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Home arrow Reviews arrow Albums arrow David Gilmour: Rattle That Lock - Heavyweight Vinyl LP review
David Gilmour: Rattle That Lock - Heavyweight Vinyl LP review Print E-mail
Written by Paul Powell Jr   
Thursday, 08 October 2015

David Gilmour: Rattle That Lock - heavyweight vinyl LP coverReleased simultaneously in a variety of digital formats, Rattle That Lock is David Gilmour's fourth solo album. Of particular interest in the releases is the Deluxe Blu-ray/CD box set, chocked full of extra goodies and featuring phenomenal sound quality on the Blu-ray, particular when playing the Dolby DTS Master Audio soundtrack. Rattle That Lock is also available as a heavyweight vinyl LP, pressed and packaged by Columbia Records. If spinning vinyl is your preferred method of musical enjoyment, we have assembled this album review just for you.

Right out of the gate, let's take a look at the shrink-wrapped LP. My copy had two promotional stickers, one triangular with 'Pink Floyd' in large type and a second circular one with album details. It has been suggested that some of you save all of your album stickers… I just save the Pink Floyd ones, so let's quickly move along here. Rattle That Lock is pressed on a single heavyweight vinyl LP. The album's total time clocks in at 51 minutes, with an average playing duration of 25 minutes per side. I wondered if the sound quality of Rattle That Lock would be compromised, but I didn't anticipate this being a problem.

One of the great things about the vinyl LP cover is the scale and depth of the artwork. The front cover of Rattle That Lock has some very original and striking graphic artwork imbued with rich deep colors protected by a matt finish. The back cover has a rather fetching black and white photo of David holding his trusty black Stratocaster. Inside the sturdy gatefold are two pictures of lightning with muted blue shading in the clouds. The right side of the jacket houses the LP record in a picture sleeve and in the left side you will find a very nice 16 page book. It is a well presented book with lyrics and pictures of the recording sessions and details of the musicians used on each song. The remainder of the last page is filled with the design, production, mixing, engineering and mastering credits. But curiously, no pressing plant information is given. Floating free inside the album jacket is a card for a digital download of the album.

David Gilmour: Rattle That Lock - heavyweight vinyl LP coverRight from the very first few grooves, I could tell the Columbia issue of Rattle That Lock was an outstanding pressing with a very low noise floor. I noticed only inconsequential ticks that did not deter from my listening pleasure. The morning chorus of nature greets 5AM as musical notes resolve to transport the listener to another time and place. Throughout his 50 year musical career, David's impeccable ear for the perception of sound has taken listeners on amazing musical journeys. That meticulous ear for found sound opens the title track, Rattle That Lock, with a four note jingle taken form French railway stations. It is a rousing well-produced pop song with David singing at the upper limit of his vocal range. For the chorus of the song, David recorded the members of the Liberty Choir at the Church of the Holy Spirit in London. The resonance and warmth of these voices singing in harmony sounds incredible on vinyl, as does the exquisite orchestration provided by Zbigniew Preisner. It is not his first time with David, as his orchestral work also graces the Live At Gdansk album. I think both scores perfectly compliment David's compositional style.

It is a given fact that CDs have the capacity to be more dynamic than their vinyl counterpoints. I agree, but the sound quality of the venerable vinyl LP has so much to offer in its natural presentation of music. In my listening space there is a door on the left side of the room that will vibrate audibly if the bass energy is sufficient. On Rattle That Lock, I noticed that both the CD and the vinyl make the door not only vibrate, but give off an audible buzz behind me. Songs that repeatedly do this are In Any Tongue and Today. While the experience is certainly not a scientific measurement, it does mean if your vinyl playback rig is up to the task, you will be amazed how fantastic the bass energy is on this album.

A rich palate of unplugged sounds are also present on Rattle That Lock; piano, sax, cornet, French horn, percussion, acoustic guitar, double bass and a 30 piece orchestra. This combined with the conventional plugged-in instruments, makes David's latest album his most sonically diverse to date. The rolling piano in the beginning of the song was played and captured by David 18 years ago on a minidisc recorder, before transitioning into the second half with piano played by Roger Eno. As with On An Island, David Crosby and Graham Nash appear, adding their otherworldly harmony vocals to A Boat Lies Waiting. David's friendship with Crosby and Nash goes back a ways, especially Graham Nash who was originally in The Hollies, years before Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. A Boat Lies Waiting is clearly the emotional centerpiece of the album, and reflects Rick's love for sailing around the world on his yacht.

