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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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Cygnus X-2
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Peter Gabriel's solo career up to the release of his fourth studio album yielded two excellent albums and one slightly underwhelming (but still very good) album. This is the last of his albums in his series of unnamed and untitled albums (so logically in the series it is called Peter Gabriel 4). Anyway, utilizing essentially the same lineup as his previous three ventures (at the core), he adds some more dynamics to his sound by recruiting Van Der Graaf Generator's Peter Hammill on backing vocals for a few tracks as well as a wide range of African music and African influences. So in the end this album is a fusion of rock and african music sensibilities, and for the most part it's quite nice. That said, I do think that along with the second album that this is the weakest of his first ventures, as only about half of the songs really stay in my mind and are really incredible, with the left being somewhat mediocre material. Still, though, this is a pretty good album, but it comes with a warning from me.

All of the songs I like actually come within the first half of the album. It opens with Rhythm of the Heat. The forbidding opening drones and the subtle instrumentation break out into a brilliant Gabriel vocal performance. Towards the ending, the song picks up with a thundering african drum section and it hits a crescendo of sound at this point and doesn't really reach that much intensity again. The second song is also just as brilliant. San Jacinto opens with a quiet keyboard laying down a foundation and another slow build up musically and vocally. Gabriel's vocals and lyrics here are quite effective and poignant at the same time, offering a lush description. The chorus of, "I hold the line! San Jacinto" is a powerful and moving section that is nothing truly short of brilliant. I Have the Touch is a bit of a throwaway and it is sandwiched between the previous San Jacinto and the superb following track The Family and the Fishing Net. It's a bit of a pushy, urgent piece lyrically and the music isn't terribly interesting. The Family and the Fishing Net makes up for the previous piece, though. A fantastic mood and atmopsheric piece, it has that same buildup quality that the first two tracks had, but the story that Gabriel tells is well conceived and his vocals are very dynamic (and Hammill does a backing vocal job on this track as well). Probably my favorite track off of the album.

Shock the Monkey is the next piece, and in my opinion it's the last truly interesting piece on the album. The dynamic musicianship is complimented perfectly by stellar vocals from Gabriel and Tony Levin really shines here with a precision stick performance. Lay Your Hands On Me, Kiss of Life, and Wallflower round out the album with some okay, if not on par performances from everybody. Lay Your Hands on Me despite the dramatic vocal performance from Gabriel does not really grab me and there is really no evolution to the piece at all. Wallflower is a forgettable piece that despite having an interesting keyboard motif and melody, and like Lay Your Hands on Me, does not really grab me at all. The same sentiment could be said with Kiss of Life, which is in my opinion the worst song on the album and one of my least favorite Gabriel songs up to that point.

In the end, Peter Gabriel's final untitled album would prove to be one of his most unbalanced, and despite having some incredibly crafted and dramatic pieces is riddled with pieces that don't really make the grade. If you're looking for any connection with Gabriel's past, you may find bits and pieces (speaking of his solo career as his disconnection from the Genesis sound came immediately). It's a good album, but nothing that I would call brilliant. 3/5.

Cygnus X-2 | 3/5 |


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