Monday, May 11, 2020

"Peter Gabriel" (1) by Peter Gabriel

Image may contain: possible text that says 'peter gabriel'I was not and remain still no great fan of progressive rock as a genre, although there were significant  stylistic enclaves hither and yon that gave me more than a few hours of enlightened distraction. Genesis, with Peter Gabriel as vocalist and contributing songwriter, were an  ensemble that provided some of those hours because, I suppose, these able musicians viewed themselves a songwriters first, virtuosos second. Which meant, you see, far fewer meandering solos and classy art-moves, musically, to bolster what happened to be catchy, appealing, haunting, sad and beautiful songs under neath the occasionally overwrought arrangement.

Pacing, spacing, self-editing, and sense of literate restraint enabled these guys, initially, to tell a tale through two album sides, four album sides, and pretty much give the world through he eyes of characters you didn't know could be imagined and come away disbelieving none of it. And their tunes were hummable. The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway, to use a cursed term, is one of the very , very, very few rock operas to work entirely. Gabriel was no small part of that success. The first album, the first of a string of discs to be called Peter Gabriel with no sequencing qualifying the release title, is a masterpiece , a joyous and contagious bringing together of theatrical art rock, guitar chord burnishing, art-song, odd tales from Dark Forests--something very British, very Lewis Carroll, very C.S.Lewis. The melodies and the hooks get you and keep in their hold--"Here Comes the Flood", "Solsbury Hill", "Moribund the Bergermeister "morph, ascend and descend in pitch , mood and and modulation that your mind is pretty reeling with hooky riffs, phrases and the quotable yet enigmatic bits of lyric that is crazy making on sleepless nights, so much so that you feel compelled to play the disc again and yet again.

Such was my case, sometimes thinking that I was delving into some library of forbidden journals, esoteric poetry or the keys to all metaphors that would , with close reading, unlock the qualities of the universe even the bravest poets trembled before.And Peter Gabriel's has one of those voices that  puts its power and range int the service of his muse's highest standards. He is less a vocal personality that a set of personas that makes this album a joy to ponder , wonder about, scratch your head over while your ears behold some marvelous art rock that lifts the spirits to try harder and to feel deeper, more profoundly.

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