(All Album Reviews by Chuck AzEee!)
The remainder of the unfinished songs that were recorded at the Spectral Mornings sessions, were finally finished and released the following year. Defector (which some believe is his answer to his former band's song "Down And Out") is another great showcasing of his mercurial band.
Defector like its predecessor, is a fine crafted album, but yet more accessible then Spectral Mornings, which is probably why the album is his best charting in his home land, peaking in the Top Ten on the UK album charts in 1980.
To start things off on Defector is the live anthem "The Steppes", which like a doom metal band, durges its way into the next song "Time To Get Out" which lightens up the mood.
"Slogans" is the song that shows the master of the technique called "tapping" (which features Hackett tapping the strings of the guitar rather then picking). Although I personally love "Slogans", the song can be trying to the ears of those that are into music and not just overindulgent flashiness or technique. Things quiet down in a hurry leading to one of my personal all-time favorite Hackett songs, "Leaving", sung in great three part harmony ending with the great classical guitar solo, "Two Vamps as Guest" (A word of caution: on the latest release of Defector, "Two Vamps as Guest" was horribly linked together with "Jacuzzi" and it destroys the entire mood of both songs)
Those fortunate enough to have a vinyl or cassette version of Defector, will enjoy the next song, the smooth jazz-like "Jaccuzi", which Both Hacketts shine on. "Hammer In The Sand" is a showcasing of Steve's fascination of with the guitar synth, which also is backed by Steve doubling on acoustic guitar and Nick on keyboards.
The next song "The Toast" is as depressing as Hackett would get, but it brings the vocals after a long break of instrumentals. Life seeps back into the music, as Steve (predating his former mates "I Can't Dance") and the band funk stuff up, with the Disco-ish "The Show".
The closer and the second most interesting song on this album, is the 1930-ish big-band song, "Sentimental Institution". Co-written with Peter Hicks, the song, as great as it is, seemed so out of place not only on the album, but during the time period as well. Very daring.
Steve after this album, would never record another with this lineup, only retaining Brother John and Nick throughout the remainder of the eighties.
Album rating: Four Stars.