In the ongoing Floyd Wars I’ve always tended to side with the David Gilmour camp. I have little patience for Syd Barrett’s wafty hippy psychedelia and I felt that Roger Water’s work was thematically strong but musically boring. That said, I’ve never been hugely impressed by Gilmour’s solo work. I know that’s unfair since by comparing 1970s Floyd with 2015’s Gilmour I’m looking at the same person at opposite ends of his lifetime; however it’s difficult not to look for commonalities and comparisons. The overall theme of the album centres around death and getting older, which makes sense given that Gilmour is no longer a young man.
The strongest connection between old and new David Gimour is undoubtedly the sound of his guitar. It’s so distinctive, I think I’d be able to recognise his playing from a three second snippet. One of his strengths has always been that he’s known what not to play – the space in his music is often its greatest asset. On his new album though I feel that it’s overdone. The listener drifts away on all those familiar sounds and song structures into a general feeling of Gimour-esque warmth, without actually noticing much of what’s happening. The lyrics (written by Gilmour’s wife and collaborator) jar occasionally – it seems to me that the ethereal nature of much of the music is brought down by workmanlike lyrical content.
There are a few memorable moments – the title track is strangely mesmerising and there are a few guitar solos which grab the ear. But overall I found Rattle That Lock to be pleasant and comfortable, if not gripping.