So Peter Gabriel is back after an 8 year absence of new material...and still doesn't have new material. Oh, and that's not a bad thing in this case, at all. He doesn't even have a band this time around, just piano and orchestra to reinterpret some pretty great songs.
Those hoping for Gabriel to run the indie gamut and cover some of the newest artists today will be disappointed, but he did choose some pretty stately songs on this, his first album since 2002's Up. Earlier last year he released a cover of Vampire Weekend's Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa and even though that song is not included on the album, it's still a top-notch effort on his part.
The album starts with a haunting rendition of David Bowie's 'Heroes' which has certainly changed the way I listen to the original classic. Gabriel goes on to cover Elbow's 'Mirrorball' which is pretty impressive when placed next to the original song. 'Mirrorball' flows nicely into a startling version of Bon Iver's 'Flume' which features some of PG's best vocals of his career.
A definite highlight of the album is his version of Talking Heads' 'Listening Wind' which although it doesn't improve on the fascinating original, it definitely adds a new layer to this tale of terrorism.
The album ends with an exceptional version of Radiohead's 'Street Spirit (Fade Out)' from The Bends. It's a bit of a downer to end the album on but for some reason it works.
This album certainly isn't for everybody...it might not even be for all of Peter Gabriel's fans, but it is a great album and a great example of what can happen when an artist challenges himself and takes his time making an album.
Now if he could only get around to recording I/O (his supposed album of new material)...