PETER GABRIEL – New Blood (Real World Records)

Watching Peter Gabriel’s stunning performance with the New Blood Orchestra on Jools Holland’s Later the other evening proved inspirational. OK, so the luxury of being a multi-millionaire can unburden you of the restraint of record company executives waiting their next fix of “…where’s the next hit single” but trust me, an indulgence this album is not. From a listener’s point of view in many ways you wind up willing that each track will surpass itself and that the recording will never end.I know I did and the sumptuous banquet spread out before me like an episode of a Heston Blumenthal TV show proves that the adage “…there’s life in the old dog yet” certainly has legs. It’s with this expectation and hope that Gabriel rises to the challenge making you feel justified that you have faith in his outpourings are met with a sigh of relief when he easily achieves each goal.

The songs included here are a snapshot of his career to date including the powerful horns/strings led “Rhythm Of The Heat”, the exquisite “Downside Up” (with additional vocals from his daughter Melanie) and the energising pulse of “Solsbury Hill” with its gloriously majestic trumpet counter melody as a finale. To my knowledge Peter Gabriel has never recorded an ‘Unplugged’ session for MTV and, if that is the case this CD could well be his homage to the genre. As long as we are blessed by performers of this calibre I can’t think of a finer way to celebrate Britain’s musical heritage. Unquestionably my album of the year!


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