The Two Sides of Peter Hammill
Jon Young, Trouser Press, April 1979
FOR OVER 10 years Peter Hammill has been the object of a particularly intense cult following. As the leader of Van der Graaf Generator and as a solo artist, the prolific Hammill (17 LPs since '68) has built up a body of work that's striking for its originality and for a consistently unyielding harshness. Life on the brink is his usual theme in one way or another; the songs are stark, confessional, and wordy, delivered in a voice not unlike David Bowie's, but without the more conventional melodic restrictions. Hammill is never easy listening, and over the last decade has had to settle for a coterie of fans and surprisingly few good reviews. Not to mention poor exposure in the States; less than half his records have been released here and live performances have been extremely rare.
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