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David Gilmour

ON AN ISLAND • David Gilmour

Forget Madonna, U2, and Coldplay. The best part of last summer's Live 8 show was the four-song set by Pink Floyd. Roger Waters and David Gilmour buried their twenty-year hatchet, and with original cohorts Nick Mason and Rick Wright, picked up the prog-rock torch they'd laid aside when Waters quit the band after The Wall. As when any legendary group reforms, the potential for embarrassment was ripe. But--to use a verb that was a big part of my vocabulary in the late '70s--Pink Floyd RULED.

While it didn't lead to a full-blown reunion, there is some heartening news. David Gilmour has made what is essentially a surrogate Pink Floyd album.

Drift on the dreamy minor-key clouds of the title track, "The Blue," and "Where We Start." Thrill to those seagull screaming lead guitar breaks on  "Take A Breath" and "This Heaven." Contemplate couplets like "Still marooned, silence drifting through / Nowhere to choose just blue…" It all whisks you back to the days of Technics turntables and black light posters, touching the nostalgia buttons in the most pleasing way (that is, if you're a Floyd fan). True, the album may get overwrought in places (the six-minute instrumental "Then I Close My Eyes" meanders), but this is the return of a flavorful brand of rock music that no other group has ever been able to duplicate or provide.

For all the grandeur of this album, the best song is the most stripped down. "Smile" has an almost early-McCartney lilt to its waltz-time melody and acoustic fingerpicking. Just lovely.

Pink Floyd may never reunite again. But David Gilmour is keeping more than a few facets of the crazy diamond shining bright. • Bill DeMain

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davidgilmour.com        columbiarecords.com

devotedtodavidgilmour.co.uk       pinkfloyd.co.uk

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