Peter Hammill

Chameleon in the Shadow of the Night

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Boasting much stronger compositions than the preceding Fools Mate, Chameleon in the Shadow of the Night is regarded as one of Peter Hammill's best albums. Although Hammill is still in piano/acoustic guitar mode, the passion in his vocals is nearly unparalleled. But what separated Hammill from other early-'70s folk-rockers was that he had a knack for injecting art rock into his compositions and singing his mellow songs in a rough (rather expectedly laid-back) style. The opening track "German Overalls" could be compared to David Bowie's early acoustic period, as well as "What's It Worth" (the latter containing flute work that complements Hammill's acoustic strumming nicely). But Hammill successfully slips back into rock territory with "Rock and Rôle," which contains some great, dirty sax work. The album's production is very straightforward (nearly without any studio enhancement), which helps bring out the intensity of Hammill's stark arrangements. Chameleon in the Shadow of the Night could fall into the concept album category, since the theme of growing old seems to be repeated throughout.

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