STEVE HACKETT

(UNITED KINGDOM)

THE CIRCUS AND THE NIGHTWHALE

(2024)
LABEL:

INSIDEOUT MUSIC

GENRE:

PROGRESSIVE ROCK

TAGS:
Concept-album
"Based on an rather naive concept (love saves all), "The Circus and the Nightwhale" is far from being Steve Hackett's best album. What's left is the know-how..."
ABADDON (15.02.2024)  
3/5
(0) opinions (3) comment(s) (1) Biography
With honourable obstinacy, Steve Hackett delivers his 29th opus in just under five decades. He describes 'The Circus and the Nightwhale' as an autobiographical and cathartic album, which pits 'the circus' (the world of entertainment) against 'the whale' (the negative thoughts that threaten to engulf everything). How can we save ourselves from being swallowed up? By love, of course (scoop)! The sincerity of the message can't be doubted, so it remains to be seen how Steve will translate this concept into music, and present a sum total of everything that music has been able to give him. 

In an interview, Steve Hackett says he wanted to make "a film for the ears", and the cinematographic aspect is the most successful point of the album. With atmospheric elements judiciously scattered throughout ('People of the Smoke', 'Enter the Ring', 'At the Sea', 'Into the Nightwhale'), and thanks to the links uniting certain tracks, the moods are well set and rather varied. On the satisfying side, there are a few attempts to break away from the guitarist's usual style: 'People of the Smoke' begins in a resolutely Rock tone or the end of 'Found And Lost' is almost lounge-like....

But for the most part, Steve Hackett uses tried-and-tested recipes: the vocal harmonies - always the same style since 'Every Day' (1979) on 'People of the Smoke', 'Enter the Ring' (a track of pleasantly progressive variety, incidentally), the oriental ambience with a touch of tar ('Circo Inferno'), and the inevitable classic acoustic guitar piece ('White Dove', disconnected from the rest). Fans will say "why change a recipe that works", while those who don't indulge in routine will see only know-how but little creativity.

And it's creativity that's lacking on "The Circus and the Nightwhale". Some of the vocal themes seem bland ('Ghost Moon And Living Love' or 'Wherever you Are'), and the short transitional tracks are only there to maintain continuity ('At the Sea'). In addition, Steve Hackett's guitar technique, always impeccable, increasingly takes precedence over the sensitivity of his playing: 'Get Me Out' and 'Breakout' are more demonstrations of speed than emotional appeals.

What's more, the lyrics are often abstruse or, on the contrary, very mawkish - praising love is a high-risk exercise. The concept doesn't come across clearly, so the listener is faced with a series of very well-executed tracks but doesn't feel the thrill of 'The Steppes' or 'Spectral Mornings'...

"The Circus and the Nightwhale" is far from being Steve Hackett's best album and can't compete with 'Wolflight', for example. Recycling processes we've already heard, the album, despite its honesty, at best demonstrates a know-how. We expect more from an artist like Steve Hackett.
- Official website

TRACK LISTING:
01. People Of The Smoke
02. These Passing Clouds
03. Taking You Down
04. Found And Lost
05. Enter The Ring 6. Get Me Out!
07. Ghost Moon And Living Love
08. Circo Inferno
09. Breakout
10. All At Sea
11. Into The Nightwhale
12. Wherever You Are
13. White Dove

LINEUP:
Amanda Lehmann: Chant
Benedict Fenner: Claviers
Craig Blundell: Batterie
Hugo Degenhardt: Batterie
Jonas Reingold: Basse
Malik Mansurov: Tar
Nad Sylvan: Chant
Nick D'Virgilio: Batterie
Rob Townsend: Saxo
Roger King: Claviers
Steve Hackett: Chant / Guitares / Basse / Claviers
   
(0) MIND(S) FROM OUR READERS    
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(3) COMMENT(S)    
 
 
TONYB
20/02/2024
  0
Voilà un album bien décousu musicalement parlant, alors qu'il est annoncé comme un concept, ce qui tendrait plutôt à évoquer une certaine cohérence dans le propos.
Bref, certainement pas le meilleur Steve Hackett de ces dernières années, quoiqu'en disent beaucoup de ses contempteurs. Pour ma part, je retourne écouter Wolflight ou The Night Siren, bien plus intéressants.
TORPEDO
16/02/2024
  0
Effectivement @Crimson Mojito, les correcteurs ont eu un moment de faiblesse. C'est corrigé et c'est désormais intelligible
CRIMSON MOJITO
16/02/2024
 
21
2
Même remarque que pour Pineapple Thief, Soen, et tant d'autres en ce moment... Ca tourne en rond, et c'est franchement pas incroyable. Très dense, sur-arrangé comme souvent avec Hackett, et je suis d'accord avec cette chronique, il manque de l'émotion, c'est décousu et la composition n'est pas aussi captivante que certains autres albums. Un petit raté. On en attendait bien plus au niveau qualité, surtout vu les promesses faites en amont. Sinon, avec une phrase comme "l’intervention du sac dans ‘Taking You Down’ est plutôt free…" on tiendrait pas une perle Music Waves pour l'année 2024 ?
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