David Gilmour - On an Island Review
By Kevin Wierzbicki
Dim the lights, grab the bong, and put Dark Side of the Moon on the old record player. Is that your idea of an ideal Friday night? Or maybe any night? Well there's nothing wrong with that. But I hope by now you've raised a couple of kids and sent them off to college. And for crying out loud, call your mother once in awhile, Stoney! Those Christmas checks will still buy a couple of spliffs worth.
It has been twelve years since David Gilmour and the rest of Pink Floyd put out a studio album, and it has been over 20 since Gilmour's last solo effort. For On an Island, Gilmour has done a pretty good job at trying to please everyone. That is to say, he has not forgotten where he came from. He hasn't messed with his distinct style of playing; his guitar work is instantly recognizable. (Okay, not instantly. You have to go about two and a half minutes into the album's opening instrumental, "Castellorizon" to hear his soaring axe). Conversely, he is aware that he is no spring chicken any more and neither is the bulk of his adoring public. So, if you can imagine it, his work is even a little mellower than usual. For example, on "Take a Breath," where the backbeat pounds out in urgency if not militantly, Gilmour successfully takes the edge off with his cool, relaxed vocals. Indeed, "take a breath" applies to this whole album and also to this point in the man's career. Lots of guests add to On an Island's flavor, but none of them play the silky sax line on "Red Sky at Night," that's David himself. The funky blues vamp "This Heaven" features keyboard work from the legendary Phil Manzanera and trembling Hammond organ from early Brit-rocker Georgie Fame. Other session players you may pick out include Graham Nash, David Crosby, Floyd keys man Richard Wright, Andy Newmark, Robert Wyatt, Jools Holland or original Floyd member Rado "Bob" Klose. But chances are you won't pick them out because you're thoroughly involved in Gilmour's dream. That island you're on may sit in water, space or some hidden corner of your mind. Providing that type of adventure is what Gilmour has always been about. So take a bong, or take a breath; either way you will find great enjoyment.
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David Gilmour - On an Island
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