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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 Genesis' "Lamb 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....

Peter Gabriel

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