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Peter Gabriel - Us CD (album) cover


Peter Gabriel


Crossover Prog

3.64 | 431 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars Forget any comments you have seen that any Gabriel album after So is not worth buying. As I said in my recent review, Passion, in my opinion, represents the highlight of his illustrious solo career, and this LP is also an excellent piece of work.

It is incredibly personal, very dark in places, but a listen to the lyrics and the moods created will absolutely have all long term fans of the man's work empathising with the obvious pain he went through with his divorce from Jill and subsequent relationships.

Come Talk To Me is Gabriel's anthem to non communication, and ought to be played at every marriage counsellors office in the world to couples who refuse to talk to each other. The live version was incredible, with Gabriel coming out of a phone box to talk to both his demons and the audience. Very much influenced by world sounds, this is a great opener. The drums, I think by Manu Kache, are especially incredible.

Love to be Loved is, to be honest, a bit of a filler to these ears, but it is still heads above the solo stuff Collins was creating at the time in terms of songwriting and performance.

Blood of Eden is one of those tracks that makes you wonder just how somebody can be so creative, genius, and move you almost to tears in listening to a work. With Sinead O Connor performing beautiful backing vocals (apparently they had a short relationship), the highlight of a brooding and mournful song is the blood curdling scream that Gabriel performs in the middle. The backing vocals are exceptional, male and female, and the whole song simply carries along in a quiet wave of new world soundscapes.

Steam takes away a whole star from this album. I can't stand to listen to it any more. Basically, a very poor imitation of Sledgehammer and a blatant attempt to recreate the commercial success of that track. It didn't work.

Only Us is another track hugely influenced by Gabriel's world music connections, and has some fantastic vocal work combined with interesting keyboard, guitar, and woodwind.

Washing of the Water is another highlight on this LP. Gabriel's vocals are utterly fascinating and incredible to listen to. Again, very simple in its execution, this is its triumph. with minimal piano, bass, and drum pedal accompanying.

Digging in the Dirt is a far better single from the LP. It is a rockier piece, and the video accompanying it was especially clever with bugs, insects, and such like crawling all over Gabriel. The Rhodes guitar burst to the main chorus is especially good.

Fourteen Black Paintings is another track you will love if you enjoy World Music, and hate if you don't, but, as with Passion and other tracks on this LP, Gabriel's chants enchant and grab your attention.

Kiss That Frog is a curious track, the third single from the album. It is a more traditional track, i.e. British rock rather than world music influenced, and is enjoyable without being outstanding.

The album closes with its tour de force. Secret World, from which the subsequent tour was named, is magnificent. Very centred around illicit love, and the agony of keeping it secret, Gabriel again turns in a huge, powerful, and emotional vocal performance, backed by some exceptional musicians. The piano backing is especially powerful.

This is a great LP, and one I think has been much underrated. Certainly not worth five stars, even to a long standing fan like me, but absolutely worth the four stars I give it. Don't listen to the doubters. If you gave up on Gabriel either after he left Genesis, or after So, then this is the ideal place to find him again.

lazland | 4/5 |


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