Author:Dan Coffey/Kevin Cummings/Eoghan Lyng
Van Der Graaf Generator – one of the most cutting edge prog bands, as well as one of the most long standing, a band I’d rank alongside King Crimson for innovative music over the years. The Pawn Hearts album is right out there in the hinterlands of prog, and still sounds as groundbreaking now as it did back in the day. I was slightly surprised to see an American author for this as I was unaware their influence had stretched over the Atlantic, but he certainly knows his stuff as this is a very well written and comprehensive guide to the band’s music over the years. Pleasingly, he also covers Peter Hammill’s solo work, but it seems increasingly likely that 2016’s Do Not Disturb may be the band’s final word.
From the outer edges of prog to a much tamer US attempt at the genre. In fact, I’d classify most of Kansas’s music as AOR rather than prog, but perhaps they see things differently over there! Most will be familiar with Carry On Wayward Son, and perhaps Dust In The Wind, but for me they produced two decent albums in their heyday, Leftoverture and Point of Know Return (annoyingly referred to as Point of No Return here), and the rest of their numerous releases were rather mediocre. Then again, they were one of those bands who preferred to concentrate on their home market and rather neglected Europe. Astonishingly they are still a going concern, albeit shorn of many original members, and a new album appeared earlier this year
Of course, U2 are in a different league commercially to the other two bands discussed here. It’s fair to say they divide opinion, but you can’t deny their record and ticket sales over the last forty odd years. I was quite a big fan around the Unforgettable Fire/Joshua Tree/Achtung Baby era but rather lost touch with them with the Zooropa and Pop albums and never really returned to the fold. This was the first time I’d really sat and listened to their last couple of albums, Songs of Innocence and Songs of Experience – the former is actually quite a good record I thought, the latter one maybe not so much. It’ll be interesting to see where they go from here.
Length of Read:Short
Might appeal to people who enjoyed…
The music of these bands over the years.
One thing you’ve learned
All three books are, as usual, well researched and put together. I’d say the VDGG one is the pick of the bunch though, and it’s certainly worth investigating for fans of the band.