I finally got the new Peter Gabriel record, Scratch My Back, this week. It’s an album of covers, a tactic, that usually reeks of desperation for most artists. Worry not, my friends. He delivers the goods, picking songs from David Bowie and Talking Heads to unlikely guys like Stephen Merritt and Bon Iver. Probably my favorite in the bunch is his take on The Arcade Fire’s “The Body is a Cage.” It’s dark and searching, like much of his own best work.
Most of the album features minimalistic 20th Century string arrangements (think Reich, Glass, Shostakovitch, etc.) with sparse piano. For a guy known for working with amazing drummers and percussionists, there is almost no drumming on the album. The treatment works perfectly, however, to showcase his tremendous vocal prowess.
All that said, it reminds me of his work on Robert Fripp‘s album, Exposure. I’ve always loved how Gabriel stripped down “Here Comes the Flood,” from his first solo album. Fripp added some nice color, but mostly left the song speak for itself with raw beauty.
I’m done gushing over Peter Gabriel. Enjoy this week’s show.
- “Up the Down Escalator” – The Chameleons (Up the Down Escalator 12″/Satik/1983)
- “Death of Imagination” – The Sun and the Moon (The Sun and the Moon/Geffen/1988)
- “Water Music I” – Robert Fripp (Exposure/E.G./1979)
- “Here Comes the Flood” – Robert Fripp & Peter Gabriel (Exposure/E.G./1979)
- “Water Music II” – Robert Fripp (Exposure/E.G./1979)
- “Memory Loss” – The Radio Dept. (Clinging to a Scheme/Labrador/2010)
- “The Mall and Misery” – Broken Bells (Broken Bells/Columbia/2010)