Release Date: Sep 18, 2015
Genre(s): Jazz, Pop/Rock, Blues-Rock, Album Rock, Art Rock, Prog-Rock
Record label: Columbia
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With last year’s album, The Endless River, supposedly marking the end of Pink Floyd, this is an opportune time for their guitarist to release his fourth solo album. As the primary architect of Floyd’s sweeping soundscapes, Gilmour has transposed them on to 10 shorter but equally elegiac, very beautiful songs, half of them written with his wife, the novelist Polly Samson. There’s an underdeveloped “a day in the life” theme running throughout; whose life isn’t clear, but the twilit A Boat Lies Waiting – with sighing harmonies by David Crosby and Graham Nash, and a mumbled monologue similar to that on The Great Gig in the Sky – is dedicated to late keyboardist Richard Wright, so this may be Gilmour’s own life on display.
David Gilmour’s fourth solo album is loosely based on the contrasting thoughts and feelings all of us have in the course of a single day: as a result, it’s a largely reflective work that dwells on fleeting youth, ageing, and death. So far, so Floyd. Marking it out, however, is how sprightly it all is. The opening, wistful guitar-led instrumental, 5am, acts as an overture to the John Milton-inspired title track.
David Gilmour’s first solo album in nine years, Rattle That Lock is a musical journey of love, sorrow and hope. The album follows a loosely structured narrative that touches on thoughts and feelings experienced over the course of a day. Gilmour’s wife, the novelist Polly Samson, wrote many of the lyrics, as she has for Gilmour since Pink Floyd’s 1994 album The Division Bell.
Former Pink Floyd guitarist David Gilmour is not prolific. Rattle That Lock is only his fourth solo studio album (though it follows his late band's final album, The Endless River, by only ten months). Gilmour recorded some 35 songs for this set, some dating back 18 years. Trimming them to ten couldn't have been easy.
David Gilmour is Pink Floyd, Roger Waters is Pink Floyd, Richard Wright is Pink Floyd, Nick Mason is a racing enthusiast - and Pink Floyd. The four members post-Echoes were each integral to the success of the mythical, prog-rock band, however the only member to truly evoke the Floyd sound in a solo setting is Gilmour. For a lead guitar colossus to show such restraint and taste across an entire career without having a tacky shred moment even once is astounding.
The sense of an event hangs heavy around David Gilmour’s first record in nine years. It features lyrics inspired by Paradise Lost, a supporting cast that includes Graham Nash, Robert Wyatt and Jools Holland, and production that sounds as opulent as the range of deluxe formats on offer. The stately progress of songs such as In Any Tongue and the prominence of Gilmour’s skybound guitar on the instrumentals will divide listeners down predictable lines: succour for those pining for a Floyd reunion, showboating to many others.
David Gilmour's first solo studio album since 2006 arrives less than a year after his final Pink Floyd record, The Endless River, a requiem for late keyboard player Rick Wright. You still hear the missing here. "What I lost was an ocean," Gilmour sings in "A Boat Lies Waiting," a slow ride of Floyd signatures: his bird-song sustain on guitar; a piano figure evoking Wright's patient rapture in 1973's "Us and Them." "And I'm rolling right behind you," Gilmour adds, staring at his own mortality, flanked by the consoling harmonies of David Crosby and Graham Nash.
Finally, we get to hear all the tunes they left off The Endless River. They’ll call it the Floydian Slip. With Pink Floyd’s final album The Endless River – cobbled together from ambient instrumental offcuts from 1994’s The Division Bell – coming under fire in some quarters last year for its lack of lyrics and melody, Gilmour’s fourth solo album sounds like melodic sleight of hand.
When the men of Pink Floyd set their minds to music, together or apart, sparks fly in all directions. Roger Waters scores operas and waxes esoteric about hitchhikers; the late Richard Wright composed piano pieces that could soothe any savage beast; Nick Mason has become a lesser-known amalgam of David Byrne and Ringo Starr; and the martyred Syd Barrett basically continues to stay Syd Barrett. What of legendary guitarist and “reluctant lyricist” David Gilmour? Typically, he strips down the Division Bell and gets groovy — usually thematically, usually blatantly, but not this time.
Pink Floyd guitarist David Gilmour recently said that band is finally done. If so, it went out meekly with last year’s “The Endless River,” essentially a tweaked pastiche of tracks recorded 20 years ago. But Gilmour’s fourth solo record summons a heady dose of the grandeur he brought to Floyd. His crystalline blues runs feature on several tracks, notably the meditative “And Then.
GARY CLARK JR. “The Story of Sonny Boy Slim”. (Warner Bros.).
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