Friday, March 05, 2010

FDF Volume 2: Issue 175: Pink Floyd - A Momentary Lapse of Reason

By: March

Album - A Momentary Lapse of Reason
Artist - Pink Floyd
Key Players - David Gilmour - guitars, vocals, keyboards and sequencers. Nick Mason - drums. Richard Wright - piano, vocals, kurzwil, hammond organ
Produced By - Bob Ezrin and David Gilmour

Release Date - September 7, 1987

What caused me to blow off the dust? - Okay, it is Pink Floyd and virtually every person I know has a phase or time of the bands career they look to. This was one of the later albums. Waters had been long out of the band but the band (in name) soldered on. Of all the fans of the band I know, not a lot look to this record as being a must have. So, keeping with tradition of a Floyd cd in my collection that doesn't get played much here we go.

Overview - There was a four year lapse between the prior record (The Final Cut) and this release (and then 7 to the next studio album). This record is the bands 11th studio album. David Gilmour was looking to work on a third solo record but changed back towards Pink Floyd. Mason and Wright were brought back in to the band but Wright could not be admitted in to the band for legal reasons, but he still worked with the band heavily in the studio. The bulk of the record was recorded on Gilmour's houseboat an the band was battling with former member Roger Waters over the bands name. This issue would be resolved shortly after the album was released and although receiving mixed reviews the album would go multi platinum.

FDF Comments (aka the songs)
- The album begins with an instrumental called "Signs of Life". The spoken portions come from Nick Mason and the song slowly begins with a rowing boat and tranquil sounds. The keyboards slowly grow and it feels similar to the musical score from "A Clockwork Orange". It doesn't get overly interesting for a bit and Gilmour slowly adds guitar parts close to 3 minutes in to the track. Even though it might not be overly interesting it feels like a proper opener for this record. The big radio single from the record follows in "Learning to Fly". It is reported Gilmour was heavily into airplanes and piloting so the theme is recurrent on the record. It has more of the structure with bass, guitar drums etc with some very strong backing vocals. Gilmour never forces his vocals but they always sound full and refreshing. His gentle delivery resonates more than you'd expect. He flashes a few trademark Statocaster riffs during the song, but the real gem of the track has to be the strong chorus of backing vocalists. There is an instrumental breakdown with some keyboard fill before they come back around for a guitar solo that is very brief and the vocals return. Really, the vocals are pretty flawless on this track, perfect for the mood and setting. "The Dogs of War" starts out very tense with a slow drone of the keyboards and it comes crashing in with big chords as the vocals start. Gilmour is pushing himself vocally but the difference between this and the prior track are very obvious, but it still feels like a Pink Floyd song. The organ gets really pushed in the mix with big church like chords. After 3 minutes or so the drums come in and Gilmour tears through a solo. The strong female backing vocals sing ooh's and ahhs and sing "one" from time to time. John Halliwell has a terrific saxophone solo that blends perfect with the drums. It comes back to the keyboard style intro before the lyrics return. The song fades right in to "One Slip". This takes a bit to get rolling as there is a bounce around of musical instruments and percussive instruments but then it really opens up to a gem of a track. The song has a decent pace to it and the band is locked in. The bass and drums lock in to a decent groove while Gilmour buzzes over the top. Later in the track the keyboards get a very dancy sound reminiscent of Tears for Fears honestly when you listen. The drums are also electric, so they have a certain punch to them as well. One track I always dug is "On the Turning Away". Gilmour sings in a very stripped down setting at times, but as the song grows there gets to me more drums and keyboards, but it keeps a very pretty feel. If you really listen to the opening few lines you'll hear Gilmour taking in breaths, and even on the radio you will hear these. Sorta like once you hear it, you'll always hear it. As the track grows the keyboards and guitars all get more urgent and it gets to be pretty driving before it all mellows out once more. The big booming backing vocals add a terrific layer. One of my favorite tunes from the band that has a great solo for the last portion of the tune. The next tune "Yet Another Movie / Round and Around" (instrumental) is basically in two parts. It takes a bit to find a direction honestly and at about the 2 minute mark the vocals come in. They feel almost "chanted" for some reason. Once it does get rolling it feels sort of "droney" if that is even a word. It doesn't really get going and seems to settle until the guitar solo comes in. Per the norm, its is a decent enough solo and the band allowing it to be the showcase, but it should have come earlier as you'd be sort of bored leading up to it. The solo should have kept it moving along, but it resorts back to the early parts of the song. The later part of the song is the instrumental portion. "A New Machine (Part 1)" has Gilmour singing right from the start but this voice is blended electronically with the keyboard. It has an interesting feel to it and does do something I hadn't heard before but its not a song you rush to "get back to" on the disc. It seqways perfectly in to the instrumental track "Terminal Frost". Keyboard samples allow some piano fills and flashing of guitar to rise over from the start. The saxophone returns as well and becomes a big part of the song with a terrific solo in the middle section of the tune. Even the acoustic guitar is a focused instrument in the song as it begins to fade out. "A New Machine (Part 2)" is just a 38 second version of part 1. The album wraps up with "Sorrow". With a title like that you'd not expect the intro. A heavy single guitar going through the paces of big chords and pedal manipulation. The payoff is great though a perfect guitar solo really closes out the album on a high note. Lyrically its is the same, but the guitar gets a good long solo and its "air guitar worthy" for sure.

Where are they now? - I am not even sure the band is really sure. A lot of years of disagreement and fighting have caused issues. At one point one guy is interested in getting back together while the others are not. The closest in 25 years game at "Live 8" in 2005 when Waters, Gilmour, Wright and Mason performed live. Waters was gung ho about moving forward, Gilmour not so much. In September of 2008 Richard Wright passed away from cancer. Gilmour continues to write and perform as a solo artist and Nick Mason is an avid auto enthusiast and author.

FDF Personal Comments (aka the Live experience) - I have seen the band one time and that was May 19, 1994 at the old Foxboro Stadium. It was one of the more elaborate stage set ups I had ever seen. The evening was overly foggy and when the lasers shot to the sky it provided a very cool visual.

FDF Overall Take - There are books written about this band and I am not sure a lowly blog this could really add anything that has never been said or written about.

Official page is here and a very good fan site (one of many) here.


At 9:18 AM, Blogger Jenny G said...

Ohhh!! An album I own :)


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