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Peter Gabriel - Peter Gabriel 4 [Aka: Mask, Aka: Security] CD (album) cover


Peter Gabriel


Crossover Prog

3.95 | 625 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
2 stars I know what I (don't) like (much)

The good album, bad album trend continues with this largely disappointing collection of slightly longer songs. Released in 1982, this was the last of Gabriel's eponymous albums the unofficial subtitle of "Security" being rather less obvious than the previous three. Gabriel's desire to experiment with new sounds and technical innovations led him to invest in a FairLight synthesiser/sampler, which Larry Fast used for the first time on this album.

The opening track, "The Rhythm Of The Heat", picks up where "Biko" left off on the previous album, with pulsating African rhythms. Gabriel gives a fine vocal performance on the song backed by a tribal chorus. Unfortunately, the atmosphere of there song is lost when the percussion takes over in an ever more dramatic, but entirely prosaic build up to the track ending.

Thereafter we have a succession of rather dull pop based songs, some of which are extended by a couple of minutes for no obvious reason. There are hints on "I have the touch" of future songs such as "Sledgehammer", but the ideas here are largely under- developed, generally failing to capture the listener's ear. The album dips to its lowest point on the seven minute " The Family And The Fishing Net", a dull understated dirge which completely fails to justify its length.

"Shock the monkey" was Gabriel's first hit single in the US, who overlooked the perhaps too British "Solisbury Hill" and "Games without frontiers". Gabriel states that the rather obscure lyrics are not in fact about animal rights, but simply relate to jealousy. Quite why the song was a hit single at all is something of an enigma. It has a strong beat, but it is rather ordinary and certainly lacks the quality of the other singles mentioned.

For me, the best track here is the atmospheric "Wallflower". The song is more representative of what would follow on subsequent albums, with Gabriel's voice sounding assured and strong.

In all, a disappointing album, which continues the pattern of the good PG albums being the odd numbered ones! It is interesting to observe here just how far removed from prog Gabriel was becoming. Those who cite his departure from Genesis as part of the reason that band strayed from prog, should listen again to albums such as this for evidence to the contrary.

Easy Livin | 2/5 |


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