Debut album with a lot of promise
BENJAMIN MILER | Veneta, Oregon | 08/13/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Actually I own the German LP version of the album on Fontana, so it doesn't have the bonus cuts like "Firebrand" or "People You Were Going To". Anyway, this is less progressive than the VdGG albums that were to come after this. It's a pretty well known fact that The Aerosol Grey Machine was meant to be a Peter Hammill solo effort, but then in the end, it turned out to be Van der Graaf's first release. It oddly never saw a British release when it first came out. It was first released only the USA on Mercury, then sometime in the 1970s on Fontana in Germany (the version I have). And now it's available on CD. At this early phase in their career, their sound hadn't fully developed. A lot of it tends to the acoustic, psychedelic and proto-prog side of things. In other words, don't expect cuts like "After the Flood", "Emporer in his War Room", or "A Plague of Lighthouse Keepers", expect most to be more on the song-oriented side than their following releases. "Octopus" is the closest to a prog epic you'll get on this album. The rest of the album is pretty nice, and it really shows the potential that of course, would be fully realized on He to He and Pawn Hearts. So if you're new to VdGG, start with He To He or Pawn Hearts first, then if you're convinced, then try The Least We Can Do is Wave to Each Other and The Aerosol Grey Machine."
ribxxx | Lakewood, OH USA | 10/23/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"1000 words is a lot. .. ummm...."I am the Necromancer" rules...i thought only Natz and I liked this band....i found aerosal gray machine by chance and immediately loved it....that was long ago....i only went to this site cause i was looking up Robert Wyatt and found out that the same people who love him love Van Der Graf (and Can...yeah) so i wanted to hear this again.... this goes back 20 years....ummm....too much aerosol??? i love this band. xxxrib"
Faltering 1st steps
Tom | London | 08/30/2001
(3 out of 5 stars)
"The first VDGGLP was barely ever released in Britain. As has already been pointed out this was originally intended as a Peter Hammill solo album, and it shows. "Orthentian Street", "Running Back" and "Into the Game" are all longish acoustic guitar-based songs with fairly minimal musical accompaniment. On these songs Hugh Banton is hardly present, which can only be a bad thing, while throughout the album the rhythm section of Keith Ellis and Guy Evans sound strangely tentative (thank God for Nic Potter, another album of Ellis' irritatingly wayward rubber band bass playing would have been to much to bear!) Not that these are bad songs, far from it, the roots of Hammill's future mature style are already in place. The opener "Afterwards" is an excellent Hammill ballad, displaying all of his melodic strengths, and (thank the Lord!) with Banton dominant on organ - still, it does has a definite late-60's feel about it, did someone mention Procol Harum? The more obviously "prog rock" tracks occur on what was originally Side 2 of the album. "Aquarian" (why is it called "Aguarian" on the CD?) gropes towards the later VDGG sound and thankfully has more of Banton's distinctive organ playing but not nearly enough. "Necromancer" is rousing, if a little silly but is recognizably "prog", the subject matter was handled better on "White Hammer" on "The Least We Can Do...". "Octopus" is even more recognizable as VDGG, again Banton's organ is to the fore, though do I hear echoes (no pun intended) of Pink Floyd on the spacier sections of this track? I'm glad to say that the CD includes both sides of the band's debut single, which I'd never actually heard until now. "People You Were Going To" was later re-done on Hammill's "Nadir's Last Chance" album, and while I prefer the later version, it remains a good song, but a hit single? Hardly! "Firebrand" on the other hand is quite a different matter, put it down to the folly of youth but Hammill's vocals on the chorus are frankly laughable - if indeed it is Hammill? And who's playing the strangulated psychedelic lead guitar on the track?"