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Peter Gabriel

Peter Gabriel (aka Security) (vinyl)

Review by Gary Hill

I've listed this under the actual title, which was the ever more confusing "Peter Gabriel." I am sure that it's no wonder the label was having problems with the same title for all of Peter Gabriel's solo albums by that point. That's why it was released under the title Security in the US and some other places, but to me it's still the fourth album from Gabriel bearing just his name as the title.

I honestly think this is my favorite of all Gabriel's solo albums. I'm not a fan of the hit "Shock the Monkey," but I've always just figured that one largely as the throw-away on an otherwise perfect album. That said, Tony Levin's work on the song is the one thing that redeems it for me.

This review is available in book (paperback and hardcover) form in Music Street Journal: 2023  Volume 1. More information and purchase links can be found at: garyhillauthor.com/Music-Street-Journal-2023.

Track by Track Review
1
           
The Rhythm of the Heat

An ambient droning rises up gradually. Gabriel's voice comes across in a non-lyrical wail. That is punctuated by deeper sounds. Gabriel begins singing, delivering a couple lines. The song continues by evolving the earlier elements into a more powered up, yet very artistic motif. This keeps growing with more layers of sound over the top. This is very proggy, but also very different from the traditional prog of the time. There are some great melodic elements, and Gabriel's vocals are trademark and so strong. This works through a number of changes. It shifts out to a full percussion workout later that feels very tribal in nature.

San Jacinto
Delicate, yet moving, electronics start this cut. The track builds upward feeling a bit like something from Synergy. Then again, the keyboardist is Larry Fast, and Synergy literally is Larry Fast, so that makes perfect sense. Gabriel's voice comes over this backdrop. There is such a rich and evocative beauty as this grows. This builds out into such a powerful soundscape. It has a rich symphonic rock arrangement. It seems to end, but instead drops to an ambient backdrop for another vocal section.
I Have the Touch
A bit less dynamic, this has a more rhythmic and rocking groove. That said, this is not like anyone else's music. The soundscape here is dense and creative. This is very percussive. It also has some killer bass work.
The Family and the Fishing Net
Flute type instrumentation starts this. A bass line begins to run underneath. The drums come upward to join and rather Frippian guitar patterns emerge. This remains more rhythmic, as Gabriel's vocals come over the top. This is very much art rock in nature. It gets more involved and quite powerful before it's over.
2
               
Shock the Monkey

This was Gabriel's first big hit. Keyboards bring it in, but then Tony Levin's bass (technically it's the bass end of the stick) delivers amazing, rubbery, melodic lines of sound that really stun. The whole tune has a catchy rock groove and an unusual texture. Gabriel paints some catchy lines of vocals. This definitely foreshadows the sound that would be present on his next hits. Without question Levin's stick work is what makes this song work as well as it does.

Lay Your Hands on Me
Starting rather sparse, this cut is rhythmic. The vocals are spoken as it gets underway. The vocals turn to sung over an almost symphonic vibe. More spoken vocals are heard as the cut continues. The song grows and evolves to a more rich arrangement. This turns decidedly percussive later.
Wallflower
Keyboard sounds bring this one to life. The vocals come over in gentle ways. This really feels like Genesis as it gets underway. This builds out into something more in line with the rest of the album, yet it also makes me think of Genesis' Duke album, which came out before this disc, but well after Gabriel's departure from the band. This grows to some powerful music after another dropped back movement.
Kiss of Life
Rhythmic, percussive and driving, this has a feeling of joyous celebration. There is a definite tribal vibe to the song.

 

 

 
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