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Peter Gabriel 4 is a refinement of the slick, rhythm-based sound he developed on his successful third album. It's a firmly early 80's style but still sounds fresh and inventive, with some particularly cool drumming from Talking Heads' Jerry Marotta. Even if the songs are slightly more stiff than those of Talking Heads or their arty contemporaries King Crimson. The poppiest thing here is "Shock The Monkey", a funky precursor to "Sledgehammer". The first two songs are dynamic and powerful - "Rhythm of the Heat" starts off austere and ominous but lets go at the end with a torrent of African drumming. "San Jacinto" builds up to a wonderful broad arching chorus. Most of the rest of the songs have that jerky 80's feel. "Wallflower" has an attractive tune, even it sounds like what former bandmates Genesis were doing at the time.
See also solsburyhill.org for a full essay.
October 13, 2003