STEVE HACKETT SIGNALS THE NIGHT SIREN IN EXCLUSIVE VIDEO INTERVIEW 24th March 2017
Words and Interview: Andy Rawll
With an impending new album, 'The Night Siren', and another extensive 'Genesis Revisited' tour, MetalTalk's Andy Rawll met up with Steve at the Gibson Brands London Showroom to find out more about how this latest project came together and what we can expect from the forthcoming tour.
You'll hear about how diverse tales of global conflict, refugees, night terrors, northern lights, tropical storms and cloud forests inspired this latest work.
Steve also talks about how the 40th anniversary of the release of Genesis' 'Wind And Wuthering' will be represented in the set-list, as well as discussing his early musical influences and eager anticipation of playing the London Palladium for the first time on May 19th.
There are also fascinating and poignant stories about sadly departed comrades, Gary Moore, John Wetton and Chris Squire. You can watch the full interview here and also read Andy's full review of 'The Night Siren' below.
Steve Hackett: 'The Night Siren'
Released 24th March 2017 (InsideOut Music (Sony))
His most ambitious and cohesive album of recent times...
Guitar innovator and sonic genius Steve Hackett is in the creative form of his life. Barely two years following the release of his acclaimed and thematically deep 'Wolflight' album, comes this new album, 'The Night Siren'.
Rich in thought-provoking lyrics and broad in the cinematic realisation of its soundscapes, enabled by a truly multinational sonic palette of musicians, it's a fine work and provides a compelling hour of inspired music that brings to life the dark lyrical themes of the global perils of division and the need for unity.
Lead track 'Behind The Smoke' sets the tone for ensuing song cycle, with its unnerving intro vocal, insistent Kashmiri riff, chilling acoustic breakdown and explosion of frenzied militaristic drums to accompany a terrifically visceral guitar solo.
There's a great diversity of styles, yet there's a marvellous cohesion to the album as a whole. A great example is the redemptive afterglow of 'West to East' that provides the message of hope at the end of album in response to the cry of anguish of the opening track.
Talking of song pairings, the Hackett's widescreen ambition is perfectly served by the juxtaposition of the chilling 'Fifty Miles From The North Pole' and the breezy 'El Niño'. The first, an evocative travelogue that starts with a languid international man of mystery guitar riff and develops through eerie vocals and haunted trumpet into a crescendo of pure aural cinema that portrays the foreboding yet beautiful landscape.
The second is a stunning 'Dance Inside A Hurricane' style instrumental, with its 'War Of The Worlds' style intro, that leaves you battered and bruised, such is the intensity of the performance. It also includes some classic Hackett motifs, such as whammy work that recalls 'Please Don't Touch'.
The trademark layered and orchestrated vocals that permeate most of his albums are equally prominent here, but here they sound more organic and nuanced than before, with the blended voices of tour band cohorts Nad Silvan and Amanda Lehmann. The vocal arrangement on 'Inca Terra' is almost Crosby Stills and Nash in style and comes close on execution, although I don't recall the Marrakesh Express ever venturing as far as the Andes or stopping for refuelling in Iceland.
Steve's solo voice has never sounded more assured and works really well on the tender love story of 'Other Side Of The Wall', the fun psychedelia of 'Martian Sea' and the sumptuous pop of 'Anything But Love'. The latter being perhaps my favourite song on the album, with its fine flamenco intro, catchy 'REM plays 'Don't Fear The Reaper'' verse and rich creamy, two minute outro solo, including some great raunchy harmonica.
Indeed, the album is multi-faceted and offers many highlights that reveal themselves on repeated listens. It's a testament to the engineering nous and production skills of long-time collaborator Roger King that Hackett's aural vision has been brought to such vibrant life.
It's sure to appeal to fans of all periods of Steve's career as well as anyone that likes their prog symphonic and their six strings set to stun. A marvellous, moody masterpiece.
'The Night Siren' is released today in the following formats:
• Digital download
• Standard jewel case CD
• Gatefold black 2LP vinyl and CD
• Special edition CD/Blu-Ray Media Book (incl. 5.1 surround sound mix and making-of documentary.