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David Peel & Death - Search To Destroy (1986)

David Peel's Search to Destroy opens with one of his better musical/political statements, "I Am Not an Animal," which is scattershot but well intended as a kind of catchy litany of man's destructive nature. The entire album seems to represent Peel regaining his political bearings and his observational edge after the upheavals of the previous six years, redefining himself somewhat for the tail end of the Reagan era. The album is acoustic guitar-driven (with sound effect embellishments) and, amid its pessimistic, doom-laden lyrics, offers a catchy chorus and pleasing riffs -- mostly on Peel's solo guitar -- to hold the listener. Strangely enough, the playing is often more engaging than the singing and lyrics here, the acoustic guitar work possessing a stripped, minimalist energy that's absolutely bracing on "Born to Be Damned" (which, elsewhere, uses a chorus/vocal hook parodying the Steppenwolf number "Born to Be Wild"). His songs tend to overstay their welcome somewhat, not being quite clever enough to sustain their length, but one can't deny the spirit of sheer authority-tweaking fun behind the music. (Bruce Eder)

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