Peter Hammill

After the Show: A Collection

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Peter Hammill's solo work never surpassed the material he helped create with prog giants Van Der Graaf Generator, and in fact he really never came close. Some of his earlier albums such as Fool's Mate and Nadir's Big Chance from 1972 and 1974, respectively, caused a few ripples in the progressive rock pool, but from there his music failed to gain popular exposure. Hammil's work ranged from elaborate gothic poetry to heavily inundated keyboard attacks to simple light melodies of instrument and verse. Although his solo career was truly fragmented, Hammill does have some interesting and delightfully unusual music. After The Show: A Collection derives some of his better tracks, going as far back as 1968 with the psychedelia-basted "Nobody's Business," complete with Van Der Graaf-styled echo effects, to 1986's "You Hit Me Where I Live," which is new wave to the extent of Gary Numan, thanks to the spanking of background synthesizers. Hammill's more refined decor takes residence in tracks like "Ophelia" and "After the Show," nestling his softened voice between drizzles of piano and guitar. "Sunshine" reflects the same type of music hall whimsy as Queen's "Lazing on a Sunday Afternoon," and his effective bleakness mopes through "Lost and Found" and "If I Could" with satisfying results. After the Show may be quite frugal in its number of tracks, but the handpicked selection of songs are chosen from different points in Hammill's career, which portrays his varied styles adequately.

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