On An Island Review

artist: David Gilmour date: 12/07/2006 category: compact discs
David Gilmour: On An Island
Release Date: Mar 7, 2006
Label: Sony
Genres: Album Rock, Prog-Rock/Art Rock, Blues-Rock
Number Of Tracks: 10
Musically, "On An Island" is mostly a laid-back, utterly elegant English record. It has the feel of taking place between twilight and dawn.
 Sound: 9.6
 Lyrics: 9.2
 Overall Impression: 9.6
 Overall rating:
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reviews (5) 69 comments vote for this album:
overall: 9
On An Island Featured review by: UG Team, on december 07, 2006
1 of 2 people found this review helpful

Sound: With almost 30 years having passed since David Gilmour joined Pink Floyd, hearing the an album like On An Island is a proof positive that the rock icon's talent hasn't ebbed in any way. While some artists have obvious wear and tear in their vocals, Gilmour sounds better than ever. The re-released album (originally out in March) is full of soothing compositions that may not appeal to fans of Pink Floyd's edgier work, but the new edition also includes a bonus DVD containing flawless renditions of old and new material.

You'd be hard-pressed to think of a more soothing vocalist than David Gilmour, and the CD portion of Gilmour's 3rd solo effort sort of almost feels like a pleasing lullaby at times. The title track is the perfect example of Gilmour's dreamy blend of rock, which very much draws on the mood of hits like Comfortably Numb. On An Island is one of the best tracks on the CD, primarily because Gilmour has an uncanny way of working in the most heartfelt guitar lines at the right moments. The track also features harmonizing vocals from David Crosby and Graham Nash interestingly enough.

Take A Breath is more akin temp-wise of Floyd's Keep Talking, and it does have a more rock-oriented approach than the majority of the other tracks. It's still a low-key rock song, however, so don't expect Gilmour to get too crazy in the album. The mellowness of On An Island might be a bit too much for some listeners, but songwriting-wise Gilmour has created a nice collection of memorable and moving songs.

It's during the DVD that the music becomes most enthralling. Gilmour is a subdued man during most of his performances, but seeing him up-close -- with passion in his face even when his body might not indicate such feeling -- is a new experience in itself. The DVD covers Gilmour performing in a few different settings: at the Royal Albert Hall, during the Abbey Road Session, as well as at a New York Session. Gilmour does perform a few of his new songs from On An Island, but the most memorable performance comes when he tackles Astronomy Domine, which was originally sung by Pink Floyd guitarist/vocalist Syd Barrett. It's an unexpected choice and it's amazing to see it performed along with such contrasting songs. Comfortably Numb is the finale number on the DVD, and as always, never ceases to give chills. // 9

Lyrics: Gilmour's lyrics are introspect and touching, and definitely reflect the music behind them. The guitarist in the past has had sentimental themes included in his songs, and the latest album is pretty much no exception.

Smile is a touching number that details various day-to-day scenes, which although seemingly ordinary, are made more significant as he spends his life with a loved one. Gilmour sings, I light a campfire away from the path; We lie in the bluebells, a woodpecker laughs; Time passes slowly our hearts entwined; All of the dark times left behind. When set to the slow-tempo and Gilmour's hushed vocals, the lyrics become all the more effective.

On An Island follows a similar reflective theme, recalling the memories of a past relationship. Gilmour sings, Remember that night; White sails in the moonlight
They walked it too; Through empty playground, this ghost's town. The sentimentality should not be anything too new for fans, and Gilmour does a fine job at combining intriguing imagery with emotional content. // 9

Overall Impression: Gilmour's work as both a guitarist and vocalist are incredibly unique, which is a big reason why Pink Floyd became such a phenomenon. While his solo work definitely leaves out the edgier moments that were ever-present in Hey You or Run, he still has a lot to offer. Watching the DVD will give the best indication of this, particularly when he is dead-on his playing of the acoustic, steel guitar, and his electrics. On top of that his vocals are amazingly clear and it's unlikely he ever needs more than a few takes in the studio.

