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Peter Gabriel - Us CD (album) cover

US

Peter Gabriel

 

Crossover Prog

3.62 | 468 ratings

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Ivan_Melgar_M
Special Collaborator
Symphonic Prog Specialist
4 stars I just noticed today that despite being a PETER GABRIEL fan, I have not rated a single studio album, so I must change that and of course will do it with my favorite "Us", probably not the most Progressive album of his discography but incredibly creative and well elaborate.

By this point of his career it's obvious that the guy is fascinated by the African rhythm and percussion, but the real important fact is his ability to blend them with Rock even performing with unusual instruments for both genres as bagpipes and violin in the best Prog spirit.

The album starts with "Come Talk to Me", in which Peter makes a powerful duet with Sinead O'Connor and Manu Katche shows how outstanding drummer he is. But again what impresses me more is how Peter manages to fusion African and Arabic music with Rock, simply a masterpiece.

"Love to be Loved" begins with a very a drum and percussion intro which leads immediately to the vocal section where he makes use of his versatile voice, sure it's raspy and has problems with the low ranges, but the whispering and technique cover any problem.

The third song is "Blood of Eden", a very solid track from the beginning, again the blend of ethnic influences can be easily identified and morphs into a ballad, where he makes the delight of the listener with his trademarked semi-yodel, again a good duet with Sinead O'C0onnor, not as strong as the previous but good enough.

"Steam" is another great song, despite some similarities with the unfairly maligned "Sledgehammer", the song is very original for Peter, the use of wind instruments makes the song richer, and even though is a bit monotonous due to the repetitive percussion and choir, is strong enough not to affect the quality of the album.

"Only Us" with an impressive contrapuntal experiment between Peter and Levon Minassian playing his Doudouk, but after a delightful moment Peter begins to sing the lyrics with a delicate backing vocals which I don't know if are overdubbed by him or by another vocalist, a very pleasant song that flows gently from start to end.

"Washing of the Water" is the weaker track of the album, almost exclusively a piano and vocals duet with a subtle percussion in the background, despite his effort, this song turns boring and predictable, something unusual in the talented vocalist and composer.

"Digging the Dirt" is a good change, a very rhythmic song more or les in the vein of Steam, with a constant percussion plus a great rhythm section formed by two masters as Tony Levin and Manu Katche, but if we add the excellent guitar, we have another solid track.

"Fourteen Black Paintings" begins with a doudouk intro that creates an exotic and mysterious atmosphere, as the song advances the keyboards and flute join with a subtle percussion and Peter's voice recorded as if he was in a distant location, the excellent vocal work makes of this song an unforgettable piece of art.

"Kiss the Frog" is another track that despite being good, has never captured me, I find it too repetitive, not bad though, only a matter of personal taste.

Peter saved the best song for the end, the magnificent "Secret World", a song that combines everything, excellent keyboards, solid drumming, one of Peter's best performances, bagpipes, flute and radical changes, all covered with a dreamy but at the same time energetic atmosphere. The instrumental break is everything that anybody can expect from a PETER GABRIEL album, seven minutes of pure and first class Progressive Rock but overall quality music almost for any taste.

Even when I would love to give a perfect rating, I can't do that without falling in fanboyism, being that there are two weaker tracks, but no way I would rate this album with less than 4 solid stars (that would be 4.5 if the system allowed half stars), because that would be unfair.

Ivan_Melgar_M | 4/5 |

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