The Quiet Zone/The Pleasure Dome, released in 1977, was Van der Graaf Generator's last studio album before their 2005 reunion. The album features a more energetic, new wave sound than its three immediate predecessors, anticipating singer and songwriter Peter Hammill's late '70s solo work.
For this album, bassist Nic Potter returned to the band, having left in 1970, and violinist Graham Smith (String Driven Thing), also joined the line-up, in place of departed members organist Hugh Banton and saxophonist David Jackson, modifying the band's sound considerably. Officially, the band's name was shortened to just "Van der Graaf" for this album and the live album Vital that followed, but contemporaneous Charisma Records promotional materials used both the full and shortened name.
As 1977 approached, the group split; instead of calling it a day, Peter Hammill felt that there was, er, still life in the group: dropping the 'Generator' from the name and, to compensate for the loss of Hugh Banton and David Jackson, Hammill and Guy Evans brought original bassist Nic Potter back into the fold and added Graham Smith from String Driven Thing on violin. The resulting album, The Quiet Zone/The Pleasure Dome was released in September 1977, and it survived intact at the height of new wave, because its terse, opaque songs struck a particular chord in the new climate, proving that venom was not solely a punk's prerogative. ''A Sphinx In The Face'', a continuation of Hammill's obsession with growing older is an ever-shimmering highlight as is the swooning ''Lizard Play'' and ''Habit Of The Broken Heart''. User Comments