Album: Peter Gabriel, Scratch My Back (EMI / Real World)

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The Independent Culture

A concept waiting to happen: a Gabriel covers album.

The concept? A song-exchange project twixt prominent figures who will reciprocate in due course. The music? It's orchestral, pianistic, drumless, slow, formal and, being Gabriel, sung with enough lockjawed grainy drama to generate that peculiar Gabriel effect, English soulfulness. An obvious point of comparison is Joni Mitchell's brace of orchestral covers albums. The songs? Bowie, Elbow, Bon Iver, Paul Simon, obviously Randy Newman... But no Moonglows.