Steve Hackett had dropped of my radar a long time ago, I think the last record of his I listened to was “Feedback 86”, and that was down as songs that should have been on the 2nd GTR album.We never fell out, I just picked up on other bands along the way and seemed to forget about him.
So this cd came as a nice surprise, as you know with Steve your going to get thought provoking themes, superb musicianship, with a depth of song writing skill’s that few musicians can match.
His latest cd is called “Beyond the Shrouded Horizon” and takes us on a grand voyage from the misty opening of “Loch Lomand” through to the final 11 minute masterpiece “Turn this island earth”. This is a grand album, both tonally and lyrically, Steve draws on the wealth of talent that he has got on board to make this album, from Nick Beggs and Roger King through to Simon Philips, even Chris Squire gets to play bass on a few tracks.
The opening track is a little dark in places, threatening to break out into a full on rock track, that thankfully never happens, yet it sets the scene beautifully. Incorporating bagpipes into a song is never easy, but this piece fits in very nicely, just enough to flavour the song with a Scottish tint, beautifully layered vocals add another depth to this track.
The Phoenix Flown, track number 2 is a guitar instrumental, that, in a way, continues the direction set out by the first track, though with an identity of it own.
Wanderlust is track 3, and this is also an instrumental, hmmmm I think to myself, just how many more guitar instrumentals will there be on this opus, 3 tracks in, and we have had 2 already.
I needn’t have worried as it is a very short piece, serving as an introduction to the 4th track “Til These Eyes” a great acoustic number from Steve, about the passage of time, and indeed of a lost love.
Steve never ceases to amaze me with the depth of emotion he can conquer from his guitar playing, and “Prairie Angel” is no exception, if you sit back and close your eyes, you can feel yourself being drawn into the rich tapestry he has woven for this song, you feel like you are on a journey through the prairies of middle America, heading west into “A place called freedom”.
“Between the Sunset and the Coconut Palms” is another piece that creates an image in your mind, imagine yourself on a desert island, with the sun going down, all played beautifully on a piano, complimented with a great string arrangement.
A bit of a different flavor this next track, a female lead vocal over a middle eastern feel landscape, which leads nicely into the next track “Two Faces of Cairo”, again an instrumental , and again drawing heavily from middle eastern music and the images they create.
“Looking for Fantasy” is a bit of a strange track, im not sure what’s going on here, it’s a very gentle song which even name checks the great Jimmy page, though im not really sure why ? I think I need to listen to this track again, I must have missed something.
“Summers Breath” has a Spanish/ Mediterranean feel to it, its another short instrumental, which leads very nicely into “Catwalk”, do cats play the blues ?, because this song rocks, well nearly rocks, it rocks in a Steve Hackett way.Its certainly lively, played in a blues fusion style.
The final track, “Turn this island earth” is a monster of epic story telling, clocking in at a little over 10 minutes, the depth of the arrangements on this track are simply stunning, it deserves your full attention, this is not a track to put on the cd player while you wander off and make a cappuccino , it deserves more than that.
A very rewarding 8/10
2.”The Phoenix Flown”
4.”Til These Eyes”
6.”A Place Called Freedom”
7.”Between The Sunset And The Coconut Palms”
8.”Waking To Life”
9.”Two Faces Of Cairo”
10.”Looking For Fantasy”
13.”Turn This Island Earth”
Steve Hacketts website is HERE.
The Album is released on the 26th September on Insideoutmusic
2011/2012 TOUR NEWS HERE