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Articles Home » 1981 Articles » Hammill, Peter - 1981 Sitting Targets
Hammill, Peter - 1981 Sitting Targets

ARTIST: Hammill, Peter
ALBUM: Sitting Targets
LABEL: Virgin Records
YEAR: 1981
CD REISSUE: 2007, Virgin Records, CDVR 2205


LINEUP: Peter Hammill - vocals, guitar, keyboards * Guy Evans - drums * David Jackson - saxophone, flute * Morris Pert - percussion * Phil Harrison - synthesizers

TRACK LISTING: 01 Breakthrough * 02 My Experience * 03 Ophelia * 04 Empress's Clothes * 05 Glue * 06 Hesitation * 07 Sitting Targets * 08 Stranger Still * 09 Sign * 10 What I Did * 11 Central Hotel


As an elder statesman of Progressive rock, Peter Hammill the lead voice of Van Der Graaf Generator shows no sign of slowing down. His recent 'Other World' disc with journeyman guitarist Gary Lucas will place on many lists as one of the year's best, although it has to be said the man is an acquired taste. I spent many years trying to break through the suffocating and at times harsh sounds of Van Der Graaf's 1976 LP 'Still Life', only to one day have a come to Jesus moment and realized the band, in particular Hammill were way ahead the game, creating a sound that distanced itself as far as possible from Genesis and Yes. Prog rock for mature audiences if you will and Hammill's own solo catalog is vast and varied from his melancholic debut 'Fool's Mate' to 1975's pre-punk 'Nadirs Big Chance' and the devastatingly powerful 'Black Box', Peter can never be accused of repeating himself.

The Songs
Released in the summer of 1981 at the height of the new wave, 'Sitting Targets' is one of Hammill's more accessible works and provided the foundation for his future touring band K Group. Featuring his former VDGG mates Guy Evans and David Jackson as well as Brand X percussionist extraordinaire Morris Pert; the musicianship as should be expected is superb. Hammill straddles both the spikey skinny tie pop of the day on opener 'Breakthrough' and follow-up 'My Experience' to the moody and ornate balladry of 'Ophelia' and the sprawling 'Stranger Still', it's an album that's both unsettling and highly creative.

In Summary
Art pop as it should be although your enjoyment will be determined by how much you can tolerate Peter's voice which can either irritate or intrigue. If you're up for a challenge 'Sitting Targets' and Van Der Graaf Generator's 1971 milestone 'Pawn Hearts' is the place to start for newcomers.

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#1 | Nick C on October 29 2014 16:38:23
Love VdGG I have to agree though - an acquired taste, I'm not overly familiar with his huge solo career (apart from a couple of CDs I have) but I've been after the Fall of the House of Usher - deconstructed and rebuilt on Fie for a few years now, but always very pricey.
#2 | Eric on October 30 2014 00:00:41
Yeah, '....Usher' in a perfect world would be a great choice for an Esoteric reissue don't you think?
#3 | Nick C on October 30 2014 17:24:30
Yeah - They could couple the original version with the 'rebuilt version'.
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