Van Der Graaf Generator
Do Not Disturb
While Van Der Graaf Generator was always loud and proud, it also was one of those bands that made you think about its music and more importantly, think about what they sang. They started out with some significant success in the 1970s and have been in and out of the business several times. They last reunited in 2005 and this release is their 13th studio album. It opens with the sonorous and down beat “Aloft”, it’s a mild glance back to the spacey days of pot and free love. Cut two “Alfa Berlina” opens with the line “I’ve got a lifetime’s library of unreliable mementos. Don’t we all?” Here we find the main question all old rockers ask: “What the hell have I accomplished over all these years?” We all ask that at some point, no matter what successes you may have had, in the end your still where we all end up. That would be “Room 1210,” a place that collects all the ennui and pointlessness of the aged.
The tone of the album remains down beat until “Forever Falling.” Here the energy rises, and there’s a desperate idea we have one last chance for…something. Yes, the mood and story here are the antithesis of the “take over the world” music of 40 years ago but it seems a fitting end. Not quite jazz, not quite rock, Peter Hammill does here what all good music does: he builds a mood and a world to set it upon, and allows us to wallow in self-pity or smugness, depending on where we are in this journey. You used to rock and roll just for the spit an energy, but now you’ve landed where burning out young doesn’t look all that bad.