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


Peter Gabriel


Crossover Prog

3.95 | 644 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars The fourth eponymous Peter Gabriel album is the most percussion-heavy and the starkest of them - or any of his albums (and it seems to be the most respected here). It has some fantastic tracks in it, but somehow the LP that I have has never been much played. It may be the way it is produced that makes it a bit difficult for me to digest, plus the fact that there are two songs I can't stand. Those are 'I Have the Touch' and 'Kiss of Life'. The latter attempts to be joyful with some Caribbean style rhythm, but its sharp and hollow synth sounds sink it down fast. Hmm, "hollow synth sounds", to some extent these words describe in general the sound of this album. It is slightly sinister and depressing, evoking images of empty and cold cement rooms. Of course the video of 'Shock the Monkey' affects to these images too. The heavy, almost tribal-like percussion on many tracks effectively adds to the cold atmosphere.

I probably have said this same thing with #3, but here it is even more true: I strongly prefer live versions in Plays Live. That superb live album consists mostly of tracks from the 3rd and 4th albums. For example 'San Jacinto' is absolutely great song live but here it misses something. This album is full of exciting material but it's not produced in the best possible way, I think (some reviewers praise its production - well, in the end these are matters of taste!). That material was very much used also in the sountrack of the Alan Parker film Birdy, to a great effect. Speaking of Birdy, it's quite a coincidence that the emotional ballad 'Wallflower' almost could have been included in the film as a song too, with lyrics dealing of a troubled mind locked in a hospital. Instead it was included as a brief instrumental theme.

Unarguably this is a strong classic among Gabriel's discography, but I punish the stark and hollow sound by giving it only three stars. (That's unfairly two stars less than I gave to peter gabriel #3... OK, let us say this is 3,5 and #3 is 4,5 stars. The other is rounded down and the other up, but blame it on my feelings.)

Matti | 3/5 |


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