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Van Der Graaf Generator - The Least We Can Do Is Wave To Each Other
Label: Caroline Records
Release: 1970

Darkness (11/11)
White Hammer
Whatever Would Robert Have Said?
Out of My Book
After The Flood

The Least We Can Do Is Wave To Each Other - Van Der Graaf Generator
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Probably the weakest record from the first VDGG generation, 1970's "The Least We Can Do Is Wave To Each Other" is a puretransition album - the band were stuck inbetween their first, more simplistic record, and the unique, destructive sound thatwould become their trademark. So the band are finding their feet here - a good brother record to this is Pink Floyd's "ASaucerful of Secrets".

Much like that album, there's a couple of classics here, but also a couple of duffers. There's 2 definite VDGG-classics here - the pounding opening "Darkness (11/11)" with it's trademark marching mood, and a sneering Peter Hammill at the front. So Van Der Graaf it hurts - it's the blueprint that they would follow from now on. The other song isn't reallyVDGG-style - but it's definitely the strongest here. "Refugees" is a beautiful, emotional ballad, with an absolutely outstanding set of lyrics. Of course, Hammill delivers these lyrics in his own, incredible style - supplying a wonderfulfalsetto. Definite classic.

The rest don't even match up. Some are OK, while some are bad. "White Hammer" falls into the latter - it's basically completely unmemorable for 6 or so minutes - a pretty dull, lifeless song. Unfortunately, it springs into life all too late- by the time you get to the absolutely immense, head-spinning coda where every instrument basically goes off on all frontsat the same time, it's too late to salvage the song. That coda is utterly outstanding though.

"Whatever Would Robert Have Said?" is ok - the song itself is very'd swear that Robert himself was playingthose guitar lines. There's a few decent passages here and there, although generally, the song's quite mediocre - fairlyunmemorable. It is again, though, a blueprint - VDGG would write a lot of songs like "Whatever Would Robert Have Said?" in the future, and they'd generally turn out to be better.

Following the pretty "Out of My Book", we get another blueprint - the epic. "After The Flood" is a 12-minute song about space, exploration etc...and it's terrible. Completely devoid of all of those twisted VDGG melodies, it's basically dull. Plus, there's a hilariously bad bit where Hammill sings the word "ANNIHILATION!!!!" through some voice decoder. Really funny - just totally dated. But again, the band used this as a blueprint, and wrote songs that were much better.

Overall though, this album, based on it's songs, gets a 6. There's a couple of excellent numbers here, but some of the songs are amateurish and boring. Although it's an important historical document in the terms of the band, the actual musical content isn't great. 6.

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