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


Peter Gabriel


Crossover Prog

3.00 | 558 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

5 stars Even though Peter Gabriel's 2nd album was released within a year of the first one, they sound almost drastically different. For one, it was produced by Robert Fripp (the credits say "Produced by Robert Fripp for Peter Gabriel"), and it's even considered to be part of a trilogy of albums he produced at the time, this one having the same production and sound as the other album of the trilogy I'm familiar with, Daryl Hall's "Sacred Songs." Both albums come across as singer songwriter albums that are affected by Fripp's unorthodox production. All of the songs have a slightly muffled, dusty sound to them, and even though the quiet parts are very clear, (except that the vocals are a little low in the mix - intentional, likely), it has a very subdued feel overall, and when the album does get loud, it's either during a detuned bass solo from Tony Levin, or one of Fripp's into the stratosphere guitar solos. While I always felt that the debut's eclecticity would have benefited from a more eclectic approach to mixing and production, I think the uniformity in sound suits all these songs quite well. It does deepen the potential appreciation for the songs: it took me a long time to get into songs like "Indigo" and especially "Flotsam and Jetsam," but once I'd heard the album multiple times, I grew to appreciate Peter Gabriel's second as a very creatively produced and deep album, full of all great songs. "On the Air" starts things off with a very fast Larry Fast synth part giving way to a driving rock song about a radio pirate, with a true rock band arrangement, including one of those wonderful detuned bass solos mentioned above. It segues into "D.I.Y", one of the songs that benefits most from the spare production, with a simple descending odd-time piano riff with acoustic guitar and steady drumming and Peter Gabriel alternately singing softly, singing not-so-softly, and growling lyrics that were right in there with the punk sentiments of the late 70's. That segues into "Mother of Violence", a somewhat Lamb Lies Down On Broadwayish introspective number with great singing, perfectly fitting distorted volume swells from Fripp, and profound lyrics. Another example of Gabriel's great lyric writing can be found in the next song, "A Wonderful Day in a One-Way World", a very unusual mix of reggae rhythms, odd time signatures, and the band and sound of the album. "White Shadow" concludes the first side as what seems to be a highly poetic musing on light, and the song is very intense with ominous, modal chords at a brooding, ballad-like pace with trumpeting synth chords and stirring slide guitar from Sid McGinnis in the choruses, leading up to a masterfully emotional solo from Fripp which could be up there among his best. Side Two is pretty much the same affair, and that's a good thing. I like the recorders on "Indigo" (played by George Marge), the clever anti-war lyrics on "Animal Magic", the piano on "Flotsam and Jetsam", and the insane, ever higher guitar reachings of Fripp on "Perspective", in particular. The closing song, "Home Sweet Home" is a tearjerking story of a man losing his family in poverty that's sang by Gabriel so effectively, it could really break the listener's heart. It's a down ending, for sure, but become familiar with the album, and it's very clear that Peter Gabriel and his team new exactly what they were doing when they made this album.
7headedchicken | 5/5 |


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