Roughly one and a half years after “Scratch My Back”, the magician is back with another album recorded with orchestra and not classic rock, electronic instruments. Peter Gabriel after the release of “Up” back in 2002 said that he had a lot of songs and “I/O” will be released “within 18 months”. I’m still waiting that follow-up, but at least that “trick” of two albums within 18 months succeeded with “New Blood”. Still, I rather wished for listening the Gabriel I used to know. And don’t get me wrong, I grew up half on my mom’s symphonic, half on her’s rock (and not only) vinyls, but with all respect, Gabriel is not “some” – quite unappropriated way to put those things – Beethoven, Chopin, Liszt, Prokofiev just as Sting never ever gonna be a jazz musician, but nothing else than a punk rocker – and it’s absolutely not a bad thing to be yourself. I guess Gabriel being bored by electronic experiments and the rock s*it and this symphonic adventure seems to be his ultimate challenge.
While on “Scratch My Back” Gabriel covered some other artist songs, including David Bowie, Paul Simon, Lou Reed, Neil Young, but also Radiohead, Arcade Fire or Bon Iver – among others, now Gabriel delivered 14 songs of his own, classic Gabriel songs re-arranged for orchestral version. The idea came up when Gabriel planned – originally only 5 shows – to promote “Scratch My Back” and that was roughly an hour’s of material, so he needed to fill at least another hour with his own material. He decide it to split the shows in two, and the first half focused on the songs from “Scratch My Back” which was performed in full and without any breaks and the second half was build upon his own songs. The success of the first five shows in Europa that were followed by five equally successful shows in North America and finally he get back to embark on an European tour in early fall of 2010. Gabriel used the tour to tweak the show, especially the second half, and to add a constant stream of new songs to the set, experimenting with different songs and versions, orchestral solutions. Many songs were tried out on tour, some were dropped from the new album for different reasons, some of them – like “Signal To Noise” for instance already had an orchestral release, others did not fit into Gabriel’s concept. For this album Gabriel continue to work with arranger John Metcalfe.
01. The Rythm Of The Heat
02. Downside Up
03. San Jacinto
06. In Your Eyes
07. Mercy Street
08. Red Rain
10. Donâ€™t Give Up
11. Digging In The Dirt
12. The Nest That Sailed The Sky
13. A Quiet Moment
14. Solsbury Hill
Like it or not this new obsession of Gabriel, both, “Scratch My Back” and now “New Blood” are sensitive and profound releases. And I admit it, I enjoy most of these materials. And it’s impossible not to love some songs such as “Intruder”, “Mercy Street”, “Red Rain”, “Darkness”, “Donâ€™t Give Up”, “Digging In The Dirt” or “Solsbury Hill” to name only some of my favorites ( 🙂 ). And I’m pretty sure, everybody will find something to love and probably for different reasons. From beautifully and smooth moments to tensioned and gloomy passages and constructions, “New Blood” has everything. And there’s no use to discuss the quality of these songs, all of them are great, and meanwhile classic compositions.
Perhaps it’s more a question of mood. And obviously a matter of target. This is not for the kids in sneakers vandalizing the streets of London. As this is not for the snobs as well. So, don’t listen it with your ears, but your heart.
“New Blood” will be issued in a few different formats. October 10th will see the release on CD & Deluxe CD which consist of 2 Discs, the second one containing the instrumental versions of tracks 1-12 plus Blood of Eden. On November 7th will be issued on Vinyl w/ Bonus 7″ of “Solsbury Hill”.