On An Island is an extremely laid-back CD/DVD, and it may be a little too mellow for even some of his longtime fans. But behind the slow tempos and lulling harmonies are solid arrangements that are beautifully constructed. At 60 years old Gilmour has again proved that he can still churn out a CD full of unique and moving melodies. // 9

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overall: 8.7
On An Island Reviewed by: crewdanny, on april 01, 2006
9 of 11 people found this review helpful

Sound: The guitar work is exactly what you might want/expect from David Gilmour. Though a bit less thought-provoking then his work with Pink Floyd, Gilmour does toss in quite a few solos with his signature tone and phrasing. He has a wonderful sense of time and depth. This work is similar to work found on The Division Bell, a bit lighter than early Pink Floyd. The solos near the ends of "Castellorizon" and "On An Island" are beautiful, while "Take A Breath" is refreshingly reverberatingly excellent throughout. All in all, this album is a collection of very different guitar (there are other instruments too: sax, keys, strings, etc) sounds that would fit an hour long drive very well. The songs are well developed with a bit of the grinding, heavy bass in the background. // 9

Lyrics: The lyrics are generally intro and/or retrospective. Gilmour sings of love, his children, days spent at the beach, and nights under the stars. He does toss a dallop of the classic Pink Floyd elusive lyrical delight on top of the mix, in songs like "Smile" and "A Pocket Full Of Stones." However simple the topics might be, Gilmour's wording and structural choices send this album right on par with late Pink Floyd work. Gilmour's vocals themselves are sharp as ever. // 8

Overall Impression: This really is a great album. A definite must-have for a hungry Pink Floyd fan. I don't have to sell Gilmour's guitar technique to any of you, and this work is right there with earlier work. All the songs are good at least, while a nice handful are superb. Again, the guitar work is worth the $13. // 9

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overall: 10
On An Island Reviewed by: davidgilmourfan, on may 20, 2006
4 of 4 people found this review helpful

Sound: Well, all I can about this album is, incredible. David Gilmour is doing what he does best. The guitar parts are calming, and ethereal. David uses a full orchestra, and help from friends as he made this amazing album. Such songs like "Where We Start", "On An Island" and "Red Sky At Night" still have the Pink Floyd sound, whereas "Smile" and "A Pocketful Of Stones" have a splendid David Gilmour touch. He really does a great job in arranging and creating this album. With the help of his wife, Polly Samson, he puts together the lyrics and most musical peices. He uses his faithful Fender Stratocaster (Fender Stratocaster "The Black Strat" - black 1970 alder body with black pickguard, Fender V-shaped '57 reissue maple neck, Fender pickups and shortened tremolo arm.), his Gibson Les Paul Gold Top, 1956 model with Gibson P-90 "slim/soapbar" pickups and Bigsby tremolo system, a Cmbs guitar, Fender and Gibson lap steels and a Weissenborn acoustic slide guitar. That's basically what you'd expect from David, as he expands his musicianship to lots of different instruments. He plays bass, guitar, percussion, saxophone and piano on different tracks. The solos that David plays on this album are amazing, very nice and he doesn't rush them. Great album! // 10

Lyrics: The lyrics are very important in this album. Each song has something to say, even though some are instrumental. He splits the writting with his wife, Polly, and they suit each song perfectly. "A Pocketful of Stones" has to be the most emotional and tear-wrenching song of them all. They flow well and are very touching. After coming out of Pink Floyd were Roger wrote most of the lyrics David does a great job. (but David also did a good job on MLOR and The Division Bell). Nice work David. // 10

Overall Impression: Well, there's not much more to say except, phenomenal! I hope David keeps good music going! If you like Pink Floyd, or that style of music, then check out this album! // 10

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overall: 10
On An Island Reviewed by: apples&oranges, on april 06, 2006
2 of 4 people found this review helpful

