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David Gilmour - On An Island CD (album) cover

ON AN ISLAND

David Gilmour

 

Prog Related

3.54 | 287 ratings

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Finnforest
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars "this earthly heaven is enough for me"

One thing is clear. David Gilmour is a content individual these days. Who can blame him? He has complete artistic freedom. He has a happy family life by all accounts. Money for what that's worth. And his health, no small detail when one gets to be his age. Conventional wisdom says that this should translate into an awful album. While a huge generalization it is true often enough that tortured artists frequently make great albums, while those who are content, whole, and at peace sometimes release sappy bunk. Given my opinion of Gilmour post-Waters "floyd" albums I was not expecting much from this release. While he will never again compete with his prime 1970s partnership with Roger Waters, he has released a late inning collection with some truly respectable moments.

The album is mellow as all hell so if you are not a fan of the pacing and mood of "A Pillow of Winds" you can stop reading now and definitely skip this album. It floats by on a slow, narcotic cloud that is either irresistible or violence-inducing, depending on how you feel about such peaceful sounds. David's voice has survived remarkably well compared to the likes of Roger Waters, Robert Plant, and other contemporaries. It has the same velvety softness it had on Meddle. His guitar playing is as emotional and lovely as it ever was with slow bent and long held notes that hit the pleasure center of your brain with force. Lyrically David is challenged as ever without having Roger to do that nasty bit of work and the results are mixed. There are some good lines and there are some pretty rough ones. Because his subject matter is more personal and intimate this time most of the songs fare well as he speaks about his life and love. He seems to touch on his reported atheism (or agnosticism.I've seen both mentioned) in "This Heaven." And though this album was written prior to Syd's death my gut feeling is that "A Pocketful of Stones" may have some lines for his old friend. A heavy nostalgia and longing for lost possibilities pervades the album, blended with the previously mentioned contentment and hope. Gone are the squabbles with his nemesis. Zen David has arrived.

Most of the tracks are quite good for the mellow Gilmour fan. "On An Island" and "The Blue" are serene. "Red Sky at Night" features David on saxophone, another instrument he's pretty damn good at. "Then I Close My Eyes" is a delicate, sweet mostly-instrumental featuring the legendary Robert Wyatt. "A Pocketful of Stones" is perhaps the best track, David delivering a chillingly intimate vocal accompanied by his own piano and organ. "Take a Breath" is one of the low points, conjuring bad memories of perhaps his worst track ever, "Dogs of War." But not AS bad as that. The disc comes in a nice booklet with full lyrics and artwork. While this is a respectable album it is also rendered obsolete by the much-superior "Remember That Night" DVD. Pick that up for a few bucks more and you'll get much better versions of this same material along with excellent reworkings of some Floyd material. This is good, the DVD is much better.

Finnforest | 3/5 |

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