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Peter Gabriel - Peter Gabriel (2 -

PETER GABRIEL (2 - "SCRATCH")

Peter Gabriel

 

Crossover Prog

2.97 | 389 ratings

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stefro
Prog Reviewer
2 stars Released between 1976 and 1982 and each officially titled 'Peter Gabriel', the first four genre-hopping albums from the former Genesis front-man contain the bulk of his essential works before the on-set of the 1980s, continuing worldwide success and changing musical trends gradually orchestrated a movetowards more commercially-orientated material. After quitting Genesis Gabriel sensibly decided to take a short but much-needed break from all musical activities(by the mid-seventies he already had a young family) allowing him to recharge his drained creative batteries and return several months later armed with a fresh new direction deliberately at odds with his progressive rock past. This would lead to a highly-fertile period of creativity, with each of the self-titled albums featuring it's own stylistic hues and individual characteristics and remarkably different from his previous material; gone are the fantastical flights of fancy, the epic concepts and complex symphonic flourishes, in comes barbed new-wave pop, angular art-rock expressions and brazen experimental textures stamped with the vocalist's uniquely gravelly tones. It's an impressive quartet, though it is perhaps '2' - or 'Scratch' as it is sometimes referred to - that finds Gabriel's experimental curiosity at it's most obfuscating, the album falling rather frustratingly between the futuristic electro-pop of '1' and the sparse rhythms and metallic edges of '3'. Despite opening with the jagged, proto-punky synthesized rocker 'In The Air' and featuring the ethereal soundscape pop of the excellent 'White Shadow', this is a thoroughly overcooked album, drenched in a plethora of glitzy electronic effects that jar awkwardly with the poppy nature of Gabriel's compositions. Simply put, '2' features far too many layers, something made even more obvious by the sparse nature of '3' and that albums cunning use of sonic experimentation. It's also overshadowed by Gabriel's vibrant debut. Whereas '1' focused on constructing entrancing melodies as found on the likes of 'Solsbury Hill', '2' seems much more about utilising technology for it's own sake to the detriment of the actual tunes. Still, that said, this is by no means a bad album and, if anything, the approach does showcase Gabriel's unending quest to twist and morph the conventions of rock through his own peculiar experimental ideas, always the sign of a formidable talent at work. Thankfully, '2' would prove a minor blip and a rare example of Gabriel over-stretching his talents. Though undoubtedly his least cohesive early release, this sophomore effort would otherwise lay the foundations for one of the most innovative careers in modern rock, proving that even in his less successful moments Gabriel's music still maintains a vibrant originality few can reproduce. A failure it may be, but '2' is a very elegant one indeed.

STEFAN TURNER, STOKE NEWINGTON, 2012

stefro | 2/5 |

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