Peter Gabriel (Security)
Gabriel takes the innovations of Melt further on his followup effort. While Melt had a largely rock feel, with loud guitars and faster tempos, Security is sedate, with half of the songs running past six minutes and dominated by slowly shifting textures and heavy use of synthesizers. With the long running times, and reliance on synthesizers, Security can be a hard album to take; some of the tracks have a long build up for a relatively short climax, as both ‘The Rhythm Of The Heat’ and ‘Wallflower’ build slowly to rhythmic punches that only kick in for their final sections. Regardless, Security is easily one of Gabriel’s most intriguing records; the long running times allow him time to explore his ideas fully and at least half of these eight tracks rank alongside his very best.
Namely, ‘San Jacinto’ tells the story of an Native American rite of passage, drawing parallels with the decline of the civilization as its absorbed by modern culture, slowly building ominous synthesisers, then breaking into cathartic guitars. Opener ‘The Rhythm Of The Heat’ is brilliantly titled, and the music lives up to that with a trance like buildup and sudden release. ‘I Have The Touch’ is punchy and direct with rhythmic, brash lyrics (“I’m waiting for ignition, I’m looking for a spark/Any chance collision and I light up in the dark”). Best of all, ‘Wallflower’, dedicated to a political prisoner, shares the same kind of emotional territory that ‘Don’t Give Up’ murders on the next album, but here it’s an absolute winner with Gabriel repeating the phrase “hold on” while his voice croaks endearing, and hitting a moment of transcendence with the gorgeous synth melody just before the drums kick in. Of the other upbeat songs, ‘Shock The Monkey’ is a nice enough single but ‘Kiss Of Life’ suffers from the synthetic arrangements in a way that the other songs don’t and would have benefited from a more organic treatment. I wouldn’t begin a musical acquaintance with Gabriel through Security – it’s dense and slow moving – but this is some of his most in-depth and interesting material, and any serious fan who doesn’t mind large helpings of eighties synth is going to lap it up.