On the past few releases from the enigmatic Peter Gabriel, his fans have had to wade through the “concept” project of a song exchange where a musical artist would cover a Gabriel tune after he covered one of theirs. And though Gabriel did release his Scratch My Back back in 2010, quite a few of the artists were late in getting their songs in, while still others simply failed to return the favor. Nevertheless And Iâ€™ll Scratch Yours still features a grouping of high-powered musical guests covering twelve Gabriel tunes.
The CD opens with David Byrne warbling over a funky machine-firing drum beat on â€œI Donâ€™t Remember,â€ while Bon Iver mumbles with solid backing vocals on a banjo-led cover of â€œCome Talk To Meâ€ and Arcade Fire adds a great marching beat and noise background to â€œGames Without Frontiersâ€â€¦though after a while Iâ€™m not sure if the song goes anywhere.
Old timers like Randy Newman, covering â€œBig Timeâ€ with a big splashy piano-led jazz band, Brian Enoâ€™s robotic noisy big drum take on â€œMother Of Violence,” the loud feedback on â€œSolsbury Hillâ€ roiling under a wonderfully rye Lou Reed talking vocal and Paul Simonâ€™s acoustic send-up of â€œBikoâ€ (with his voice never sounding better) proves the over 50 crowd (well over in some cases) courts the ability to truly make covers their own while still retaining a songs original essence.
WhileÂ And Iâ€™ll Scratch Yours is fun and there are some neat takes on Mr. G’s tunes,Â I think I’d rather have a CD of new Peter Gabriel music. Hint hint!