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Design By Humans
Published On: Mon, Mar 27th, 2017

Steve Hackett: The Night Siren

Steve Hackett
The Night Siren
(InsideOutMusic)

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Steve Hackett’s The Night Siren is the ex-Genesis guitarist’s 25th solo studio album and quite the global affair. There are musicians from so many different countries, recordings made in a lot of different places, music files sent here and there, all with Hackett’s superb guitar speaking and excellent, varied songwriting throughout. On “Behind the Smoke,” a Middle Eastern drone is built around Hackett’s passionate, low vocals, single-note wails, and vibrato bar rises. The pluck and slip of his sitar and electric, not to mention what the lyrics are about, creates a gorgeous opener. “Martian Sea,” the next track, sounds like a Monkees’ tune, with quite the poppy vocals between Hackett and Amanda Lehmann built around a sitar riff, featuring a swirly, noisy, wild lead at its tail. “Fifty Miles from the North Pole” has a single-note James Bond guitar riff leading through it, again with lower vocals and a slow, shunky beat behind it, while “Anything But Love” starts as a classic guitar workout for Hackett fronting wild percussion. Becoming a singable duet between Hackett and Lehmann, a place for a Hackett harmonica lead, still we are teased by wanting more acoustic playing. The centerpiece of The Night Siren is the big string swirl (think Led Zeppelin’s “Kashmir”), harmony vocals, and heavy footprint of Gulli Briem’s snare backing Hackett’s signature gated electric on “In the Skeleton Gallery.” Rob Townsend’s mournful horn solo mid-way through leaves us deep in a Marrakech marketplace, but when Hackett takes off with all the kinds of sounds and riffery at his fingertips, one is reminded how much Mr. H. is still at the top of his game, in writing, composing, and playing. “The Gift,” a sweet, quick instrumental built around a simple riff, is the last of the eleven songs of this truly stellar album.

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Steve Hackett: The Night Siren