I must say that I prefer the relaxed, personal tone of On an Island to the last few Pink Floyd albums: freed of the compulsion to impose any grander thematic concept than a blissful holiday reverie, David Gilmour offers some of his most expansive, satisfying guitar work here, with ecstatic, soaring solos on "The Blue" and "Then I Close My Eyes", and nerve-tingling breaks in the style of the Norwegian jazz-rocker Terje Rypdal on "Pocketful of Stone" and "Castellorizon", pieces that crystallise from Eno-esque ambience and fragmented sound-collage respectively. There's a sense of pastoral epiphany about the album, with Gilmour lying on the beach, staring at the heavens and contemplating his own state of grace before strolling home in the twilight. While parts of the album, as you'd expect, resemble the Floyd - especially those on which Rick Wright adds organ or vocals - Gilmour feels free to indulge more diverse modes on such tracks as the bluesy "This Heaven" and instrumentally eclectic "Then I Close My Eyes". A graceful, contemplative album that seeks to satisfy rather than to make demands upon the listener.
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