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


Peter Gabriel


Crossover Prog

3.00 | 555 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
2 stars Scratching around for inspiration

For his second album, Gabriel moved away from the strong melodies and production present on his first album. Confusingly once again simply titled "Peter Gabriel" (he said he wanted people to see his albums in the same way as newspapers), it has become known among fans as "Scratch", a reference to the sleeve image.

Gabriel himself has stated that in retrospect this was by no means his best album, although he tends to point the finger at the Robert Fripp production rather than his song writing or performance. He does now admit however that the album was hurried (it was completed in 6 weeks), and not given the nurturing it needed.

Tracks like the opening "On the air" and "DIY" have similarities with "Back in new York City" from "The Lamb" (not a personal favourite). The remainder of side one goes pretty much pear-shaped, with repetitive pop and dull melodies, saved only by the softer and more atmospheric "White shadow". Ironically, the keyboard basis of the track sounds very like the type of sound Genesis were adopting around the same time on the "And then there were three" album. The 10CC like "A wonderful day in a one way world", with an offbeat, reggae like rhythm is particularly poor.

Side two has no less than six 3-4 minute songs. These range from the impassioned but wandering balladry of "Indigo" to the politically charged new wave sound of "Animal magic". "Exposure" is the only track on which Fripp receives a writing credit, but there is no doubt about his dominance of the song. The title is repeated no less than 13 times, the only other lyrics being "Space is what I need, it's what I feed on", and "Out in the open".

"Perspective" is similar to the new wave mediocrity being pumped out by Todd Rundgren and Utopia around this time, the addition of sax delving the song deeper in the mire. The lyrics of the closing "Home sweet home" are disturbing to the point of being distasteful. I have difficulty in understanding what Gabriel's intention was here, as the song is lyrically neither satirical or observant, but is entirely superficial in a tabloid sort of way.

In all, a disappointing album, especially in view of the fine initial statement made by Gabriel on his first album. It is not just the fact that he makes it clear here that he is not willing to assume responsibility for keeping the prog banner flying, but that he does not appear to have the strength of material to secure his career in any other style.

Easy Livin | 2/5 |


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