Essential Steve Hackett
The Old Rocker | SF Bay Area | 06/28/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The four albums Steve Hackett released in the 70's (of which this is the last) represent the core of his enormous body of work. While he has released many more albums since then, these four remain essential listening for Hackett fans and fans of classic progressive rock. In fact, there are times I think this might be my favorite Hackett CD.
On Defector, Hackett's guitar truly takes the lead for the first time. His previous albums all had killer solos but for this album he moves the guitar from out of the band mix and into the spotlight. Listen to his impassioned lead on The Steppes, or his brilliant finger tapping technique on Slogans or even the expressive sound he gets from the nylon string guitar on Two Vamps As Guests. The band as usual is in excellent form, but this is Steve's baby.
As usual, on a Steve Hackett album, the instrumentals are just as important as the vocals, but this may be his most balanced album in terms of strong lyrics and great singing. Sadly, this would be the last album with Pete Hicks on lead vocals and all subsequent albums would suffer as a consequence, at least in my opinion.
My favorites are The Steppes, Jacuzzi and Slogans, but for me there is not a bad song on the album. Even his attempt at disco/dance music (The Show) is a fun tune in only the way Hackett could do something like this. And like his early albums there is a novelty tune, in this case Sentimental Institution with Pete Hicks singing somewhere between Al Jolson and Louie Armstrong.
Highly recommended album from one of the most original rock composers of his generation and light years better than anything Genesis was doing at the time. My only complaint is that the original 10 tracks did not even fill up 40 minutes and while the new bonus tracks are good to have, I wish there was more studio bonus tracks and less live tracks. But that's really just nitpicking since this album has been one of my favorites from the day I bought the original vinyl back in 1979.
Great album, but not essential remaster
W. Schmidt | Beaverton, Oregon USA | 05/31/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"So far I've only heard this and SPECTRAL MORNINGS remasters. This one isn't quite as compelling, at least as far as the bonus material. With the exception of HERCULES UNCHAINED, a b-side that hasn't been available on CD the rest of the bonus tracks are live versions. They're nice, but Hackett has made a huge amount of live performances available, both on CD and DVD. Because of this the live material, while good, isn't as interesting as alternate mixes and versions featured on SPECTRAL. The remastered sound is nice, but if you already own the previous release you might want to save this one for later. If you don't, then no worries . . . . this is one of Hackett's best albums and is highly recommended."
Alan Caylow | USA | 06/23/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Steve Hackett's fourth solo album, "Defector," is an excellent disc from the former Genesis guitarist. Solid tunes all the way around. Favorites include the powerful, ominous rockers "The Steppes" and "Slogans," the tasty pop-rock of "Time To Get Out," "Jacuzzi," and "The Show," the beautiful "Leaving" and "Hammer In The Sand," and the fun, 1920's-flavored finale, "Sentimental Institution." "Defector" is a classic, essential Steve Hackett album."