Roger Waters was gone in 1985 from the massively successful band Pink Floyd. It seemed like Pink Floyd was officially over. Well…not just yet. David Gilmour took over the helm of the music and did his best to revive the now defunct band, although it was obvious that their time as the best in popular music culture was long gone. Still, he reinstated keyboard player Richard Wright and Nick Mason and a bunch of other star musicians, this is the release that attempted to keep the flame going on that was Pink Floyd, even amongst bitter legal wrangles between David Gilmour and Roger Waters, which were indeed, bitter. Egos were well and truly alive here. Despite that, let’s listen to this album and see if it has lasted the test of time today.
Signs Of Life begins the album with some rushing water sounds, some creaking noises and a sense that we have something fairly exciting here to listen to. Splashing sounds are heard as well. Soon enough, a keyboard sound enters and this piece becomes quite eerie to listen to. An odd tune, but then again, Pink Floyd was travelling through uncertain times here in their musical career, and the music reflects that. It’s not a million miles away from postmodern EDM in a textural sense. The number of electronics here are enormous and different. Some synth strings then enter, and this moody piece continues away well. This may not be the best of Pink Floyd, but it works incredibly well. Some rather trippy sounds emerge in the second half, including some classy David Gilmour guitars, including delay and harmonics to boot. A post-1960s and 1970s LSD musical trip? Likely so. David Gilmour plays wonderfully here. A nice intro all the same, although very 1980s. It fades out gently.
Learning To Fly is the big hit from this album, and is inspired by the fact that both David Gilmour and Nick Mason took flying lessons around this time. It has a great groove to it, which apparently took many months for the group to nail. Nonetheless, this is a superb and wonderful tune that sounds awesomely euphoric. A great Blues guitar solo is after the chorus, and this catchy listen is amazing, to this day. If there is any standout number from post-Roger Waters Pink Floyd, this is it. There is a breakdown in the middle with sampled speech and electronics galore, which sounds really excellent. A fine and cool piece of music, although it does sound sonically very dated, it works incredibly well. David Gilmour sings with a load of sound effects in the second half about the euphoric experience he and Nick Mason had flying aeroplanes. Brilliant music, it sounds really top-notch and excellent to hear. Fantastic from start to finish, with some bluesy guitar solos to conclude. Excellent.
The Dogs Of War begins with some distorted vocals, some eerie Terminator film like sounds and sounds twisted. It is extremely dramatic and interesting listening. It eventually launches into a song that sounds like it could have, indeed, been placed into a film of some sort around this time. A really interesting listen with some classic Pink Floyd touches such as keyboards and electronics, female gospel vocals and some expensive sounding production, this is good, even if it isn’t as good as earlier moments by the group. David Gilmour is clearly the driving force in the band at this point. In the middle are some thunderous drum rolls, and we have a very 1980s sounding tune, with some pseudo-shred guitar. A good and interesting listen musically, even if it is incredibly dated. Soon enough, the tempo changes and some Jazzy saxophone enters. Squealing like a madman, the sax sure sounds great here. In the last quarter, this piece returns back into the song at hand. David Gilmour sings wonderfully here, and he certainly delivers, as does the rest of the group as well. It concludes after six minutes. A bit lengthy, but very good.
One Slip begins with some interesting digital percussion sounds, beeps and other unusual sounds present. It then has some strange electronic sounds in the right channel, before some alarms go on. Weird, but wonderful. Soon enough, Nick Mason gets launching into some rather intricate drumming, before this song kickstarts and launches into a wonderful and dramatic tune that although is very good, has not aged at all well. A thoroughly decent listen, however, even if it sounds like trashy 1980s radio ready music. Clearly, this is not the best Pink Floyd record, despite the fact that one can hear the effort being made here. In the second half is some Funk bass, weird electronic sounds and some unusual textures to boot. This isn’t hugely memorable, and it doesn’t stick around in one’s head afterwards. Nonetheless, this is a good song without being a great one. The album’s title is in this song as well. It fades out quickly after five minutes in length.
On The Turning Away begins with some warm atmospheric sounds entering in at the start before David Gilmour begins singing away nicely. This is definitely more textural than song based but still sounds pretty and majestic. Some pretty acoustic guitars enter, and this lovely tune gets going away nicely. It’s a pretty ballad that is drenched in 1980s sounds and reverb galore. So yes, it is incredibly dated. Still, David Gilmour channels his energies through this album very well. He comes across as a proto-Coldplay pioneer, i.e. a Sensitive New Age Guy. The music here is quite good, and is lovely and passionate, despite the fact that this clearly is not a classic album by this point. A good effort nonetheless, and this does work very well indeed. A screaming guitar solo in the second half makes this evoke some real emotion to enjoy. Pink Floyd was a band of creative artists, and this song is no different in that respect. A groovy, interesting yet trashy piece of modern Pop music, this does take the mind elsewhere. Great music to hear, all the same. A bit lengthy, but that is okay at this point. It slowly fades out at the end.
