John Hackett, younger brother of Steve, has been active in the world progressive music for quite some time and has made a number of solo albums, mostly for the flute, as well as being part of the ambient group Symbiosis. John has collaborated in the past with Steve on his early solo works Voyage of the Acolyte and Please Don’t Touch. In 2005 John changed direction by releasing a “rock” album, Checking Out of London. A further two albums have followed, one a flute/dance album, the other of compositions for flute and guitar which featured Steve and Chris Glassfield.
This latest album, Another Life, is another in the rock genre, the music written by John with lyrics provided by Nick Clabburn and production, mixing and mastering by Nick Magnus.
The album’s tracks are varied throughout but it mostly remains on the softer side of rock, mellow and melodic at times. No doubt partly due to John’s varied CV as one of the “go to” musicians for flute, there are influences here. Burnt Down Trees has a Peter Gabriel feel to it and a couple of the other tracks are reminiscent of Tim Bowness’ style. White Lines at times has an eastern influence to it. John has a good voice which suits these songs and his brother provides lead guitar on seven tracks which is up there with his best work. As you would expect the flute features throughout but does not take over proceedings. For the opening title track the flute has a haunting quality while on Life in Reverse it provides the solo in place of the guitar, and it works so well.
Satellite is an interesting track, here Steve takes up the harmonica and guitar duties are provided by Anthony Phillips. The lyrics appear to deal with the darker sides of life, but the music does not share that dark feel, at times bright, sometimes moody, but always interesting.
This is a collection of thirteen well written and constructed songs; John appears to know how to write for Steve’s guitar to get the best out of him. I have found repeated plays offer rewards, from the subtleties of the music and the playing to the quality of the song writing. This is an album that has grown on me and has been an interesting find. If you like your progressive music in the lighter vein with shorter songs then this could be an album for you.
01. Another Life (4:01)
02. Look Up (3:42)
03. Poison Town (3:34)
04. White Lines (5:06)
05. Life in Reverse (3:17)
06. Burnt Down Trees (2:54)
07. Satellite (3:29)
08. Forest (4:41)
09. Magazine (4:37)
10. Rain (3:10)
11. Actors (3:40)
12. Another Day, Another Night (4:08)
13. Poison Town Reprise (2:08)
Total Time – 48:27
John Hackett – Vocals, Flute, Lead & Acoustic Guitars, Bass guitar, Keyboards (track 13)
Nick Magnus – Keyboards, Drums, Programming
Steve Hackett – Lead Guitar (tracks 1,2,4,6,10,11 & 13), Harmonica (track 7)
Anthony Phillips – 12-string Classical Guitar, Harpsichord (track 7)
Duncan Parsons – Triangle & Additional Engineering (track 7)
Record Label: Esoteric Antenna
Year Of Release: 2015