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Pink Floyd - A Momentary Lapse of Reason CD (album) cover

A MOMENTARY LAPSE OF REASON

Pink Floyd

 

Psychedelic/Space Rock

3.07 | 1729 ratings

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Progosopher
3 stars If The Final Cut can be considered a Roger Waters album, as some do, than A Momentary Lapse of Reason can be considered a David Gilmour album. As I reject the first notion, I also reject the latter. To be sure, Gilmour dominates the proceedings here. He is the writer or co writer of all the songs, performs all the lead vocals (and lead guitar of course), and is the co producer with Bob Ezrin. There are characteristics here not found on any Gilmour solo albums, characteristics with are consciously reminiscent of prior Pink Floyd albums. The listener will be reminded of Dark Side of the Moon, Wish You Were Here, Animals, and The Wall. I think this is a deliberate attempt to maintain a unique Floyd sound. Yet there are new production values here, not the least of which are several dozen studio pros brought in to fill out the sound. Tony Levin provides the bass, and Jim Keltner is listed as a second drummer, not to mention the various percussionists brought in. No fewer than three saxophonists are utilized, and keyboard players include Ezrin himself, Bill Payne (of Little Feet fame), and Richard Wright. Wright's presence gives the album some true Floyd cred, but to be honest it is minor, as he seems to be only a special guest studio musician. No song is attributed to him in any way, but there are some passages that are distinctly his. Officially, the band is essentially Gilmour and Nick Mason. So what is with the smiling photos of them? Is the kinder, gentler Pink Floyd of the 80s? Is this a way to show us that Pink Floyd is not merely the psychotic depressions of Roger Waters?

The album opens with the keyboard heavy instrumental Signs of Life. The piece is moody and almost classical in places. This moves into the hit of the album, Learning to Fly, a strutting and catchy tune. Another strutting piece follows, The Dogs of War, but with a harder edge and more turbulent manner. I do not consider it Pink Floyd's worst song, as many seem to do. No, I reserve that (dis)honor to A New Machine, which appears later on. One Slip follows. Co-written by Phil Manzanera and Gilmour, this one features various sequencers, including the 80s style Gilmour used so often at that time. This one sounds the most like a solo Gilmour song than any of the others because of the sequencing. On the Turning Away takes an Irish folk melody to which Gilmour place some thoughtful and grand lyrics, some of his best actually, to create a true anthem. This song should be sung by thousands of people gathered together in solidarity. Yet Another Movie is one of the darker tunes on the album, both lyrically and musically, with some dramatic flourishes. So far, I like all the songs and hear nothing inherently wrong with them, but things take a serious downturn. The aforementioned A New Machine starts up. It is nothing more than Gilmour a cappella, his voice heavily processed. The song is as dreary as its lyrics. Unfortunately, this horror is given to us in two parts. Fortunately, they are separated by the album's second instrumental, Terminal Frost. One might think this would be just an excuse for Gilmour to solo, but it isn't. It is a very well constructed piece that is dominated by keys, sax, and drums. Guitar is present to be sure, but it is largely a support instrument. I usually program both parts of A New Machine out of play. Sorrow closes the album on a somber and serious note. The song begins with an ominous and threatening guitar introduction, and then moves into the main section, its ragged vocal rhythms fitting the post apocalyptic lyrics. At nearly nine minutes, it is stretched out in all it ponderous and plodding glory. The outgoing solo is extensive, leading the listener on through the menacing aural landscape before fading out to an uncertain and unseen future, which fits the theme of the song quite well.

A Momentary Lapse of Reason is not a bad album by any means, but it does not rise up to the same levels of expression and excellence as their classic albums from the 70s. Part of the reason for this is the absence of Roger Waters and the minimum involvement of Rick Wright. This is a Pink Floyd album, but one for the sober musical landscape of the 80s. It is richly and immaculately produced, each song expertly constructed with hosts of dramatic crescendos and musical progressions. A good listen, but it won't send the Prog fan into the stratosphere like some of their earlier classics. I give it a solid three stars.

Progosopher | 3/5 |

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