David Gilmour
About Face


3.5
great

Review

by Irving Tan STAFF
November 19th, 2010 | 20 replies | 9,210 views


Release Date: 1984 | Tracklist

Review Summary: David Gilmour steps out from the shadow of the Floyd.

The years-long rift between Roger Waters and David Gilmour that ultimately led to the demise of psychedelic rock band Pink Floyd is a tale that has been told and re-told so often in the annals of rock history that it may just have outsold the Bible at the end of the last quarter. By now, it is a bit of an old chestnut, and truly bears very little worth repeating. Yet, it is rather surprising to observe that the most important offshoot of this tale is one that has been frequently lost between the lines: it is truly a very poorly-appreciated fact that both artists actually ended up releasing solo albums, in part due to the gulf that had recently sprung up between them. Roger Waters' The Pros and Cons of Hitch Hiking was the bassist's attempt to prove that he was Pink Floyd (an endeavour ultimately met with mixed results), whereas David Gilmour desired nothing better than to step out from beyond the specter of his hugely successful band and reclaim his eclipsed individuality. Esoteric it may be, but About Face is where Gilmour truly marks his last stand against the obliteration of the self.

Indeed, as the guitarist himself explained in a 1992 interview, "I guess we all feel restrictions within everything we attempt, just because of the types of personalities and role you've created for yourself...For me, the restriction was the scale of what Pink Floyd had become more than anything. It's nice to get out and do something on a slightly different scale; go out and do theaters, which is not really a possibility with Pink Floyd until we get a lot less popular." Despite this rather tough talk from Gilmour, it is unfortunately inevitable that anything he produces will still be immediately compared to his work with the Pink Floyd, and it is no different even for About Face. Such juxtaposition can be quite damning. Indeed, at several points on About Face Gilmour actually finds himself staring right back into the shadow of The Floyd - despite his insistence that he not become a prisoner of his own sound. Take, for instance, the album's lead single "Blue Light", which opens with a shimmering riff that is immediately and disturbingly reminiscent of "Run Like Hell", from the classic rock album The Wall. Clinton himself would likely abstain from swearing that these two songs were never sexually related at any point.

But if one is prepared to overlook the occasional lapses in integrity, About Face still manages to present itself as an album that has many strong points. The first half of the album is near flawless, with each number featuring a simple pop-sensibility that is absent only too often on the common Floyd release. The song "Murder" is particularly beautiful, and the sense of desolation that Gilmour feels is palpable when he ponders, "What was it brought you out here in the dark/Was it your only way of making your mark?". The presence of a couple of tracks that were penned by Pete Townshend (of The Who fame) is also a treat, with "Love On The Air" making a particularly strong claim to being the best track on the album. There's also enough textural guitar-playing from Gilmour to satisfy even the most ardent of fans, with the instrumental "Let's Get Metaphysical" coming closest to impersonating a religious experience, or a catheter (by taking the piss out of Roger Waters).

Although it lacks the concept-driven style and the smarts of the Floyd's best work, Gilmour does make a decent enough claim that there's still some merit to keeping things mind-numbingly simple. Indeed, even after nearly three decades, the former Floyd guitarist's stand that one should always be allowed to write music for shits without being too concerned about having something to say is as relevant as it was many years ago, back when the rift was still raw.

To Roger Waters: the strains of economic debauchery and societal depravity will always have a place for discussion, but it is certainly not here.

Love, David.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
Irving
Staff Reviewer
November 19th 2010



7174 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Thus, I go back to contributing albums for which a review is not already available on Sputnik.

This review may also be found on my personal blog (at the address http://snuffleupagush.wordpress.com/2010/11/19/gilmour/).

As always, criticism and comments are much welcomed.

Digging: Ty Segall - Manipulator

JamieTwort
Contributing Reviewer
November 19th 2010



20422 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I was gonna review this at some point but I'm sure you've done a better job than I would have, pos.

Nagrarok
November 19th 2010



8194 Comments


I listened to On an Island, which was pretty good...

but then I went back to Pink Floyd.

Irving
Staff Reviewer
November 19th 2010



7174 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

@ Jamie: Thanks a lot man. I appreciate it. Do let me know if there's anything worth fixing in this review yeah?

Also, I would encourage you to post your review up regardless - always good to have more than one point of view on any given subject =)

Irving
Staff Reviewer
November 19th 2010



7174 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

If I can be completely honest Nag, I wouldn't explicitly recommend David Gilmour's solo work to anybody. It's okay, but gets dull very quickly. That said, this one is miles better than an On An Island.

