DAVID GILMOUR-RATTLE THAT LOCK.
DAVID GILMOUR-RATTLE THAT LOCK.
After a career than spanned forty-seven years, Pink Floyd released their final album, The Endless River. It was the end of an era. Pink Floyd had been a musical institution. For six decades, Pink Floyd had provided the soundtrack to the lives of several generations. However, realistically, The Endless River had to bring the curtain down on Pink Floyd’s career.
Sadly, only two members of the David Gilmour led Pink Floyd were still alive. Drummer Nick Mason and Dave Gilmour were the last men standing.Keyboardist Richard Wright had died in 2008. Despite this, he featured posthumously on The Endless River. It proved a fitting finale to long and illustrious career.
When The Endless River was released in November 2014, it was to commercial success and critical acclaim. Across the world, The Endless River was a huge success and showed that Pink Floyd were just as relevant in 2014, as in 1967. This allowed Pink Floyd to bow out while they were still at the top.
After the dust had settled, the speculation began in what the Nick Mason and David Gilmour would do post Pink Floyd. Soon, the word was out that David Gilmour was planning to release his long-awaited fourth studio album.
Over nine years had passed since David Gilmour had released his last studio album On An Island. It had been released in March 2006. Since then, David Gilmour’s only release was Live In Gdańsk in September 2008. For David Gilmour’s loyal fans, another solo album was long overdue.
Their patience was rewarded when Rattle That Lock was released on Sony Music, on 18th September 2015. David Gilmour had spent much of 2014 and 2015 recording Rattle That Lock.
Rattle That Lock featured ten new songs. This included three instrumentals, 5 A.M., Beauty and And Then. They were penned by David Gilmour. So were Faces of Stone and Dancing Right In Front Of Me. A Boat Lies Waiting, In Any Tongue, The Girl in the Yellow Dress and Today were written by David and his partner Polly Sampson. They also cowrote Rattle That Lock with Michaël Boumendil. These ten tracks would become David Gilmour’s fourth studio album Rattle That Lock. It was recording at four studios.
Most of the recording of Rattle That Lock took place at David’s Medina Studio, in Hove. Other parts were recorded at Astoria Studio in Middlesex, Abbey Road Studios and the orchestral parts were recorded at AIR Studios in London. Zbigniew Preisner took charge of the orchestration. He was just part of a huge cast that accompanyied David Gilmour.
This included some big names. One of them was coproducer Phil Manzanera. He had previously co-produced On An Island and Live In Gdańsk. This time around, he played Hammond organ, keyboards and acoustic guitar. Phil was just one of over thirty musicians and backing vocalists played a part in the making of Rattle That Lock. Some played on just one tracks. Others played on several tracks.
That’s why rhythm section included several drummers, bassists and guitarists. Drummers including Martin France, Andy Newark and Steve DiStanislao who added percussion. Bassists included Guy Pratt and Yaron Stavi also played standup bass. So did Chris Laurence. Guitarists included Rado Klose and John Parricelli. This was just part of cast that featured on Rattle That Lock.
Joining the rhythm section were pianists Roger Eno, Gabriel Gilmour and Jools Holland. Jon Carin and Mike Rowe both played electric piano. Robert Wyatt played cornet on The Girl In The Yellow Dress. Saxophonist Colin Stetson joined percussionist Danny Cummings was joined by Eira Owen on French horn. A poignant inclusion was a sample of Rick Wright’s voice. The late Pink Floyd keyboardist. Augmenting the musicians were backing singers.
Backing vocalists included two members of Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young. David Crosby and Graham Nash joined some less well known names. Among them were Mica Paris, The Liberty Choir and Louise Marshall. They were joined by David Gilmour’s partner Polly Samson. Together, they accompanied David, who played guitars, bass, bass harmonica, electronic harmonica, Hammond organ, keyboards, piano and added vocals. He also co-produced Rattle That Lock with Phil Manzanera. It was scheduled for release on 18th September 2015. Before that, the title-track was released as a single.
