, but is still the biz.
If you want more, then Still Life is awesome!
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on 15 July 2013
Had a friend in the 70's who loved Van Der Graff. I was more a Yes man but this album is sweet. I decided to download it and highly recommend it to lovers of classic prog.
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on 14 October 2014
Van Der Graaf Generator's finest hour, in my humble opinion. I originally owned this on vinyl many moons ago and it still sounds as good today as it did way back then.
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