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Peter Gabriel - Peter Gabriel 1 [Aka: Car] CD (album) cover


Peter Gabriel


Crossover Prog

3.58 | 716 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars (This is my 398th or 399th review, and the 400th will be on an artist that's No. 200 on my PA review list. I have an eye for lists - and symmetry! But here's one useless choice for you and a pleasure for me.)

My relationship with PG's solo material is slightly older than my relationship with Gabriel-era Genesis. I used to dig So when it came out fresh in 1986. That year and the next ones were my most active vinyl buying years. When I bought this one, I already owned several classic Genesis albums (and naturally knew almost the whole small discography of PG). That's to say, my expectations against this debut weren't anyhow spectacular or nervous as Genesis-fans must have had back then. Instead, I naturally compared it to the three other untitled "peter gabriel" albums. As we know, each has a character quite different from the others. My fave of them is still the 3rd (1980) but this one comes next. The 2nd was nearly disastrous in its under-production (courtesy of Robert Fripp) and poor songs. As if it was an antithesis for this, more or less over-produced kaleidoscope of styles.

The exciting opener 'Moribund The Burgermeister' is great in its Lamb Lies Down on Broadway -sort of atmosphere. Also I visualize its slippery synth sounds to be very nicely related to the cover art (still seeing cars awash with rain drops may make me think of this music. Funny.) 'Solsbury Hill' was familiar for me from Plays Live, and I was a bit disappointed with this hilariously bumpy studio version. The fast and bold 'Modern Love' shows Gabriel as a full-steam pop artist. Hmph. I don't think there's a PG fan who counts this among his favourite songs! 'Excuse Me' is yet another song saying "hey, I can do music in this style too". Barbershop quartet and such. Probably the most irritating song here. Side One ends with an intimate, sad, little (and in the end cathartically soaring, better shown on Plays Live) song 'Humdrum', one of my PG favourites.

Side Two suffers less from showing-off the styles and more from over-production. OK, there's the late nite blues crooning 'Waiting For The Big One' - but I like it. It succesfully mixes the intimacy of broken heart blues and the bigger sounds of polished art rock. The song is surrounded with sharper, edgier material. 'Slowburn' is not bad as an intensive song but the chorus's "Don't get me wrong - yyyeeeeeeaaahh!" featuring female backing vocals disturbs me a little. 'Down The Dolce Vita' is where the production really goes over the top, if it hasn't already done it by now. A shame, it would be a good proggy song but the heavy brass-loaded orchestration makes it almost intolerable. And finally, 'Here Comes The Flood', album's best known number (or is it 'Solsbury Hill'?). It's gorgeous, and I can truly forgive the massiveness of the chorus. Happily PG has done also more ripped-down versions of the song (e.g. on Fripp's Exposure album 1979). Speaking of the whole album, maybe PG felt too much pressure and therefore relied on (over-)production and a variety of styles more than was good for the result, but nevertheless it's full of excellent stuff and in my opinion should have a bigger status in PG's own eyes too. 3 stars.

Matti | 4/5 |


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