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David Gilmour - On An Island CD (album) cover


David Gilmour


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3.54 | 388 ratings

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4 stars Every time I hear this album, my mind cannot help but be whisked away to the beach; I think of the white sands that lead to the blue waters of the Gulf of Mexico, or the murky calmness of the Atlantic Ocean. While it's scarcely progressive rock, the compositions are tight and, for the most part, much more enjoyable than both A Momentary Lapse of Reason and The Division Bell. It's excellent and peaceful music, and one can clearly see that quite a bit of care and effort went into this mostly personal album.

"Castellorizon" Like the two Gilmour-led Pink Floyd albums, this one begins with an atmospheric instrumental, one that eventually gets around to showing off Gilmour's soulful playing on his signature Fender Stratocaster.

"On an Island" The instrumental goes right into the title track, which is one of the best songs here. The melody is elegant and a key reason this song is so wonderful. About time spent in Greece, these lyrics paint a portrait and are some of the most captivating Gilmour has ever sung. The distinctive voices of David Crosby and Graham Nash are pleasing additions to the harmony. There's some extensive guitar soloing, but every note has its place in the song.

"The Blue" This song never fails to calm me. Subtle harmonica and layers of vocals, along with the mellowest guitar and bass, make this song one of the most placid things I've ever heard. The lyrics describe the vast expanse of the sea. Gilmour uses a slide for the lengthy solo at the end, and is one of the best moments of the album.

"Take a Breath" This is about as grungy as it gets on this album. The rhythm guitars are crunchy and Gilmour's singing has a little bit more of an edge. The slide guitar solo in the middle simply goes up and down the scale for the most part. The segment directly after the guitar solo is gloomy, a bit reminiscent of the interlude in "Poles Apart" from Pink Floyd's The Division Bell. The song returns to the main riff and finishes up with another guitar solo.

"Red Sky at Night" Gilmour plays the saxophone over a darkly magnificent string arrangement.

"This Heaven" Coming directly on the heels of the prior instrumental, this jangling number is fairly straightforward but does have a capable main riff. Gilmour solos at the end and the song fades out. Not the best track, but a decent enough one.

"Then I Close My Eyes" This instrumental has one of the most captivating introductions, which sounds like a man sitting on his front porch by the sea, playing a cümbüş and humming as the sun sets. The sound of a ship's horn brings in the actual piece, which is played as lazily as possible. Like "The Blue," this is an audio sedative; it is nearly impossible to stay stressed while listening to this.

"Smile" Gentle acoustic guitar, some slide, and Gilmour's serene voice make up this peaceful song, which is almost a lullaby. It's a song I've sung to my son before as he's going to sleep. When the bass and drums enter midway through, there are strings and feminine voices, giving this song more force but retaining its cottony texture.

"A Pocketful of Stones" After a spacey introduction, Gilmour sings over little music. At times, it's a beautiful song; at other times, it's haunting. I really like the melody in certain parts, and despite it being a good piece, it's somewhat uneven and probably my least favorite on the album.

"Where We Start" The final song is similar in feel to "Smile," except with clean electric guitar hovering over the acoustic. The lyrics are exquisite and sung in Gilmour's trademark tranquil voice. The guitar solo is tasteful and does not commandeer the rest of the music. What a lovely way to end such a soothing and relaxing album.

Epignosis | 4/5 |


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