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Peter Hammill
Fool's Mate

Phil Kime:

Hammill's early solo output overlaps considerably with the output of Van der Graaf and thus the personnel is shared. This first solo album features much of Van der Graaf plus the erstwhile Fripp who contributes to several Van der Graaf albums. Chris Judge Smith co-wrote two of the tracks which he can be heard performing on his own on the eclectic Democrazy release. I am always surprised just how strong this album is. Quirky, humorous and marvellous fun. Imperial Zeppelin has such an endearingly silly chorus. Mainly acoustic and introspective material, I think people underestimate this period of Hammill enormously as they seem to think that hubris and angst are somehow relevant to a musical evaluation. Sunshine is so exuberant and amusing that is never fails to elicit a smile. True to say that the lyrics are rather adolescent but the music is simple and perfectly serviceable. I Once Wrote Some Poems hints at the visceral style the next few albums would develop on. Not an outstanding album by any means but a worthy release and worth investing in.

© 1996 Phil Kime

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