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Peter Gabriel - Peter Gabriel 3 [Aka: Melt] CD (album) cover


Peter Gabriel


Crossover Prog

4.20 | 915 ratings

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4 stars As other reviewers have already pointed out, you shouldn't expect anything like Genesis on this album. After two competent, though hardly earth-shaking, solo efforts, in 1980 Peter Gabriel released his third album, considered by many his finest (though I have a slight preference for its follow-up, commonly known as "Security"). A dark, sometimes disturbing, passionate record, PG's third features such luminaries as Phil Collins (a great drummer, let's not forget it!), electronic keyboard wizard Larry Fast, Robert Fripp and Kate Bush - not to mention the inimitable Tony Levin and his legendary Chapman stick. The lyrics touch upon such subjects as madness, violence and racism, making for often uncomfortable (though always intellectually rewarding) listening. Peter's distinctive vocals range from the brooding lower pitch of "Intruder" and "Family Snapshot" to the higher, heart-wrenching lament that is "Biko".

The best-known track on the album, the rather successful single "Games Without Frontiers", is also the most optimistic, a paean to interracial friendship and understanding enhanced by Kate Bush's backing vocals. She also provides a more than adequate foil for Peter's voice in the intense "No Self-Control", also featuring the beautiful yet eerie sound of xylophones. "Family Snapshot" , with its deceptively quiet ending, deals with issues of political murder; while "Biko", its heavy, tribal drumbeat reminiscent of the tolling of a funeral bell, is dedicated to the eponymous South African civil rights activist, murdered in prison by the police."I Don't Remember", introduced by a short sax section titled "Start", is driving and obsessive, with Peter's vocals almost sounding like howls. My favourite track, however, is the opening "Intruder", the tale of a stalker characterised by Phil Collins's, apparently simple, haunting drumming pattern (which, incidentally, inspired the very similar one on Blue Oyster Cult's magnificent "Veteran of the Psychic Wars"): "Intruder's happy in the dark/ Intruder come and leave its mark/ I am the intruder".

For many prog fans, this record (like its followers) may be too poppy or not intricate enough - which is a pity, seen as Peter Gabriel is one of the most original and inventive artists currently on the scene. In the long years of his solo career he has proved that you can write songs which are at the same time accessible and challenging, not to mention musically valid, and progressive in the true sense of the word.

Raff | 4/5 |


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