This is an album which it took a few listens to get into, but, as is usually the case with PG, the journey is always worth it in the end. I got this when it was originally released, and immediately latched onto the last track 'Kiss of Life'. As time passed, I got to know all the songs, and discovered the secrets contained therein. The album opens with Rhythm of the Heat - a song about a tribe reacting to the intrusion of outsiders. Ends with a thunderous drum performance by the Ekome Dance company. Album then moves into San Jacinto - complex 7 beat timing which lulls you into a false sense of security before moving into the loud and emotion charged ending. 'I have the touch' concerns a disfunctional individual who needs physical contact. 'The family and the fishing net' is probably the darkest track on the album, and concerns the ritual of the tribal wedding. This is possibly the track you will warm to least at the first listen, but this is now my favourite on the album, so stick with it. 'Shock the Monkey' concerns animal vivisection, with PG courting controversy as ever by bringing things like this to public attention. One of the most memorable experiences of seeing him live was him playing this track. 'Lay your hands on me' contrasts whispered lyrics with shattering drum playing to marked effect. 'Wallflower' concerns someone who is clearly being held and questioned - you don't quite know what for, but there is a sense of optimism about their situation, despite the fact that "They don't see your path to freedom". The album ends with the fast-paced 'Kiss of Life' featuring superb drumming and percussion throughout. This album is without fault - buy without reservation.
1. The Rhythm of the Heat (2002 Digital Remaster) 2. San Jacinto (2002 Digital Remaster) 3. I Have the Touch (2002 Digital Remaster) 4. The Family and the Fishing Net (2002 Digital Remaster) 5. Shock the Monkey (2002 Digital Remaster) 6. Lay Your Hands on Me (2002 Digital Remaster) 7. Wallflower (2002 Digital Remaster) 8. Kiss of Life (2002 Digital Remaster) This really is a wonderful set of songs with some fabulous music.
Here Peter Gabriel is at the height of his powers and his muse is in the accendant.
Each track has a special meaning and Peter has shared his inspirations to his audience over the years, This was the forth Peter Gabriel release to be given that name. Dues to the picture on the front fans gave it the name 'Security' The first track is an absolute belter. It depicts a famous pschoanalysist (Jung?) who when visiting Africa joind in the music of some Native drummers and dancers. He was amazed how the 'music took control of his senses. A so called modern european being seduced and captured by so call primative African Rhythms. In San Jacinto it is effectively a journey thru' Americana. We fo past Sit N Bull's Stakehouse where 'White Men Dream' and up to the Mountain of San Jacinto. Briefly Peter was inspired by this from A Native American who was working and was notified by that his house was on fire. Peter gave the man a lift and he was amazed that the man was only concerned about his cat, and had it esacaped the fire. The man was an 'Apache' and told Peter about his initiation into his tribes customs. The 'Medicine Man' had induced a snake to bite the man and he had to survive the night alone in the high mountains. hallucinating from the efects of the venom. I have the touch is about a man who 'gets off from touch'. Imagine a crowded tube train is Nirvana!!The family and the fishing net is about family duty and values (I may be wrong on this) Lay your hands on me always... always deeply affected me. In concert this was the signal for those in the know that Peter would fall back onto his audience and be carried aloft. I well remember a concert in Bochum Germany that I attended. My partners were a Scottish Sikh who had never left Scotland before and a Brummie. When we caught Gabriel and passed him on I was amazed to find that they each had taken a shoe from Peter (Bally by make) as a souvenir!!!
Wall Flower is about political prisoners. 6 by 6 refers to the measurements of his cell in feet. On the German title this has changed to 2 by 2 which I once read a DJ in a review said he'd no idea why Peter had changed the lyrics. I instantly realised that it referred to Metres as feet would have little or no meaning to the metric Deutchlanders. This is a very powerful song to my mind and much more so that Biko. If you listen closely it may move you to tears. Gabriel has rarely sung better. The prisoner of the song reflects that his road to freedom has been built from 'flesh and bone' The prisoner guards and regime of course have built their own prisons from their persecution of the detainees. Kiss of life a song about the sheer greatness of being alive closes.
I had become interested in PG following the release of his third album in 1980.On first hearing this album in 1982 I felt that this was close to perfection. Longer songs based on grooves, textures and moods well away from the typical chart fodder of the day. Within the album there were two obvious singles in Shock the Monkey and I Have The Touch but these failed to ignite the charts in the same way that Games Without Frontiers did two years previously. The stand-out tracks for me are San Jacinto with its wonderful synth crescendo leading in to a battery of African drums and the far more eerie Family and the Fishing Net which excelled in its use of the CMI synthesiser. Gabriel went on to more commercial climes with the follow up "SO" but this was him at his most innovative and creative!
