David Gilmour
David Gilmour


3.5
great

Review

by Irving Tan STAFF
December 26th, 2010 | 38 replies


Release Date: 1978 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Let's do pugilism.

There's really no other sport like professional boxing, is there? I mean, what other sport makes seriously injuring the other athlete the ultimate goal? In an age where civility is lauded and tolerance is promoted, boxing (and other forms of professional fighting, for that matter) seems like a true anachronism. But even without begging the question, one can easily understand the sport's allure: it somehow speaks to us. The sanctioning of the modern pugilist allows us imperfect beings to discretely frequent a certain dark corner tucked away inside our hearts. It reminds us of the barbarians that we became the instant our cave-dwelling forefathers considered busting ass to be a perfectly kosher way of settling the dispute over the only woman this side of the river. Fact is, we like displays of violence. No doubt it is a rather unsettling part of the human condition, yet it does go some way towards justifying why we behave the way we do.

In fact, it also explains why David Gilmour's self-titled release is such a captivating listen. This comes as a bit of a surprise, I'll wager, but at the very core of David Gilmour lies the epic tale of man vs machine, with the Floyd guitarist essentially picking up the eternal struggle between musician and instrument. From a match promoter's perspective, it is a fixture made in heaven: the quintessential prog rock guitarist takes on the electric juggernaut. Thunder vs lightning. Curtain raiser "Mihalis" provides a shimmering and tense atmosphere to proceedings, with its winding instrumental style cutting no corners and suggesting that this fixture will have no holds barred. Despite this initial reproach, Gilmour manages to remain calm - and why not, for this is actually to his advantage. Our guitarist has always been more of an out-fighter: the classic boxer or stylist who seeks to maintain a distance between him and his opponent, gradually wearing the enemy down by pure skill and finesse. In the background, the electric guitar reminds us - with a deep rumble - that it is the exact anti-thesis of Gilmour's approach. Although thoroughly lacking in guile and poise, it roars through rounds on the back of its sheer punching power alone. It is a graceless brawler, and it's never a stretch to imagine the six-string as an alley slugger who has somehow found itself in the ring, and has neither respect nor regard for the Rules of the Marquess of Queensbury.

The realization that this is a duel to the death comes quickly to our guitarist. "There's no way out of here/When you come in you're in for good," he admits at the beginning of "There's No Way Out Of Here". This briefly suggests an air of desperation, but Gilmour quickly takes it on his chin, producing shifting chords that belie his desperation. As he pends his next move, the track coalesces together like a unified whole, comfortable in its niche as the boxer's second. The guitar's response to this comes in "Cry From The Street", where it takes great liberties in administering blistering punishment to its opponent. The song's riffing sound has a punishment scheme not unlike the application of industrial-grade sand paper to skin. But the sense is that Gilmour has somehow managed to come out on top; on "No Way" he loudly exclaims, "There's no way I'm going to let go/There's no way - because it's my show", forcefully proclaiming his intent.

Despite his coming across as a promising prize fighter, backing Gilmour can be a rather arduous task, particularly as some of his movements feel dreadfully uninspired. The instrumental number "Raise My Rent" is a case in point. Although it screams, the number rarely blisters, and Gilmour is seemingly content with creating a number that panders around aimlessly and hardly gets anywhere. Then there are the pieces whose decencies were violated the instant they were resurrected on later Floyd songs: for instance, on "Short and Sweet" there is a dead-ringer preview of what appears to be a few notes off "Run Like Hell" (from The Wall). It is as if Ali himself foreshadowed the Rope-A-Dope a full year before it was ultimately released to critical acclaim. To be fair, Gilmour has established such a signature guitar style that it is somewhat inevitable that any release of his would occasionally sound like a Floyd side project. Ultimately, this is a knife that cuts both ways, and resolving whether it represents a lack of artistic merit or is simply due to honest happenstance is beyond the scope of this piece.

At the end of the day, the line between victor and loser ends up being rather thinly drawn. What is clear though, is the fact that Gilmour's battle has left him totally exhausted and disoriented. "I can't breathe anymore/Why that is I'm not sure/I've got my feet on the floor/In fact I'm flat on the floor," he admits on album closer "I Can't Breathe Anymore." The guitarist's fragility and weaknesses are ultimately laid bare for all to see, and they are truly symptomatic of his plight - Gilmour has never been the consummate warrior or innovator (a point which is further proven by the dire lack of imagination displayed on his subsequent solo releases). However, he does have a superhuman resilience and a great deal of heart; thankfully, his debut release manages to come with spades of both, and this ultimately redeems it from lapsing into shameful mediocrity.

