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Peter Gabriel

Peter Gabriel

Review by Gary Hill

With this disc Peter Gabriel continued to confound the record label by releasing it under just his name. This was the third such album with that title. Known as “three” or “melting face” to the fans, this features no shortage of luminary guests (including Robert Fripp, Kate Bush, Tony Levin and even Phil Collins). It includes a full round up of strong material. A few tracks rise above the rest and much of the disc is in the more rhythmically oriented style that Gabriel seems to prefer. Still, there are some Genesis-like moments, too. It’s a great disc and still holds up quite well even today.


This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2009  Volume 1 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Intruder
Percussion leads this off and the track rapidly moves into some distinctly King Crimson-like territory. It moves toward more melodic music, but still feels dark and dangerous. Gabriel’s vocals come in over a stripped down, extremely percussive arrangement. This arrangement is built upon and later we get a cool tuned percussion segment.
No Self-Control
With an almost mean sound to the backdrop, tuned percussion drives a lot of this track. Gabriel’s vocal delivery is quite cool. They fire out into a more typical hard rocking Gabriel jam later in the piece.
Start
The title here is appropriate as this is a jazzy instrumental introduction to the next piece. It’s quite short and segues straight into “I Don’t Remember.”
I Don't Remember
The rhythm section start this off in a rubbery groove. This is something that’s bouncy and very typical of the music that would make up the So album. It’s got some crunch to it later and rocks out quite well. This has quite a catchy chorus. There’s quite a cool jam late in the track.
Family Snapshot
Mellower and more melody driven, this really feels like something Gabriel might have done in his Genesis days – that is if Tony Levin had been part of that band. There are some sections later in the track that are more in keeping with the more rhythmically driven music that Gabriel’s solo career seems often to be centered upon. Still it keeps returning to Genesis-like territory – and often moody at that. 
And Through The Wire
Here’s a lot more rock and roll approach. Gabriel puts in a rockin’ vocal performance, too. There’s a bit of a punky edge to this. There’s a tasty keyboard driven segment late in the track. 
Games Without Frontiers
If you’ve heard only one song from this album, it’s this one. That’s a deserving thing, too, because with one possible exception this is the strongest cut on show here. The music is dramatic and feels a good blend of the Genesis type sounds and Gabriel’s solo work. I love Gabriel’s vocals on this. The whistling section is nice, too. This is just a very classy track and one that I’d guess most of you have heard. 
Not One Of Us
The first part of this track is pretty typical Gabriel. It’s rhythmic and cool. As they shift to the harder edge section this feels very much like something from The Talking Heads. 
Lead A Normal Life
This is pretty and yet strange. It’s got a rather stripped down texture, but a prominent rhythmic structure. It feels quite a bit like Genesis, but at times it doesn’t. These are the paradoxes that make up this one. 
Biko
If you’ve heard two songs from this album, this is number two. The tale of Steven Biko (told in the film Cry Freedom), traditional African sounds lead this off and carry it for a time. It becomes tribal in terms of rhythm, but more modern Gabriel in terms of musical elements as it builds up. This is a powerful piece of music with an addictive chorus. It’s the other possible choice for best track on the CD.
 
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