The man's a phenomenal guitarist and a good singer, but damn, someone's REALLY gotta write/arrange his songs for him.

JamieTwort
Contributing Reviewer
November 19th 2010



20422 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I happen to like On An Island better than this if I'm honest but this is still a great album.

As for the review, nothing strikes me as needing to be fixed, good job.

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
November 19th 2010



6007 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

good review, have a pos.

i haven't listened this record in a while, so i don't remember it.

But i remember liking his first solo more than this.

i hope i make some sense....



On An Island was great.

Digging: Troldhaugen - Obzkure Anekdotez For Maniakal Massez

Jim
November 19th 2010



5110 Comments


dude you are a sick reviewer. the catheter thing was a good lol.

JamieTwort
Contributing Reviewer
November 19th 2010



20422 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

^yeah that bit made me lol too

Jethro42
November 19th 2010



12391 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I wasn't aware that Pete Townsend penned couple of songs on that album. 'Murder' is such an amazing song.
Have a pos for another great review.

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
November 19th 2010



15889 Comments


Alright so now i am expecting nothing but the best from you irving, and this review still passes the test. it is...how do i word this...really fucking good. I love how you word things in general, your style is really similar to mine (soon that may be more of a compliment to me than it is to you). It is expertly written but very easy to read. I pos'd and would pos several more times if I could.

Only thing I might look at (and trust me, people have told me that i have a tendency to do this too) is using too many words to make a point. Specifically, the use of unnecessary adjectives:

it is truly a very poorly-appreciated fact

it is unfortunately inevitable

If you look at those in the contexts of their statements, they don't really add much (if anything) to what you are saying and they make for an awkward read. But that's just my opinion, I don't want you to blindly change it. This review is excellent as is, and everyone has their own style so do as you see fit.



Digging: Maybeshewill - Fair Youth

Xenophanes
Emeritus
November 19th 2010



10593 Comments


As I did with Sowing, I'm going to blindly pos this (because let's face it, it probably rules) and read it later, I need a nap!

AnotherBrick
November 19th 2010



9770 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

nice review man. Murder is easily my favorite song off this, a nice little tribute to Lennon

pizzamachine
November 19th 2010



12571 Comments


Reviewtastic.

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
November 19th 2010



15889 Comments


i would change the summary to David Gilmour steps out from the dark side of the Floyd.

Aids
Contributing Reviewer
November 19th 2010



23806 Comments


eh, i don't know if I want to listen to this.

I mean , On An Island is one of my favourite albums ever, but something tells me this would just annoy me.

Irving
Staff Reviewer
November 24th 2010



7174 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Hey guys.

Firstly, sorry for the extremely late reply - was away for the weekend, and when I got back I was immediately faced with an incredible amount of schoolwork that kinda needed to be dealt with haha.

That said, thanks so much for all the kind words. It's much appreciated. I'll get around to some individual comments for a bit here:

@ Aids: It's significantly better than On An Island (which I actually kinda dislike, save for a few bright moments). I'd encourage you to give About Face a shot =)

@ Brick, Jethro, Jamie, Xeno, and Jim: Thanks guys. Much appreciated =)

@ Sowing: Thanks to you too. Also, great criticism (and excellent alternative idea for a summary!). That's a really good point - I read over the review once again and you are right in saying that it's a bit stilted/awkward because of how a few sentences are worded.

Also, I'm glad you think the review was good. That said, while writing it, I didn't feel that it was my best. I tried my hardest as usual, and spent a couple of hours editing it, but I didn't think it was rolling off the same way my P!nk review did (which is the standard I'll be eternally judged against now it seems, haha). Hopefully I'll be able to find a better modicum of consistency =)

But thanks man.

JesusV4
February 9th 2011



391 Comments


Good review, except that your bias for Gilmuor in the Water-Gilmour shows through. I'd say it's your job to be objective here (although, to be fair, mybias is in favor of Waters).

Irving
Staff Reviewer
February 9th 2011



7174 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Thanks man. Yeah I'd readily admit I lean towards Gilmour a bit more. He's not as deep-thinking as Waters, but his guitar playing and fantastic signing voice were what made The Floyd, The Floyd.

menawati
Contributing Reviewer
November 10th 2012



15906 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

incredible guitar player but average songwriter without the rest of PF

Digging: Nemrud - Journey of the Shaman



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