And as for the guitar, well, it's always up for a rematch.



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user ratings (103)
Chart.
3.7
great
other reviews of this album
mike197 (3.5)
David Gilmour provides a suitable solo album that displays his own talents very well, but overall re...


Comments:Add a Comment 
Irving
Staff Reviewer
December 26th 2010


7320 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

This review may also be found on my personal blog (at the address http://snuffleupagush.wordpress.com/2010/12/26/gonna-fly-now/).

Comments and criticisms are - as always - much appreciated.

Oh, and I watched Rocky I and Rocky II today. This review may have been slightly influenced by it.

AnotherBrick
December 26th 2010


9772 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

great album

JamieTwort
Contributing Reviewer
December 26th 2010


21577 Comments


Great album [2] and as always a great review.

Digging: Foxes in Fiction - Ontario Gothic

Aids
Contributing Reviewer
December 26th 2010


24090 Comments


I really like On an Island but never got around to his earlier solo stuff.........

Digging: Mitski - bury me at makeout creek

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
December 26th 2010


6339 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Very very well written "concept" review man.

I always liked this and On an Island better than About Face

Digging: Madred - Supersonic Brainfuck Overdrive

Ponton
Emeritus
December 26th 2010


5819 Comments


Great, interesting review irving.

not my thing, i suppose

Digging: Gates - Bloom and Breathe

vanderb0b
December 26th 2010


3473 Comments


Fantastic review, really like how you used the boxing concept. Might check this out, I'm a huge Pink Floyd fan and some of Gilmour's solo stuff was pretty decent.

Irving
Staff Reviewer
December 26th 2010


7320 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

@ Observer: Thanks! I'm glad you approve! David Gilmour is not the best album around in the genre, but I guess it does its job. It's a decent piece.

@ Vanderb0b: IMHO, it's better than On An Island, and just about on par with About Face. If you're a Floyd fan I have a feeling that you - at the very least - won't mind it.

And lol the boxing concept was probably due to some early morning writing. Strange things happen at that time of day.

@ Voivod: Thanks bud! I personally can't stand On An Island after the first three songs - the lyrics are just painful, but hey, to each his own! =)

@ Aids: Give it a go mate. You might like it =)

@ Jamie & Brick: Indeed. I do wish Gilmour would put out another record - that'd be something to check out, wouldn't it?

Cheers guys!

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
December 26th 2010


16911 Comments


hahaha this is amazing dude

Digging: Low Roar - 0

foreverendeared
December 26th 2010


14678 Comments


really good review

Irving
Staff Reviewer
December 26th 2010


7320 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

@ Sowing: Hahaha thanks. I wasn't sure how the boxing concept would come off, but it seems like it went okay so I'm glad.

@ foreverendeared: Thanks man; much appreciated.

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
December 26th 2010


6339 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I personally can't stand On An Island after the first three songs

i can definitely see where you are coming from, but things are not so bad (or good indeed!) with regard to the other songs.

Irving
Staff Reviewer
December 26th 2010


7320 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

@ Voivod: Fair enough =)

And I restate my insistence on Gilmour producing another album. It's been too long since his last! That said, did you check out his collaboration with The Orb?

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
December 26th 2010


6339 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

did you check out his collaboration with The Orb?

no, i'm afraid not... Is it listed on the sputnik database?


Irving
Staff Reviewer
December 26th 2010


7320 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Yup. In fact, I actually did a review on it not too long ago. Do a search for The Orb, and look up their latest effort Metallic Spheres (that's the album that features Gilmour).

Jethro42
December 26th 2010


12624 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Good fight, Irving, review= win.

Irving
Staff Reviewer
December 26th 2010


7320 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

review= win.

I believe you mean KO.

Let's keep with the boxing technicalities, shall we? ;)

Jethro42
December 26th 2010


12624 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

yeah, a technical knock out!

foreverendeared
December 26th 2010


14678 Comments


Happy Boxing Day everybody

JamieTwort
Contributing Reviewer
December 26th 2010


21577 Comments


"I do wish Gilmour would put out another record - that'd be something to check out, wouldn't it?"

Indeed it would, IMO any new Gilmour material is worth checking out, even the album he did with The Orb, which isn't really my thing but still an interesting listen. Also, like Voivod, I really liked On An Island.



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