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Peter Gabriel (Car) – Peter Gabriel

Peter Gabriel 1 Car

Peter Gabriel (Car)

(1977), 7/10
No doubt anxious to establish his distinct identity apart from Genesis, Gabriel takes on a bewildering pastiche of styles on his solo debut. Due to this it’s difficult to make generalisations about this record because of its scattershot nature – it definitely has its moments, but as a whole it’s tentative and uncertain. American producer Bob Ezrin adds a radio friendly sheen, which confuses matters even more – the album veers between vying for mainstream acceptance and more self-consciously complex material.

The best tracks are those that stick closest to 1970’s Genesis; the opening progressive rock of ‘Moribund The Burgermeister’ showcases Gabriel’s theatrics, and the biographical ‘Solsbury Hill’ (with Robert Fripp’s ending guitar pyrotechnics) recalls Genesis’ acoustic tendencies. The closing epic ‘Here Comes The Flood’ is in similar territory, although its grandiose arrangement recalls Queen more than Genesis. On the opposite end of the scale, the texturally driven, low-key ‘Humdrum’ is the best precursor for Gabriel’s subsequent solo path. In between these high points, there are some less successful genre experiments; ‘Waiting For The Big One’ is the worst offender, featuring an irritating blues riff endlessly repeated, while the barbershop quartet on ‘Excuse Me’ is a bizarre choice.

In Genesis Gabriel often wrote in allegory, and relied on his band-mates for musical support; as a solo artist his debut finds him shakily finding his own feet and personal voice. There are individual gems like ‘Moribund The Burgermeister’ and ‘Here Comes The Flood’, but Gabriel doesn’t sustain excellence for an entire album.

3 thoughts on “Peter Gabriel (Car) – Peter Gabriel Leave a comment

  1. I remember frequenting my favorite record shop anticipating this release. When I finally got it I was not disappointed. It is one of my fave albums for a lot of reasons. I think the only other times that I anticipated an album so much was ‘Darkness’ and ‘Born to Run’ by Springsteen and the next couple solos by Gabriel.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Darkness is one of my all time favourites. I’ve never quite connected to this one as much – I really like parts of it, but not the whole thing. The barbershop quartet song in particular annoys me.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I can understand the rub on the “barbershop” thing. I just liked that he was always taking big swings with his music and sneaking a little of his sense of humor in. I really dug the Fripp/Gabriel collaboration. I thought it was so cool when Springsteen and him hooked up for the Amnesty thing. Two of my favorite guys.

        Liked by 1 person

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