Peter Gabriel – And I’ll Scratch YoursCultureMusicAlbum reviews
The concept (a gimmick likely to have been born out of the tempting duality of the album’s names) saw Gabriel cover numerous artists’ tracks on the first compilation, only for those artists to reciprocate by covering his on the second.
Despite this idea being outwardly pompous and self-congratulatory, Scratch My Back was met with warm praise by fans and critics alike, though not by all covered artists – Radiohead and Neil Young most notably unhinged by Gabriel’s renditions of Street Spirit and Philadelphia, thus the reason for their absence on the record.
To say they are missed would be a stretch as many of the artists featured willingly tow Gabriel’s production line of bleak orchestral beats and regimented crawling tempos. Opening tracks I Don’t Remember (David Byrne) and Come Talk To Me (Bon Iver) are key examples as they attempt to create an ascending tranquil vibe, yet fall short at capturing anything outside Gabriel’s comfort zone. That’s not to say the album is not without its redeeming qualities with Joseph Arthur’s wonderfully stripped down version of Shock the Monkey arguably stealing the show and breathing new energy and anguish to the classic 80s hit.
Other highlights include the late Lou Reed performing Solsbury Hill across a feedback-laden death march and Randy Newman’s retuning of Big Time into an eerie yet charming carnival ride as only he can.
In execution, And I’ll Scratch Yours does little to shy away from the source material, as if Gabriel has the artists held tight by the reigns, making it much less a tribute album than a self-tribute.
And I’ll Scratch Yours was released on 24th September 2013, for further information visit here.
Watch the original video of And I’ll Scratch Yours album sampler here: