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


Pink Floyd


Psychedelic/Space Rock

3.07 | 1731 ratings

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3 stars This release was an event. Nominally Pink Floyd's new record after all the internal nonsense, it has many important Floyd markers-- it sounds great; it's pithy, tragically hip, and dark all at once; and it incorporates elements of past favorites as Dark Side, WYWH, Animals, and The Wall. Dave Gilmour's vocals are fine and his flowing blues chops right in the pocket yielding some real good moments.

But the individual parts don't necessarily make up a whole and there is something decidedly missing, and the empirical evidence suggests that it would be Roger Waters ("a pretty fair forgery" ?-- I'm afraid that's kind). One doesn't have to be a Waters fan to understand the 1987 issue is an excellent example of how important one band member can be, especially a mover & shaker like RW. The tension is gone, everything works smoothly, and that's a real shame. There is also a tangible lack of lyrical depth replaced by an easier, formulaic verse. I mean when you're rhyming "love" and "glove" maybe it's time for some soul-searching, if only out of courtesy. The overall impression is that of a cold, well-oiled machine: a dreadnought that could punch out all the modern, ironic spacerock you want 24 hours a day if you let it. It's not a pretty picture, and is itself consumed by the very post-apocalyptic visions it feeds upon. Worse is the feeling we're hearing an imitation, a cruel pun, New Coke.

Some didn't seem to mind in '87, basking in the light of new material from a favorite group. Others heard the quiet desperation but gave them a pass. After all, it could've been worse. The anemic single 'Learning to Fly' has Gilmour's studio-only breathiness and Jimi Hendrix guitar phrasing over the munch of an electronic percussive. Dave and the boys' synthestra encroaches, incurs, and Wagners its way through the battlements in 'Dogs of War' and "it's scary now" melodrama. 'One Slip' is promising with remnants of his About Face period, 'On the Turning Away's arm-twisting sentiment is saved by a popping guitar solo, sandstorms and incomprehensible lyrics fill-out the enormous space of 'Yet Another Movie' and the mean scurl of Dave's ax opens superfluous 'Sorrow'.

I don't begrudge Gilmour & Friends this first try (as I recall Division Bell was a bit better), but it was far from the album we wanted and needed in those lean years of the '80s, and it had the sense these three vets were occasionally phoning it in. After giving so much, they probably deserved it. I just don't know if we did. In many ways this was indeed a momentary lapse of reason, no doubt to the giddy delight of Mr. Waters.

Atavachron | 3/5 |


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