On an Island

Studio Album by released in 2006
On an Island's tracklist:
Castellorizon
On an Island
The Blue
Take a Breath
Red Sky at Night
This Heaven
Then I Close My Eyes
Smile
A Pocketful of Stones
Where We Start

On an Island review

On an Island is Gilmour's third album, and the first since About Face

In the 40 years since Pink Floyd burst on to the London scene, initially as part of a vibrant underground that included folk, jazz and experimental musicians, its members and ex-members have released solo albums. These have ranged from Syd Barrett's psychedelic songwriting to Roger Waters' misanthropic wails, via Nick Mason's odd, but musically interesting Fictitious Sports. On an Island is David Gilmour's third album, and the first since About Face, released in 1984. As the man behind Pink Floyd and one of the greatest rock musicians of all time, there are inevitably high expectations of his new solo work. And it exceeds those expectations, confirming Gilmour's legendary reputation and taking you on an intimate and reflective journey. Produced by Phil Manzanera, the album includes performances from some of Gilmour's notable contemporaries, such as Crosby & Nash, Pink Floyd's Richard Wright on Hammond organ, Robert Wyatt on cornet, Caroline Dale on cello, Alasdair Molloy on glass harmonica, Georgie Fame on Hammond organ, Guy Pratt and Willie Wilson, collaborations that create a spectrum of moods without impeding on the strong Gilmour presence. With orchestrations by the renowned Polish composer Zbigniew Preisner and a luminous production, virtuosity abounds.

Gilmour reveals a personal vision and a breadth of styles

From the first moments of the sound collage that begins On an Island, you know it’s a special experience that not only bears comparison with the best of Pink Floyd, but also confirms their lead guitarist and singer as an outstanding solo artist. Here he reveals a personal vision and a breadth of styles – folk, jazz, orchestral and rock – brought together as a unified piece by his lyrical guitar playing and instantly recognizable voice. Of the album's ten tracks, all music is written by Gilmour, with lyrics by his wife Polly Samson (they collaborated on lyrics on two songs), while three tracks are purely instrumental. The songs evoke a breadth of moods, from the hauntingly beautiful title track On an Island (with a guitar performance set to enter the Gilmour canon of classics) to the meditative Out Of The Blue and A Pocketful of Stones, as well as the heavier rock and blues numbers Take A Breath and This Heaven. The title track is a slow, anthemic waltz with modest lead vocals, sweetly sung harmonies, lashings of overdubbed guitars, sweeping orchestrations and a big solo at the end. Gilmour even debuts on saxophone for Red Sky At Night. This Heaven is possibly the best track, an atypical, slow loping triple-time groove driven by a prominent acoustic guitar riff and Georgie Fame's tasty Hammond. Gilmour sings with husky urgency over clattering beats; like Clapton, he's come to terms with being the front man, but you feel he can't wait to stop singing and let rip with another guitar solo.

Gilmour's trademark slow-tempo delivery is intact and his voice is in fine form

On an Island sees Gilmour return to the style of his 1978 debut, which is more in keeping with the classic Pink Floyd sound. Gilmour's trademark slow-tempo delivery is thankfully intact and his voice is in fine form throughout. Gilmour doesn't want us to dance to the music; this is a warm sonic bath for ordinary Daves and their wives, from Krakow to Sao Paulo, to nod and smile to while sipping wine in candlelit rooms. With the majority of the lyrics penned with Polly Samson, On an Island fixes its sights onto what she and Gilmour believe are the real important aspects of life – love, family, contentment – things that have no relation to being rich in financial terms. On an Island is a very mellow, sumptuous, relaxed, personal effort, showing a man content with his life. This beautifully tight, finely honed collection will surely stand the test of time as amongst the finest examples of David's work. Let's just hope that this album marks a new creative era for Gilmour, with more in this vein to come.

(09.03.2006)
Rate review4.73
Total votes - 647


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