Yet Another Movie is odd, all right. It begins with percussive electronic sounds that are super weird. This album is a good exercise in what not to do on a record in the 1980s. Obviously, this one is quite rubbish. Soon enough, some electronic sounds enter and this piece gets going. Some clanging delayed piano follows, along with weird guitars. This isn’t overly impressive and is a real disappointment after the first part of the album. David Gilmour begins singing and this whole tune sounds very interesting and lively with that element of it. Towards the middle of this song is a screaming guitar solo, which is followed by more dramatic singing and sound effects. This is a very ordinary tune, and it is also over six minutes long. A bit of a drag and a disappointment to listen to, this is pure filler. Pink Floyd’s best days were very much behind them by this point, and not even David Gilmour’s guitar chops can save this tune. Enough to fall asleep to, this is a really ordinary piece of music. Anyway, skip this one if you wish. A very ordinary and disappointing tune to hear. There is some unusual sampled speech towards the end, followed by an awful key change. Really, not on. It segues into the next track.
Round and Around begins with some instrumental guitars and bass, followed quickly by intricate and rather image evoking electronic sounds. This is very nice to hear, even if it is a million miles away from the Dark Side Of The Moon. It ends after just over a minute in length.
A New Machine, Pt. 1 is another very short piece of music. It is a song piece with some randomly inserted lyrics, which are multitracked and treated electronically. Good to hear nonetheless, although this is fairly experimental music to listen to. Just under two minutes in length, it is strange but cool to listen to. It ends with the quote: “Nobody lives forever”. Truth.
Terminal Frost begins with some eerie sounds, piano and some shuffle like drums. This is a better listen than what has come before it. It launches into a great instrumental with some delayed guitars and other strange instrumentation, such as saxophone. This does feel a lot like an album by Pink Floyd that was largely put out to make some money at the time. A weird and lengthy tune to hear, this is a deep and odd listening experience, with the guitars and saxophone intertwining with each other. Female gospel vocals are also present in the background. There is a very awesome saxophone solo in the middle of this song, which makes this tune come alive. A very smooth and interesting listen throughout, this is very nice. A good Pink Floyd instrumental, but without being a great one, it is worth it to hear this from time to time. Some sampled speech towards the end is here, followed by more delayed guitars and saxophones everywhere. Gorgeous in its own way. Right near the end, this mellow piece slowly fades out. Good and nice to hear.
A New Machine, Pt. 2 is just over 30 seconds long. It is a waste of time, and unless you are an album fanatic, don’t listen to David Gilmour singing into a vocoder. Really unnecessary.
Sorrow is the final track on the album. It begins with a dark, foreboding synth sound, followed by downturned guitar with loads of whammy bar work to match. If indeed, this is supposed to evoke the emotion of sorrow itself, David Gilmour and company certainly do well here in achieving that. It sounds dark, menacing and freaky. A very melancholy, bad vibe sort of piece, it eventually launches into some crazy sounds, before drums kick in and we are underway here. Pink Floyd sounds a lot like looking back to the days of The Wall here. David Gilmour sings a song that Joy Division could have easily done back in the late 1970s. The lyrics on this song are indeed, very bleak. It’s not the greatest song out there, not even from this album, but it’s enjoyable. A sad and depressing tune, but still quite listenable to this day. In the middle are some interesting harmonies and playing that sound really quite good. Quite an awesome piece of music to enjoy. In the second half is a breakdown with the keyboard, reversed guitars and vocals present, which is really cool to hear. David Gilmour evokes the spirit of Jimi Hendrix here with his chops as well. A very lovely and lively listen from this album, it wraps up a lengthy album with some interesting sounds and guitar work present. It is fairly clear that, without Roger Waters, David Gilmour is the head of Pink Floyd here. The drumming by Nick Mason here is insane as well. A good piece of music that directly makes one full of sorrow. Nice to explore some sonic territory with Pink Floyd. This is rather lengthy, again, and is nearly nine minutes long. Still, it works well. Good music.
This is a rather long listening experience that is fairly hit-and-miss. Some of the songs, particularly Learning To Fly, do sound amazing. Others do not at all. In addition, this sounds like a bad 1980s David Gilmour solo album, rather than any earlier Pink Floyd albums that we know and love. Should you listen to this long and rather experimental sounding album? Only if you are up for some Pink Floyd that isn’t their best album, or you are a massive fan of the group.
Weird, strange and sometimes wonderful.