Peter Blegvad

Hangman's Hill

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Hangman's Hill Review

by Richie Unterberger

Although Blegvad is sometimes thought of as an avant-rock musician for his work with Slapp Happy and others, such as John Greaves and Chris Cutler of Henry Cow (who support him on this record), he's actually a fairly accessible rock singer/songwriter. Indeed, this is more accessible to the rock audience than just about anything else you'll find on the ReR/Recommended label. Blegvad delivers wistful and literate songs with an occasional nostalgic ambience about lost parents and lovers. More often, though, there's an eccentric, almost metaphysical air, Blegvad musing about astral travel, feelings of solitariness and loneliness, and finding "The Marvellous in the Everyday." There aren't many singer/songwriters, to be sure, who would start a song with the lyric, "Have you ever seen a dog lower himself in the dirt and show his belly in submission to another dog?" This is melodic and accomplished enough to appeal to an adult and middle-aged audience looking for conventional rock with more grist to the songs, and more creative production (B.J. Cole adds good pedal and lap steel guitars), than will be heard in most records geared for the adult alternative market. You probably won't hear it often, though, even on some public radio stations, since it doesn't have the corporate production deemed necessary for airplay (which is a good thing). If you like Elvis Costello and Lou Reed and want something along similar lines, but have tired of their formulas, you could do a lot worse than to check this out.

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