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Peter Gabriel - Peter Gabriel 2 [Aka: Scratch] CD (album) cover


Peter Gabriel


Crossover Prog

2.99 | 492 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars Gabriel does minimalistic, plus a bit of punk. This is an album which made quite a few jaws drop at the time of its release, mine included, but, perhaps, should be judged a little more fairly in retrospect.

There is some vintage Gabriel on the album, that much is sure. I love In The Air, which is brimming with energy and anger, set around the time when Gabriel was increasingly admired by the punk/new wave community because many found the character of Rael as one of their own. This vein, and certainly the anger, is continued on DIY. This is just about as far away from Genesis as it was possible for the man to get, and that, of course, was the whole point. Think of a Russian Doll. Gabriel with his debut, and this, was palpably attempting to keep opening the doll until he found his personal musical identity away from the symphonic genre that he had helped personify. Personally, I don't think he fully managed it, certainly not effectively, until the excellent third album.

There are hints of where Gabriel wanted to go. Mother Of Violence is a bittersweet track, dripping with forlorn love, set against a mere piano and acoustic guitar. It is a wonderful track, and one of my personal favourites. Exposure is a fascinating electronic experiment, and by and large is a successful one, although many Fripp fans will, I know, prefer his so called "definitive" version. Flotsam & Jetsam is similar in feel and intent, whilst I adore the final track, Home Sweet Home, with its exceptionally dark lyrics warning the world of the pratfalls of superstardom. In fact, this track can be seen as a definite metaphor for the album itself, and where Gabriel was at the time.

The album, though, is reduced from being an excellent one by two factors. Firstly, the whimsical nature of tracks such as A Wonderful Day In A One Way World and Animal Magic. They are not bad, as such, but feel so out of place musically for such a talented artist that they have throwaway screaming at you. In addition, I have always felt that Gabriel got caught up in the whole Fripp minimalist and "get away from prog" ethos, to the extent where the whole album feels painfully under produced. In fact, this, and the short timespan it took to create the work most certainly led to Gabriel eventually taking the other extreme in album production, that of taking donkey's years to come up with anything. To me, this is most evident in White Shadow, a supremely good piece of music, featuring some incredible synth work, which ends up sounding as if Gabriel and the band are shouting down the end of a phone across the Irish Sea.

Really, this album is a transitional one. It is notable for the extraordinary bass performance of Tony Levin, drums by Jerry Marotta, and programming by Larry Fast. These would gel perfectly on the successor.

Three stars for this. A good album it is interesting to revisit occasionally, but by no means essential.

lazland | 3/5 |


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