"His thirtieth studio album outside of Genesis, it's as wide-ranging as the catalogue that precedes it": Steve Hackett voyages to multiple ports on The Circus And The Nightwhale

Prog maestro and former Genesis man Steve Hackett extends his catalogue on wide-ranging solo album The Circus And The Nightwhale

Steve Hackett: The Circus And The Nightwhale cover art
(Image: © InsideOut Music)

You can trust Louder Our experienced team has worked for some of the biggest brands in music. From testing headphones to reviewing albums, our experts aim to create reviews you can trust. Find out more about how we review.

In between tours revisiting his seven years with Genesis, guitarist Steve Hackett has made time to complete his first solo release since 2021.The Circus And The Nightwhale is a quasi-autobiographical tale, on which Hackett also sings most of the lead vocals. 

His thirtieth studio album outside of Genesis, it's as wide-ranging as the catalogue that precedes it. It's short on tunes to whistle, but generous in genres. Those expecting Genesis-like prog will delight in Ghost Moon And Living Lover and Into The Nightwhale, and perhaps the flute-adorned Enter The Ring.

But there's so much more. Opener People Of The Smoke mixes show tuneage with heavy-metal interludes; Get Me Out delivers blues with a swing; Circo Inferno features Arabic instruments; Breakout (dominated by Hackett's guitar and Hugo Degenhardt's drumming) goes for the rock jugular; closer White Dove is a fantastic neo-classical solo played on acoustic guitar. 

Many ports of call, then, and an entertaining voyage.

Neil Jeffries

Freelance contributor to Classic Rock and several of its offshoots since 2006. In the 1980s he began a 15-year spell working for Kerrang! intially as a cub reviewer and later as Geoff Barton’s deputy and then pouring precious metal into test tubes as editor of its Special Projects division. Has spent quality time with Robert Plant, Keith Richards, Ritchie Blackmore, Rory Gallagher and Gary Moore – and also spent time in a maximum security prison alongside Love/Hate. Loves Rush, Aerosmith and beer. Will work for food.