Vitamin String Quartet

The String Quartet Tribute to Peter Gabriel

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Since these string quartet tributes to everybody under the sun started coming out -- even artists with one album who are on the charts for the first time get one these days it seems (can the String Quartet Tribute to Ruben Studdard be far away?) -- it seems that the musicians who play on these things have become more like factory workers, rivaling in tape hours the old Nash Vegas countrypolitan studio guys. These things get issued like six or seven titles at a time! The problem is that when the brain trust at Vitamin Records decides to do one of these sessions on an artist who might actually benefit from the treatment -- like this present subject -- the label's streamlined, crank-it-out philosophy results in a disc that stakes no originality in the approach and sounds very literally like almost everything else that rolled off the production line. That's really too bad, because the potential to do something really special was here. The track selection makes the mouth of the unsuspecting punter water: "Solsbury Hill," "Shock the Monkey," "Here Comes the Flood," "Red Rain," and so on. Alas, nothing but stock charts and uninspired playing ruin what could have been an actually welcome appendage to Peter Gabriel's catalog, making this "effort" all the more disconcerting, tawdry, and dreary.

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