Longtime fans of Peter Hammill know that his recorded output is very unpredictable. He's released some of the finest albums in thinking-man's rock (1973's Chameleon in the Shadow of the Night, 1986's And Close as This, etc.), as well as a few that were directionless and/or self-indulgent (1983's Loops & Reels, 1988's In a Foreign Town, etc.). In the early '90s, Hammill fans' patience was tested by a string of ineffective albums (Roaring Forties and others), and they feared that Hammill would never return to the quality of his past triumphs. So they must have been relieved when Hammill released one of his best and most consistent albums ever, X My Heart, in 1996. It features one of his most beautiful ballads, "Earthbound," which features heartfelt vocals and a gorgeous string accompaniment. "Narcissus (Bar & Grill)" will delight fans with its classic Hammill style, while "A Better Time" shows that he's one of the more underrated vocalists in rock music today. Definitely one of his finest, and a good place to start for newcomers to the unpredictable and challenging world of Peter Hammill.
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AllMusic Review by Greg Prato