Hugh Banton : Bass, Guitar, Keyboards
Guy Evans : Drums
Peter Hammill : Guitar, Keyboards, Vocals
David Jackson : Keyboards, Winds
..."Take away the threat of death and all you're left with is a round of make believe"...
Hot on the heels of their excellent comeback album, Godbluff, the swiftly completed Still Life followed in early 1976. It was the second release since the band's reformation in 1975 and since this reunion, the band seemed to have a new, more focused approach to their compositions. Despite this, there is no doubt in your mind about what band you are listening too. The Generator was definitely back in all their sonic glory and Hammill has
an even more biting quality to his voice this time around.
The album starts with the optimism tinged "Pilgrims". Communicating to the listener that no matter how alone you may feel, in your darkest hour, we are all in this together and to not become discouraged. David Jackson's distinct and gloriously ominous saxophone closes the piece wonderfully.
"Still Life" considers how awful immortality could be for those who may wish it so for themselves. It starts quietly with Hammill's vocals and Hugh Banton's low organ accompanying him. Soon, the organ transforms and comes tromping back into the piece like a lumbering, angry giant. Definitely one of those spine tingling passages for me.
"LaRossa" puts the spotlight on Banton's mastery of the Hammond organ. Following it is "My Room (Waiting for Wonderland)" which features Jackson out in front of the band with his distressed sax passages that sound like no one (or nothing) else. The 12 minute plus "Childlike Faith in Childhood's End" closes the album. The tempo of the piece haphazardly switches up and down throughout the track and their are some great sections of interplay between the instrumentalists in the band. Not one uninteresting second can be found here and very little is repeated. In the final line of the track, Hammill sums up the boundless possibilities of what the afterlife holds for us..."In the death of mere humans life shall start!" I guess it that remains to be seen folks.
Still Life is a glimmering artifact of some of the best music this era had to offer. The raw emotion and creativity is as powerful today as it was then. Uncommonly found trademarks of great musicianship and originality.
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