Richard Wright
Broken China


3.5
great

Review

by Archibald C. Burke USER (37 Reviews)
September 25th, 2008 | 18 replies


Release Date: 1996 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Though a bit of a depressing outing for the Pink Floyd alum, his solo material showcases Wright's contributions to his band's composions.

Hailing from one of progressive rock/rock n’ rolls most celebrated acts doesn’t leave a whole lot of room for personal space and breathing room. It’s often difficult for artists desiring a chance at a solo effort to break free of the niche they’ve found themselves tucked into upon the success of their flag-ship unit. The result can leave an artists attempts at defining their own creations sounding more like a clone than anything, leaving listeners with the impression that perhaps there isn’t anything to the individual in question outside of the cohesion of a band. This anchor effect can indeed create an opposite reaction to the listener, leaving things in a much more positive light for the solo musician than ever before. Enter the case of Pink Floyd’s keyboardist/composer/vocalist Richard Wright. On Wright’s solo compositions (1978’s Wet Dream and 1996’s Broken China) there was a remarkably similar sound to Pink Floyd. This, however, shows exactly what Wright brought to Pink Floyd’s table: a sense of melody and mood are showcased, showing just how integral he was to the overall sound of his legendary band.

Now, as with a lot of records – those released as a solo effort by other Pink Floyd alumni included – there are bound to be weaknesses that just don’t add up to the sum of the whole. Indeed, if one is looking to compare this work to that of the mentioned band, you’re going to miss the point of the album and the musicianship on it. Again, the majority of the work put forth here by Wright echoes of his obvious input/impact within Pink Floyd. This record, however, has much more to it. A concept record based off his wife’s battle with depression, Rick Wright’s second solo effort, Broken China can be both droning and powerfully emotional – perhaps following suit with the subject matter. The disc begins similar to a Pink Floyd record (I’ll really try to stop with the comparison thing) with a sprawling, atmospheric instrumental in [/i]Breaking Water[/i]. Though there isn’t much to the track, it lays the foundation to the record’s soundscape (since this isn’t a real word to my knowledge, my definition is the “musical landscape” of the record). The disc starts to liven up – as much as one of this nature can – with the second track [/i]Night of a Thousand Furry Toys[/i]. This has a jazzy bass-line and tempo, and incorporates a nice series of guitar solos – even if they desperately sound like a poor Gilmour imitation. Later down the track-list on the instrumental Satellite a similar structure is produced. On this record Wright’s vocals seem dryer and deeper, somewhat sadder. This may have to do with the nature of the album’s lyrics, or perhaps even his illness, since his vocals on 1994’s Division Bell with his band sounded phenomenal. There is indeed a sense of longing and sadness on the disc though, and Wright does a good job creating the mood his material required. Reaching for the Rail and Breakthrough utilise the vocals of Sinead O’Conner, which further add to the album’s concept.

The record is sparse as a whole, again probably due to the content being put forth, but unfortunately sometimes this causes the disc to have a dragging feeling. Littered with instrumental tracks – which normally would be outstanding – there just isn’t enough instrumentation behind Wright to properly pull it off (case in point, Runaway and Unfair Ground).


Broken China paints a emotional backdrop of fear, despair, depression, isolation, and eventually hope and promise: powerfully ideas that seem like they should have taken on perhaps a stronger form here, but nonetheless fulfilled by Wright’s haunting presentation of them. I don’t want his death to add or take away from this recording, but Rest in Peace to Richard Wright, a legendary musician (1943-2008).

Though this album would probably be most enjoyed when listened in its entirety, there are a few tracks that are able to stand on their own: Night of a Thousand Furry Toys, Far From the Harbour Wall, and Reaching for the Rail.



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user ratings (23)
Chart.
3.7
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
MeloProgcore
September 25th 2008


53 Comments


rick roll'd

spoon_of_grimbo
September 26th 2008


2241 Comments


brilliant review, just fix the italics tags in the second paragraph there and you're sorted. i might check this out at some point, i quite like pink floyd, but i guess i have to be in the right mood to listen to them.

CrazyFool84
September 26th 2008


1080 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Yeah this one's definitely something you should be in the right mood for. Thanks for the comment, I'll touch that little bugger up.

Jim
September 29th 2008


5110 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

quite a good review. this album really didn't hit me unfortunately, and it's been gathering dust since i bought it over a year ago.
which is surprising, because i love pretty much everything he wrote in floyd

JesusV4
January 21st 2011


391 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

Good review, I'm buying this today. One of the few Floyd-related albums that I am without!

KILL5
October 22nd 2011


429 Comments


gd stuff

KILL
January 13th 2012


71965 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

rules

Digging: Exodus - Blood In, Blood Out

TheNotrap
January 13th 2012


8109 Comments


Still need to check this out.

RIP Richard Wright

guitarded_chuck
October 12th 2013


3159 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Now you feel it, a shiver and you've begun
When they pull those strings how you'll start to run
And there's no stepping off or stepping down

It's another world and it's a better world
That's what we have found

Rowan5215
October 12th 2013


27199 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Such a good album, RIP hard

Digging: Vestascension - Breaching the Sound

guitarded_chuck
October 12th 2013


3159 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

RIP

i remember hearing the news of him passing in a random shitty girl store with some random shitty girl lol

was just floored

guitarded_chuck
October 12th 2013


3159 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

man was i ever sad when syd died too

i dunno i just held on to the hope that he would at least reconnect with the pf boys and come out of complete isolation

Rowan5215
October 12th 2013


27199 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I wasn't even aware who they were when they died although to be fair I was like 10 years old when Syd passed. Thinking about it now is just painful though.

Rowan5215
October 12th 2013


27199 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Ah man did you know Rick was actually working on a third solo album when he died? So devastating.

guitarded_chuck
October 12th 2013


3159 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

really

yeah he must have went quick

there's a vid on youtube of dave and rick at least jamming in dave's studio in 2007 and it's full steam ahead

fuck cancer

guitarded_chuck
October 12th 2013


3159 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

"I wasn't even aware who they were when they died although to be fair I was like 10 years old when Syd passed. Thinking about it now is just painful though."

yeah i was in high school

man i just was so sure he'd come out of it to some extent. i couldn't believe he passed when he did. it's like he wasn't here anymore anyway but then he legit was not here anymore, for good, no chance of coming back.

Rowan5215
October 12th 2013


27199 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yeah man I hold out hope that Gilmour has some demos or something that Wright recorded before he died that'll see the light of day sometime but it's a faint hope
Apparently Syd had a third solo album too but that's really not much more than a myth
Cancer is just the fucking worst

Onirium
October 21st 2014


2150 Comments


"I hold out hope that Gilmour has some demos or something that Wright recorded before he died that'll see the light of day sometime but it's a faint hope"

damn


Digging: North Atlantic Oscillation - The Third Day



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