On 17th July 2015, Rattle That Lock was released as a single. Although it was well received, especially by DJs, the only place that Rattle That Lock charted was in France. Even then, it stalled at number seventy-one. Two months later, on 4th September 2015, Today was released as a single. Just like Rattle That Lock, it wasn’t a commercial success, failing to chart anywhere. To make matters worse, the critics were about to have their say on Rattle That Lock.
When Rattle That Lock was released, critics didn’t go overboard about the album. Some hailed Rattle That Lock David Gilmour’s finest album to date. Others disagreed. Some went further, and seemed to take an instant dislike to the album. That was ironic.
Previously, David had patiently had done the rounds of the music press. Having granted them interviews, he patiently and politely answered the same question time after time. They proceeded to stab him in the back. Suddenly, it 44BC and David was Julius Caesar. The cynics in the press were Gaius Cassius Longinus and Marcus Junius Brutus. However, these mixed reviews didn’t affect sales.
After being on sale for less than a month, Rattle That Lock has been in top ten in twenty-four countries. In America, Rattle That Lock reached number five in the US Billboard 200 charts. Meanwhile, Rattle That Lock reached number one in Britain. It was a similar story in Belgium, the Czech Republic, France, Italy, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Scotland, Spain and Sweden. That wasn’t the end of the commercial success. Rattle That Lock was certified silver in Britain and gold in Italy. David Gilmour’s fourth studio album Rattle That Lock, had been a resounding success. No wonder.
Opening Rattle That Lock is the instrumental 5.A.M. The sound of the day dawning opens the track. Birds cheep, as a wash of strings combine with a bass. David’s crystalline guitar shimmers and chimes. All his years of experience shine through, and a beautiful track unfolds. Stabs of keyboards, a glistening cymbal and guitar join the washes of strings. However, it’s David’s guitar playing that’s at the heart of the song’s sound and success.
Rattle That Lock was chosen as the lead single from the album. No wonder. It has a contemporary sound, and should’ve been a much bigger success than it was. Especially given it’s long on hooks. Synths usher in the rhythm section. A funky bass and chiming guitar are joined by David’s lived-in heartfelt vocal. He reassures, trying to tell her things can be the way they were. Harmonies accompany David. They’re almost reassuring. They remain when the vocal drops out. Then it’s time for David to unleash another of his searing guitar solo. When his vocal returns, it’s needy and hopeful. It’s as if David has experience what he’s singing about. Maybe that’s why it’s such an irresistible, hook-laden and radio-friendly song?
The piano on Faces Of Stone is almost reminiscent of Brian Eno’s seventies ambient music. It’s accompanied by subtle swathes of synths, and then a guitar. It accompanies David’s rueful vocal, as memories come flooding back. An accordion is played by Damon Iddins who also adds a calliope keyboard. By then, the arrangement is perfect foil David’s vocal. Then David lays down a searing guitar solo so far. It’s replaced by strings, before David’s vocal brings back memories of classic Pink Floyd. Later, the arrangement has a French sound. Maybe the meeting David is singing took place late one night in Paris, by the Seine, and he wants to replicate this?
Just like the previous track, A Boat Lies Waiting is reminiscent of the piano on Brian Eno’s seventies ambient albums. This time, it’s not surpassing. The pianist is Roger Eno, Brian’s brother. His moody, ambient piano paints a cinematic sound. It’s joined by a weeping guitar. Then the understated sound is gone. As the piano injects an element of drama, percussion and sound effects join the guitar. Still, there’s a cinematic sound. David’s vocal doesn’t enter until 2.20. Its rueful and tinged with regret and loneliness. Backing vocals, piano and weeping guitar accompany him. Together, they create a lament for love lost.
Jaunty keyboards open Dancing Right In Front of Me. They’re played confidently, while a subtle guitar chimes and reverberates. Then a bold, blistering guitar ushers in David’s vocal. It’s full of emotion, sadness and despair. He can’t believe what’s happened to his relations. There’s still hope though: “I’m stuck here waiting for the stars to align.” When David’s vocal drops out, the guitar blistering cuts through the arrangement. Then when David’s vocal returns, cooing harmonies continue to accompany. They then take centre-stage. So do a guitar, jazz-tinged piano and standup bass on this six minute soul-baring ballad.
