Scratch My Back

[Real World]

Peter Gabriel fans have learned to have the patience of Job. His last album of original songs was 2002’s so-so Up; now at last we have the follow-up, and it’s a collection of—wait for it—covers. He reunites here with producer Bob Ezrin (who also helmed Gabriel’s 1977 self-titled solo debut), and together they frame Gabriel’s voice using only piano and strings. Much of the material here is slow, deliberate, dreamy—molasses runs faster than his takes on David Bowie’s “Heroes” and Paul Simon’s “The Boy in the Bubble”—and the orchestral palate shows Ezrin’s gift for arrangement and knack for tonal beauty. But what’s the point? Gabriel has always been a trailblazer who extends sonic boundaries and takes us down unexpected paths. Covers albums these days are a dime a dozen, and Peter Gabriel’s patient followers have come to expect something a little more special. – Nick Krewen

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