Rattle That Lock

David Gilmour

Columbia, 2015


REVIEW BY: Benjamin Ray


Released less than a year after Pink Floyd’s final album The Endless River, guitarist David Gilmour returned in late September with a new solo album, his fourth overall. Unlike that Floyd disc, this one is made up of new songs and instrumental passages that are still of a piece with all of late-period Floyd work, and unlike Gilmour’s last solo album On An Island, the songs here are energetic and varied without sacrificing mood.

The basic elements of any Floyd or Gilmour project since 1987 are here – female backup vocals, measured tempos that never really pick up the pace, moody atmospheric songs, the occasional nifty guitar solo and a theme. The concept here is the emotions and events that make up one full day, told in both words (written by Polly Samson, a novelist and Gilmour’s wife) and the variety in the music. my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

There’s very little here that caves to a modern sound; had these songs been included on Momentary Lapse Of Reason or The Division Bell, they wouldn’t have seemed out of place. But Gilmour is adept at finding variations on this expansive sound, such as the dense, deliberate acoustic ballad “Faces Of Stone” with an Eastern European carnival sound added, the lovely piano ballad “A Boat Lies Waiting” (a tribute to Floyd keyboard player Rick Wright) and the sprawling, melancholy “Dancing Right In Front Of Me.” Breaking from tradition is “The Girl In The Yellow Dress,” a straight-out nightclub jazz torch song evoking twilight and either regret or possibility.

Gilmour brings plenty of grandeur as well, not only in those above songs but in the lush “In Any Tongue,” the sprightly midtempo title track and “Today,” which starts as a near-hymn before breaking into the slightly funky, energetic main portion, featuring some great bass work and closing with a fine guitar solo (as if Gilmour plays any other kind). “And Then…” closes the album with a long guitar-laden instrumental; it, along with “Beauty,” displays the sort of confidence and liquidity that Gilmour has brought to his solos.

If you’re inclined to compare, there is plenty here that evokes Gilmour’s work with Pink Floyd even reaching farther back than Momentary Lapse, not just in sound but in scope and the mild thematic elements. Yet despite the grandiose, layered sound and the refusal to break from formula, Rattle That Lock has an energy and elasticity not found in Gilmour’s work in a long time. He’s taking stock of his life, he’s nodding to the past while looking to the future, he’s working within his strengths while moderately expanding his palette, and the result is a solid effort that is better than anything he’s released since at least 1994.

Rating: B

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