David whistles happily as In Any Tongue opens. Then washes of broody synths and what sounds like an animal growling can be heard. Already, it sounds like a lost Pink Floyd song. That’s definitely the case when the rhythm section, piano and David’s despairing vocal enters. “What has he done, God help my son,” a maudlin David sings. This sounds like a reference to the arrest, and subsequent imprisonment of David’s son in 2011. Emotion seems to well up, as David wonders where he went wrong? Drama and emotion are present in equal measures. A piano adds a pensive, moody sound. So do the strings, as David lays bare his hurt and soul for all to see on this confessional.
After baring his soul on In Any Tongue, it’s as if David needs emotional respite. Beauty is an instrumental. A jagged detuned electronic harmonic is joined by washes of moody synths. Pianist Roger Eno returns. He proves the perfect foil for David’s guitar. They converse, and take centre-stage. Later, weeping and scrabbled guitar join swathes of strings. So does a bass and a searing guitar. Elements of ambient, electronica, post rock and rock melt into one, as David Gilmour and his multi-talented band create a majestic musical tapestry.
A standup bass gives The Girl In A Yellow Dress a jazz-tinged sound. Everyone takes their lead from the standup bass. David’s vocal is delivered in a similar jazzy style as he sings: “The Girl In A Yellow Dress says yes.” There’s a sense of sadness and pathos in the lyrics, as he remembers this emotionless encounter. Adding to the sadness and pathos is Robert Wyatt’s cornet. Along with the rest of David’s band, he helps transport the listener to a smokey, jazz club in the late-forties or early-fifties. Meanwhile, a rueful David has dawned the role of storyteller on what’s another cinematic track.
Just a lone droning sound ushers in the choir on Today. They sing tenderly, giving the arrangement a pastoral sound. After fifty-one seconds it’s all change. The rhythm section get funky, while chunky keyboards accompany David’s floaty, dreamy vocal. “Feel that sun on your back, feel the shadows falling.” Soulful harmonies accompany David as he continues to show his versatility. Seamlessly, he switches between styles. Today sees David move towards the dace-floor. Doubtless, someone will remix what’s another joyous, hook-heavy song.
Closing Rattle That Lock is And Then, the third instrumental. A lone drone gives way to David’s crystalline guitar. Behind him, a standup bass and lush strings are playing supporting roles. They frame another of David’s peerless, chiming guitar solos. It brings back memories of classic Pink Floyd albums, where David’s inimitable guitar played a starring role. Here, his guitar adds a melancholy, sometimes reflective hue. Maybe he’s reflecting on what’s been a glorious six decade career with Pink Floyd and as a solo artist, and realises that only Nick Mason and he remian. Sadly, it’s a case of And Then there were two. However, one thing will remain, Pink Floyd and David’s musical legacy.
The latest addition to this rich musical legacy is Rattle That Lock. It’s a worthy addition, and is the best album in David Gilmour’s four album solo solo career. Rattle That Lock took the best part of two years to record. That was time well spent.
Over nearly two years, a huge cast of musicians, backing singers and an orchestra accompanied David Gilmour. He and his co-producer Phil Manzanera crafted a quite beautiful and eclectic album. There’s elements of ambient, classic rock, jazz, pop and post rock on Rattle That Lock. Seamlessly, David switches between genres. He’s just as happy delivering a soul-baring ballad like In Any Tongue as he is delivering the jazz-tinged The Girl In The Yellow Dress. Then there’s a trio of cinematic instrumentals. Each and every one of them paint pictures. However, And Then features a reflective David. It’s as if he’s remembering his fallen comrades from Pink Floyd. And Then proves a poignant way to close Rattle That Lock which was recently released by Sony Music.
Just like many albums, Rattle That Lock is a multi-format release. There’s everything a Standard Edition and a variety of Deluxe Editions. Both Standard and Deluxe Edition are available in CD, LP and digital. There’s something for everyone and for all pockets. That’s fitting.
David’s Gilmour’s fourth studio album, Rattle That Lock, is his first since Pink Floyd’s swan-song, The Endless River. Rattle That Lock is, without doubt, the finest album of David Gilmour’s career, and shows that there’s life after Pink Floyd.
DAVID GILMOUR-RATTLE THAT LOCK.