David Gilmour: Rattle That Lock - heavyweight vinyl LP label
David Gilmour: Rattle That Lock - heavyweight vinyl LP label

There's an undercurrent of melancholy hanging over Rattle That Lock. The album chronicles the deep thoughts of a wise man over the course of a normal day. Right from the start, we knew this was not going to be an Ed Sheeran album! As Rattle That Lock reaches the middle of side two, the ruminative mood purposely lightens. The lyrics on Rattle That Lock are informed by real life experiences, every word is carefully weighed and every syllable lovingly sang. Both David and Polly wrote the lyrics for Rattle That Lock; David two and Polly five. Many serious adult concerns inform Polly's lyrics; mortality faced in A Boat Lies Waiting, injustice fought in Rattle That Lock and the desensitizing of mankind brought on by the modern warfare of In Any Tongue. The flirtatious jazz of The Girl In The Yellow Dress paints a happier picture, while the funk gyrations of Today craft a more hopeful optimism. I really like the seize-the-moment urgency of Today and that is exactly the message implied. The album finishes with the soaring and beautiful instrumental And Then…. What a wonderful way to exit the album as the grooves spiral out.

David's guitar playing; as expected, is expressive and melodic, with every note and space carefully considered. With whatever guitar he is playing, David conjures a tonality and vibrato more expressive than any human voice, so completely synchronized with himself that his instrument and body have become one harmonious entity. While on the subject of guitars; if I could find just one aspect in the credits to wish for, it would be to include more detail on the instruments used by all musicians. Specifically what make and model guitar David is playing on each track. We obviously know the sound of his Fender Stratocaster, but David is also pictured using two different Gretsch electric guitars and a Taylor acoustic in the book. I might be a gear-head, but I find all of this very interesting, as would any guitarist.

Earlier in this review, I questioned if the sound quality could be compromised with so much music cut into each record side. Well, I am happy to report that concern is a non-issue and thus we'll relegate that nugget of information to the invisible footnotes below! Leading up to this review, I had been playing hours of classic and progressive rock vinyl from a variety of record labels. The pressings span the gamut from machine-cleaned vintage records to the newer heavyweight pressings. One of those records was the first vinyl pressing of On An Island on the EMI label (EMI - 09463556913). A wonderful pressing but really hard to find now. Good news, there now appears to be a new limited 180 gram pressing of On An Island scheduled for release 9 October 2015 on the Parlophone label, also (09463556913). See our separate news item about this. Rattle That Lock compares favorably with On An Island and really any other quality record, in both sound and vinyl pressing quality. I would say Rattle That Lock favors a warmer presentation that reveals more and more detail with every listen. The enjoyment of returning to the album repeatedly to listen greatly enhanced writing this review. So without reservation, I highly recommend the Columbia Records pressing of Rattle That Lock to any Pink Floyd fan with a properly working turntable!

Rattle That Lock is an album of great integrity and musical diversity. As I played the album over the last two weeks it became more apparent how comfortable David is with his chosen musicians and collaborators. At this point in his life, it is obvious he can do whatever he desires without any need for commercial success. Yet judging from the ascendance of the album in the charts and the run of sold-out concerts, David is still at the top of his game. That kind of musical freedom is sacrosanct, and his desire to express the music within is limitless. Let's hope David's next solo album happens much quicker, as I am really intrigued to see where this artistic journey will take him. All of David Gilmour's solo albums are recommended listening. I consider Rattle That Lock to be his strongest solo work to date. Spin On.

Label - Columbia 88875123291
Barcode - 8 88751 23291 4
Matrix / Runout:
Side A: 24463-1(3) AL 8875123291
Side B: 24463-2(3) BL 8875123291
'BG' is also initialed on both sides

You can place your order now for this essential vinyl release, through the following links:

GATEFOLD VINYL EDITION:  Amazon UK  Canada  Germany  France  Italy  Spain 
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