Sound: On an Island is amazing. This album is one of rocks greatest albums ever in my opinion even though it has not been out that long. It is very mellow and peaceful. The guitar solos dave gives are straight out of Meddle and Obscured By Clouds Days. I think this is a kind of 'concept' album in a way that "Dark Side Of The Moon" was. It is about living on an island (the UK is an island), the 'sea', family and life. Wonderful tunes on each song plus a saxophone solo by dave on "Red Sky At Night." Phenominal music. // 10

Lyrics: 01. Castellorizon - no lyrics but a wonderful song throughout. 02. On An Island - great harmonies by Graham Nash and David Crosby along with the best vocal performance I've heard by dave since High Hopes. 03. The Blue - I think this is a very relaxing song. The vocals make me drift away like I am actually on the sea. I think this song is closely related to "Marooned" with the lyric 'still marooned' because to be (still) marooned, you must have been 'marooned' before. 04. Take A Breath - is a very 'obscured by cloudish' song. The intro "Take a breath, take a deep breath now" makes me feel weird inside. Awesome track. 05. Red Sky At Night - no lyrics except the shouts you can make out in the background. 06. This Heaven - very bluesy and classic. Great song and wonderful music to go with the lyrics. 07. Then I Close My Eyes - the best instrumental that I have ever heard. Enough said about this track. 08. Smile - this reminds me of a Paul McCartney solo song. Very cool because of the few instruments used on it. 09. A Pocketful Of Stones - a 'story' song. I think it is about a man dying and going to heaven. I love how the piano leads the song and the lyrics follow along with it. 10. Where We Start - my favorite track off this album. I love the lyrics. He is talking about time alone with his family on a trip in the woods I think. Cool song that is a 'standout' track on here. // 10

Overall Impression: This album sounds just like Pink Floyd in their prime. If it said "Pink Floyd" instead of "David Gilmour" on the cover, you would not know the difference. Should be a favorite for album of the year. My favorite album that is Pink Floyd related. Tops Dark Side Of The Moon in my opinion. Great, great album. It does not get much better than this. // 10

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overall: 9.7
On An Island Reviewed by: Let it Happen, on june 23, 2006
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Sound: David Gilmour's new album should be in everyone's collection, especially if one is a Pink Floyd fan. The album sounds very much like another Pink Floyd album. This of course makes perfect sense, since Gilmour played such a huge role in shaping Pink Floyd's sound in the first place. The guitar work is what I bought the cd for, and I was not dissapointed. Gilmour's fender strat does wonders, and his tone is simply delicious. This album was recorded entirely at Gilmour's home studio on his own lake. The album reflects the same, as it is very peaceful. The album has a very big sound to it, especially the vocals. Most of the vocals are doubled with a touch of reverb, keeping that classic Pink Floyd style. There's nothing to complain about as far as the sound of the record goes. The cd sounds quite impressive. // 10

Lyrics: The lyrics are quite peaceful, which reflects the music perfectly. The lyrics are rather deep in some ways, but beautifully simple in other parts. Gilmour's lyrics aren't about searching for answers or about getting something off his chest, but they instead reflect a fairly settled mind. Gilmour's vocal ability is quite good, as he probably could have fronted Pink Floyd himself. He emulates the voice of Pink Floyd's own Roger Waters very well. // 9

Overall Impression: This album compares well with pretty much any Pink Floyd album, both in style and in quality. However, this album is more sedate than any Pink Floyd album, and it leaves out any social commentary. The songs that will instantly stand out to any listener are the title track (On an Island), "The Blue," and "Where We Start." These songs resemble the best of any Pink Floyd song and have very nice guitar work as well. The thing that I love most on the album is the guitar work. It has such a sense of feel to it. Gilmour plays with a lot of feel for a white guy. The solo's are slow and full of feeling, and they compliment the songs perfectly. There's really nothing to hate about this album, unless you hate great guitar work. As for the stolen/lost question, the answer is yes, I would most definitely buy it again. The guitar work was worth the 13 bucks. // 10

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