Following the extraordinary album "Peter Gabriel, Volume 3" must have been a rather daunting process. Especially with the hindsight that most people consider that certain album to be the best that Peter Gabriel has released. Or perhaps, it would have been rather daunting if we were commenting on the works of a lesser artist. With his fourth solo album Peter Gabriel simply steams ahead with his welcoming risk taking to craft an album that is undeniably one of his best. This album is the first in which Peter Gabriel brings the world rhythms and instruments into the forefront. This is clearly demonstrated with the powerful driving beat of the drums in the opening track, "The Rhythm of The Heat". To say that this rhythm has my soul would truly be an understatement. This continues with the following song, "San Jacinto". It is the wonderful blend of the simple lyrics, warm but dark vocals and the powerful driving beat of the songs that make this album truly wonderful. All of which are clearly demonstrated in the two opening tracks. The feeling of the album is lifted somewhat with the song "I have The Touch". A song that simply describes the basic emotion that is the yearning for human contact. The dark, scary sound in which first started this album and covered the entire previous album ("Peter Gabriel, Volume 3") returns with the song "The Family and The Fishing Net". A delicious song that describes a wedding in a somewhat sinister tone: "a warm flesh cake" is a fantastic way in which to describe a wedding cake. We have all experienced the disgustingly warm wedding cake, in which the icing does indeed feel like flesh. As Peter Gabriel's description of the wedding cake makes you want to vomit, so does the actual wedding cake. Unlimited vividness in his use of words. Perhaps the most known song from this album is "Shock The Monkey". Again, another fantastic song. However, on this occasion a song, which describes the way in which jealously, can take over ones life, the end result of this emotion being that of complete pointlessness. All in all, a wonderfully powerful album. A one in which betters its predecessor, although I am aware that not all will agree with me. However, it is the world rhythms and beat that are used throughout that ensure that this album is indeed worth its weight in gold. However, there is one objection I have with this album and that is the final song, "Kiss of Life". This song simply does not fit on the album and if the truth were told, it is dreadful. Frankly the final song should have been the astonishing "Wallflower". However, this does not matter, the rest of the album more than makes up for this.
It seems incredible that this album is now twenty three years old. Overlooked at the time of its release, not least because of the success of his third album (which had the advantage of a big hit single), it still sounds fresh after all these years. Not as immediately accessible as vol.3 (Gabriel's first four albums where originaly all called Peter Gabriel) it has less of the edgy electronics, but more of a rounded and warm feel. The opening Rhythm of the Heat brings in the African influences that suffuse the album. It is an effective opener. San Jacinto follows in a similar vein then I Have the Touch (which could have been a hit if they hadn't taken the bizarre decision to edit out the middle eight on the single version) livens the pace before The Family and the Fishing Net delves into frankly sinister waters. Lead single Shock the Monkey opens the second half and works better as an album track than it did as a single. Lay Your Hands on Me is a joyous rhythmic affair. Wallflower should have been a single and is one of Gabriel's finest ballads. The closing Kiss of Life is in some ways out of place on the album, being far popier than the bulk of the album. But it is a great song and deserves inclusion, coming at the end it feels like it was added as an extra. His third album probably had the better songs, but this one works better as an album. If you fancy hearing something really different, try the Deutsches Album, which is this record sung in German. Taking the focus away from the lyrics onto the music, it is worthwhile for any PG fan, though obviously the album works best in your own language.
if you've never heard this album, there's not much i'm going to say to try to convince you to. this review is, instead, for those of us who are long-time fans of this master songwriter/performer. the re-mastering is impeccable. some new photos. i have two major complaints: 1. there is plenty of room on a cd these days...room for maybe 20 seconds of silence followed by a bonus track or two. i'm not sure how many singles were released for this album but i know of at least one track [soft dog] that would have been a perfect 'gift' to us dedicated fans who have probably already paid full price for this album one or twice before. 2. it would have been nice to have some liner notes by the man himself...describing ideas for the songs, emotions in the studio, etc. i hope one day for a comprehensive 3 or 4 disc box set of alternate takes, rare stuff & remixes of PG. if you look at the date this review was posted, you may draw the conclusion that i have been pussyfooting. why would a hard-core PG fan wait until now to buy the same album, remastered? well, i guess like most people, i have to work hard for the money i make and there is very little 'extra' to offer here aside from the improved sound quality. at some point i would like to shed my current PG collection with the newly remastered editions. if there had been bonus tracks on each, i would have all of them by now...instead, i think i'll take my time - maybe try to find 'em used.
This is simply a scary album. From the opening Fairlight riff of "Rhythm of the Heat" (imitated a thousand times on a thousand beer bottles)through the beautiful asylum that is "Wallflower" and even to the joyful, but crazed, timbales of "Kiss of Life", this album has pain and paranoia, cruelties and candour. What can I say about "The Family and the Fishing Net" except that I always listen to it with the lights on. "Shock the Mokey?" Scare the hell out of the monkey, more like. If you buy one Gabriel album, buy PG4 and frightn the kids this Xmas!