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


Peter Gabriel


Crossover Prog

3.93 | 548 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

5 stars I've been having a hard time deciding which Peter Gabriel solo album I like the best. The two that rival are this mesmerizing album and the bone-chilling "Us." In terms of quality, I find "Peter Gabriel 4" to be the better of the two. There are many albums that were released in 1982 that were SOOOOOO 1982! But this one has held up well for over 20 years.

The scary mask on the cover is in someways a warning to the listeners: "Listen to the album at your own risk." And indeed, "Peter Gabriel 4" is inaccessible. The album gets darker than "Peter Gabriel 3" and includes more of his musical pilgrimages into Afro- Brazilian sounds.

The fun begins with "The Rhythm of the Heat," complete with Ghanaian drums and deep foreboding tones. The players run wild near the end of the song, and, the album, which started out strong, is about to get tighter.

"San Jacinto" is an amazing track. With CMI toning and the lyrics of a Native American autopsy, no one escape the track's powerful grip. When the guitars come in, the track turns into a black hole. And near the end of the song, you've been sucked into another dimension.

The fun rocker "I Have The Touch" is a cleverly-written track in which PG describes the elusive pleasures of life. Tony Levin plays some mean Chapman stick.

"The Family And The Fishing Net" is a creepy, mind-bending 7-minute cut. The lyrics are hard to follow with, but the arrangements and the playing are quite futuristic. The traditional Ethiopian panpipes give it a nice texture.

"Shock The Monkey" to life? Okay, I think I will. This is probably the only song that casual fans will recognize from this album, since it gets played on classic rock radio. It is no doubt a groovy track, driven by the CMI, a ferocious guitar attack from David Rhodes, and a Chapman stick.

"Lay Your Hands On Me" is not a bad track, but it's my least favorite on this album. It's a slow, and slightly repetitive, track, but it is a tight and polished track nonetheless, and for some reason, it sounds like it was recorded inside a high school gym. I must be a psychiatric hospital patient ... :)

Now, here comes my favourite track on the entire album. It is an admittently lovely 6- minute political protest song called "Wallflower." It's quite a moving song, both musically and lyrically. The song deals with political prisoners in Africa and South America, which is the purpose of the Amnesty International concerts which Peter Gabriel helped organize. The keyboards alone are quite a touching addition, especially in the final part of the song. The song was only released as a single in Holland and I don't think it did very well. In addition, he probably has never performed this song live. What a shame!

After pouring his heart out on the previous track, Gabriel regains energy and uses it up on the last track, the samba-esque "Kiss of Life." The lyrics are a bit hokey, but the music, complete with synthesized (?) Brazilian percussion, and non-stop fun. Nothing more than a perfect way to end this wonderful album.

Another note for this album is that, because of its amainzg sound quality, is often used to test car stereo systems. It was the first of PG's album to be recorded and mixed entirely in digital. The engineering job alone gives the sound its glamour. The 2002 remastered CD only adds to the purity of the sound, bringing out more depth in the instruments. You can actually feel like you're inside the Ghanaian drums on "The Rhythm of the Heat." Unfortunately, the ultracool graphics from the original LP sleeve are missing, and there are no bonuses, but the packaging on the CD is lovely, and adds some great photos as well as accurate lyrics.

"Peter Gabriel 4" is undoubtedly one of PG's finest albums and perhaps the most well- recorded. The songwriting and playing is first-class, and if you enjoyed "So" or "Us", then I strongly recommend you check this one out.

| 5/5 |


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