Esoteric Antenna [Release date 29.09.17]
Let’s be honest. John Hackett has for too long laboured in the shadow of his better known older brother. He’s guested on Steve’s classic seventies albums and appeared in his live band. He’s made two albums previously as ‘John Hackett Band’ and ‘We Are Not Alone’ adds to a commendable if not exactly prolific output. Alan Jones of GRTR! called 2015′s ‘Another Life’ “an under-stated gem” and the same could be applied to the latest release, a near 50/50 mix of vocal tracks and instrumentals.
Hackett is happy to let his band shine on this album, notably his guitarist Nick Fletcher, but adds exemplary flute and a pleasant lead vocal throughout. Stylistically, the album occupies the prog space somewhere between Alan Parsons Project, Camel and Supertramp. So it’s well produced, melodic, and punctuated by fluid guitar.
Where’s Steve? Well of course there’s a guest appearance – on harmonica – on ‘Never Gonna Make A Dime’. Elsewhere his influence and presence is felt on the acoustic instrumentals ‘Blue Skies Of Marazion’ and ‘Ossian’s Lament’.
By way of catch-up this album comes with a bonus disc recorded live in 2016. This gives Hackett’s new band a chance to show their mettle on the older material, not least the mainman himself who in addition to flute also plays rhythm guitar and keyboards. A good value package and introduction to “an under-stated gem”. ****
Review by David Randall
David Randall presents ‘Assume The Position’ on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio every Sunday at 22:00 GMT.
On Sunday 28 July 2019, David Randall celebrated his 600th show. “Assume The Position” started in June 2007 on UK City Radio before transferring a year later to Get Ready to ROCK! Radio. The show includes tracks played on the first show plus Upton Blues Festival highlights, new music and the regular features “Live Legends” and “Anniversary Rock” which this week celebrates the Island Records label 60th anniversary.
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Power Plays w/c 19 August (Mon-Fri)
BEFORE FIRE Dead Eyes (indie)
SCOTT & MARIA Never Give Up (indie)
CORELEONI Queen Of Hearts (AFM Records)
BERLIN Transcendance (Cleopatra Records)
PHIL CAMPBELL These Old Boots (Nuclear Blast)
PHIL LANZON Blue Mountain (Phil Lanzon Ditties/Cargo Records UK)
Featured Albums w/c 19 August (Mon-Fri)
09:00-12:00 SOLEIL MOON Warrior (Frontiers)
12:00-13:00 ROXY BLUE Roxy Blue (Frontiers)
14:00-16:00 DREW HOLCOMB & THE NEIGHBORS Dragons (Magnolia Music/Thirty Tigers)
Albums That Time Forgot (Mon-Fri)
JAMES STEVENSON Everything’s Getting Closer To Being Over (2013)
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