At first, it would have been very tempting to try and draw parallels between Rob’s reworking of the VDGG’s classic masterpiece "Pawn Hearts" and the original VDGG’s version from the seventies. But despite the iconic standing of the original masterpiece of complex progressive art-rock. Rob’s new version certainly stands aloft and quite supreme as a worthy candidate, not only as a replacement for the original, but as a symphonic variation or more exactly an alternative take to the 70s classic VDGG recording.
In terms of musical composition, the new score is much more of a keyboard extravaganza with deeply rich Synthesiser modulations and church-like organ fills galore. Beautiful piano chord sequences constantly entwine themselves between the various musical phrases phases creating many points of interest and projecting throughout a warm glow to the musical convolutions. The album is riddled with many Interventions of electric guitar filling the air with untold variations of different sound effects, eerie noises and sharp staccato bursts of energy. The guitar of course does provide its own moments of sweetly delivered mellow ringing sounds that are cleverly interspersed within the musical framework.
The vocal duties have been divided with each of the three individual tracks claiming its own songster, the running order being Luiz 'Lad' Garcia, Pete Carlyle and Cary Grace. All three deliver their vocal contributions with much style and panache and totally in keeping with the original spirit of the music. Cary in particular creates a wonderfully atmospheric and rather haunting vocal contribution throughout the tricky 26min long “A Plague Of Lighthouse Keepers” track with much style and elegance.
The classical proportions of ‘Pawn Hearts’ have been greatly extended and amplified by Rob’s multiple keyboard contributions which have, in a sense, given a different, more polished sheen to the proceedings. The choral effects throughout provide a wonderful backdrop or canvas for the rest of the lead instrumentation and vocals to hold sway, especially the piercing well-considered guitar.
And so now hearing this project and all its intricacy of sound with fresh ears and one hopes that such musical reverence will be appreciated by a whole host of new progressive rock aficionados as well as those VDGG fans from the magical seventies.
TRACKS and Personnel
1. Lemmings (including Cog) (Hammill) 13.03
Rob Gould - keyboards, effects and backing vocal
Luiz 'Lad' Garcia - lead vocals and guitars
Fernando Alge - guitars
Gabriel Costa - bass guitar
Ricardo 'Pizza' Martinelli - drums
2.Man Erg (Hammill) 10.24
Rob Gould - keyboards, bass pedals, effects
Pete Carlyle - lead vocals
Sam Buckley - drums
3.A Plague Of Lighthouse Keepers (Banton, Evans, Hammill, Jackson) 26.29
Rob Gould - keyboards, bass guitar, effects, percussions
Cary Grace - lead vocals, wiard modular, effects
Luiz Garcia - guitars, talkbox
Chris 'Joe' Beard - additional acoustic guitar
produced by Rob Gould, with Luiz Garcia, Pete Carlyle and Cary Grace
mastered by Luiz Garcia