Thursday, March 30, 2017

Peter Hammill - 1981 - Sitting Targets

Peter Hammill 
Sitting Targets

01. Breakthrough (3:57)
02. My Experience (3:15)
03. Ophelia (3:10)
04. Empress's Clothes (4:03)
05. Glue (3:40)
06. Hesitation (4:07)
07. Sitting Targets (5:22)
08. Stranger Still (4:54)
09. Sign (3:45)
10. What I did (3:39)
11. Central Hotel (4:41)

- Peter Hammill / vocals, guitars, keyboards (piano, synth), bass, beatbox, arranger & producer

- Phil Harrison / Synclavier (3,8,9)
- David Jackson / saxes, flute (4,6,7,11)
- Guy Evans / drums (1,2,6,7,9)
- Morris Pert / percussion (4,7,10)

A full band for this Hammill solo album. I'm always pleased to see Jackson on the guest list.
Peter entered awkwardly in the eighties with "A Black Box" and I was not expecting too much out of this one. I have to say that the album starts on a good note. More on the rocking side for a while ("Breakthrough", "My Experience"), Peter gets back to a more "normal" mood with the acoustic and dark "Ophelia".

With such a line-up, it was inevitable (and very much welcome) to get some full Van Der Graaf songs. Hectic and hermetic. Here is "Empress's Clothes". Great off-beat and fine percussion work to sustain the wonderful saxing. "Hesitation" is also a track which digs into the band's repertoire.

This album also has its depressive moments, but I guess that they are impossible to avoid ("Glue"). Still, some bits of optimism would not be seen as too much of a compromise.

One of the best song is undeniably the title track. Fine backing vocals add another dimension. Peter could have developed it and make it a bit longer. Excellent instrumental part.

Actually, this album is a pleasant one. I prefer it to his late seventies production. Almost no weak songs (but not too many highlights either). It is only a shame that the charm of "Stranger Still" is ruined by the chaotic final part. but "Sign" puts things back on the good rails.

The first very average songs is "What I Did" (good question Peter!). It seems to come out the first side of "A Black Box" and all those experimentations. Not my cup of tea.

"Sitting Targets" closes as it started. Central Hotel is a rock song again. But Peter is not always at ease with such performance. The riff sounds as a Richard's one. But Peter ain't no Jagger...

I like this album. A good one.

1 comment: