Album Review: David Gilmour – Rattle That Lock

A couple weeks ago, the legendary David Gilmour released his latest album “Rattle That Lock.” You might be wondering why I’m mentioning it now instead of when it was first released. To be honest, I wasn’t overly excited about this release. For being arguably one of the greatest guitarists ever, I have a hard time appreciating much of his solo material. I think of his discography, the only one that I have even played more than a handful of times was “On An Island.” Something about his solo material doesn’t enliven me like his work on Pink Floyd, including his most recent “Rattle That Lock.”

Photo by MJ Kim/Getty Images

It took several listens for me before I started to form an opinion of “Rattle That Lock.” First of all, as masterfully as each song is played by Gilmour and company, I was craving a more thorough connection between each song, with one leading into the next. Second, I felt this album was much slower than its predecessors, heavily influenced instead by jazz arrangements than anything else. This is evidenced by songs like “The Girl In The Yellow Dress” and “A Boat Lies Waiting,” even utilizing common instruments like a standup bass and piano. At least “On An Island” had more memorable moments of rock music influences, urging his audience to stand up and clap. “Rattle That Lock,” on the other hand, is a much more intimate album, setting more of a scene in a lounge than anywhere else. I do not feel the urge to “rock out” with this album, but feel I should take my seat. Finally, the title track “Rattle That Lock” is by far the worst song on the album. Having that song released as its single months ago made me feel even less excited for the release, tricking me to believe the whole album would sound like that song.

Have I angered enough diehard fans yet? Well, put your pitchforks away, because overall I still enjoyed this album! It just took me a little longer than I was anticipated, which I feel will be the same sentiments of most people who listen to this album. Gilmour yet again proves he is the master, adding another album full of clean doodling to his repertoire. There are enough sections and instruments spread throughout the album that the listener is able to pick out something new with every listen. Whether it’s a subtle piano or guitar fill, “Rattle That Lock” will reveal many different arrangements and techniques as you listen more and more. The overall tone of the album is reminiscent, as if recalling his entire life in the span of fifty minutes. With the help of his wife and poet Polly Samson, much of the album acts as glimpse into the life of David Gilmour. With the melancholic soundscape and monologue of “A Boat Lie Waiting,” to the fire crackling at the album’s closing moments, you cannot help but feel we have been sitting in on a fireplace discussion of the man’s life. That sentimental delivery makes “Rattle That Lock” a unique experience.

(On a side note, that instrumental outro to “And Then…”? Who here could listen to an album of David Gilmour simply dabbling on the guitar for fifty straight minutes? I sure can. How beautiful.)

There are two great songs on this album: “Dancing Right In Front Of Me” and “Today.” The lighter intro to “Dancing Right In Front Of Me” toys with the listener, but is broken up by the deep rhythm guitar in the song’s chorus. There’s even an amusing piano pattering in the bridge section. In fact, this song particularly reminds me of Steve Hackett’s “Wolflight” in its approach, and is probably the reason I enjoyed this song so much. The song “Today” is the closest thing to a Pink Floyd sound since… well, Pink Floyd. With a choral introduction, the album quickly shifts to an “A Momentary Lapse Of Reason” sounding, very 80’s synthesizer-backed arrangement with plenty of female backing vocals. I think for that reason alone I really enjoyed this song. If you want to trick your kids into thinking they were listening to Pink Floyd, I’d definitely play this song.

david gilmour
Photo by David Gilmour

After enough listens to merit a critique, I had one concluding thought when listening to “Rattle That Lock”: I wish Pink Floyd was still a band. David Gilmour provides some good tunes to listen to with this album, being his first release in almost a decade. Unfortunately, it still lacks that “oomph” that made him a star. Just as when I listen to a Roger Waters’ solo album, I cannot help but feel that although they are both very talented musicians, they both made each other even better when together. So as I hope David Gilmour wasn’t lying when he said Pink Floyd are officially over, I will have to listen to the numerous almost-masterpieces of post-Pink Floyd musicians. You can support David Gilmour by checking out his website, and by following him on Facebook for band updates. He will be touring select cities in North America in the next couple months, so you may have to drive a mile or two (hundred) to see him live