Frequently dense and occasionally beautiful, Peter Hammill ruminates on the outcomes of communication and mis-communication for this, his 30th solo album. Unusually for Hammill, all of the material was written before going into the studio. With banks of vocals, lush semi-acoustics, sparse electrics and piano splashes, Consequences is a brilliantly difficult addition to his canon.
Constantly Overheard is the standout: like a missing ballad from Hammill’s early work, it explores the impact of a simple slip of the tongue (and contains one of the few uses of the word “poppycock” in contemporary music). Elswhere, with its eerily vintage drum machine, New Pen-Pal is another of Hammill’s occasional stalker narratives; Scissors is genuinely unnerving – the recollection of a violent incident that Hammill witnessed in 70s New York; and, with multi-tracked voices, Close To Me catalogues yet another imaginary affair, with a dalliance taking a fling too seriously. For Hammill-spotters, That Wasn’t What I Said has his Old School Tie piano thumping away, while A Run Of Luck closes the album in suitably downbeat fashion.
Less ornate than his recent writing for Van Der Graaf Generator, Consequences is a challenging listen, but also an exceptionally rewarding one.