Trying to assemble a Van Der Graaf Generator overview really is a much harder task than might be expected; the group may have produced few albums in total, but deciding what can be excerpted from each one is a nightmare. The result for First Generation is that The Least We Can Do Is Wave to Each Other is almost ignored, Pawn Hearts is missing only "Lemmings," and H to He Who Am the Only One has the two obvious high notes ("Killer" and "Pioneers Over C") grabbed. The Aerosol Grey Machine is utterly ignored, as are the two single B-sides ("W" and "The Boat of Millions of Years"), although "Theme One" is included. The track order is a mess, with neither chronology nor tone being taken into account; "Refugees" closes the album, for example, having frittered away the energy generated by the ionized conclusion of "A Plague of Lighthouse Keepers." Great music, as always (and poor mastering), but not the best foot forward, certainly -- Second Generation is considerably better. Also, as of late 2000, a much better introduction can be had in the shape of An Introduction to Van Der Graaf Generator, a single-album companion to the four-disc Box.
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AllMusic Review by Steven McDonald