Peter Gabriel - "Up"
Ian Gray Confesses to Fandom and Gives
Peter Gabriel's Ironically-Titled New CD a Spin
As a long-time fan of Peter Gabriel's work (since
Lies Down on Broadway", in fact) I was quite excited at
the prospect of a new CD that wasn't a soundtrack or side-project.
I first heard about it on-line, and even gave the preview download
a try, with no success (see
article). If you're a fan of Gabriel's more upbeat & accessible
recordings, you might want to skip this one. However, if you actually
like his harder-edged gloomier stuff like I do, give it a spin.
The first track recalls some of the feel of the earliest Gabriel,
baiting you with some quiet percussion and then bashing you over
the head with aggressive, almost NIN-like textures. It may be my
imagination, but parts of this album are almost reminiscent of the
Beatle's White Album, in terms of atmosphere. On first listens,
the material sounds almost simplistic in terms of the trademark
Gabriel production values. On repeated listening, you might begin
to appreciate the subtleties, though. "No way Out" is
a good example - only Peter Gabriel could get away with a latin-jazz
acoustic rhythm/bass groove layered with Ennio Morricone simplistic
Telecaster guitar lines, and then still manage to throw in the trademark
Fairlight keys. Some of the less-than commercial tracks still have
an infectiousness that may have you humming songs you're not really
that fond of.
There's not much in the way of "singles"
here - although we should be careful. "Diggin' in the Dirt"
wasn't exactly "In Your Eyes", and yet it gets airplay
to this day. "More Than This" is pretty catchy, but who
knows. I personally like "Signal to Noise" quite a bit
- you'd have to be dead to not get chills when Nusrat Fateh Ali
Khan sings, and the percussion provided by the Dhol Drummers inspired
me to go out and buy a few CD's (See sidebar).
All in all, I really dig this CD, but I'm not
recommending it to friends unless they have a "wider ear".
The single, "The Barry Williams Show" is best experienced
as the video [produced by Sean Penn (!)] that's getting some rotation
recently. In spite of my ambiguousness here, this CD is definitely
growing on me, and all the required Gabrielese is there - Tony Levin
on stick, exotic percussion, and those bizarre textures and vibes
that are Peter Gabriel's voice. Be sure to check out the wonky nord,
and if you have any idea who either the Black Dyke Band or the Blind
Boys of Alabama are, drop us a line....