5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
This review is from: Peter Gabriel 3 (Audio CD)
The wonderful/difficult thing about this album is the way that it feels so disjointed, but that it's not immediately clear why. Is it the remorselessly harrowing lyrics, invoking insane asylums, psychopaths, stalkers and general claustraphobia? The elegiac "Biko" tagged on at the end?
Or the fact that no cymbals are used on the drumkit, yet the drum sounds are so heavily processed that they cease to sound tribal and end up sounding mechanised again?
It should probably get 5 stars, but the feeling of alienation is too great for me, almost making the album a test of the listener's endurance, as much as it is an undoubted artistic triumph.
The lyrical darkness teeters on the edge of melodrama, and some lyrics seem too unsubtle to squarely hit their targets: "Eating with a spoon, They don't give you knives" (Lead A Normal Life).
But the album is unique. And there's some great, disparate talent on show - Paul Weller & Kate Bush make early appearances here, for instance.
If you want to listen to uncharted territory, you'll like this - it's brooding and intense and unsettling. If you're hoping for evidence of "So", you'll be extremely disappointed.
Only "Games Without Frontiers" truly shows off Gabriel's pop nous and became a proper hit, a dark idea hiding behind an apparantly childish lyric and delivery. Maybe people thought it was the unofficial song from "It's a Knockout" (oops, showing me age there).
Approach with caution if not a fan, utterly essential if you are. Original and gripping, at turns visceral and tender. A truly experimental album. Well worth a go.