Peter Hammill again plays the same trick as he did in 1978-1979, when, after the strange, experimental The Future Now LP, came the more straightforward pH7. The same relationship exists between A Black Box and Sitting Targets. The latter LP, released in 1981, is often overlooked because of its cold, very early-'80s production, but it has yielded many classic songs that would grow out of their rather square studio arrangements and go on to provide fans with many memorable live moments. And once you get used to the sound (something a lot easier here than with Skin), Sitting Targets is actually a pretty strong record -- and the presence of drummer Guy Evans on most tracks is no stranger to that. Granted, "Breakthrough" and "Hesitation" are not fantastic rock songs, but they work well and counterbalance the darker atmospheres of "Glue" and "Ophelia" on the first LP side. "Sitting Targets" and "Sign" remain good, catchy songs with an edge. The only real disappointment, but only in retrospect, is "Stranger Still," which lacks its a cappella coda, and most of the spine-tingling madness the singer imbues it with onstage. "Central Hotel" will also provide an excellent rock number for theHammill spin-off band K-Group, and makes for a punchy album closer. Good songwriting can survive dated production values. Here's proof.
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AllMusic Review by François Couture