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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Rick Wright

Broken China

Review by Gary Hill

For Pink Floyd afficianados, this disc is a must have. Wright`s writing style, in the moody sort of Floyd mode, makes it quite obvious what band he is from. For casual fans, however, there is a certain sameness to much of the album. However, the Far From the Harbour Wall/Drowning/Reaching for the Rail cycle makes the album worth having. If one doesn`t like Pink Floyd at all, be advised to stay away. If by some chance, there is someone who has not heard the Floyd, there are better starting points.

Wright is joined on the album by Anthony Moore, Manu Katche, Pino Palladino, Sinead O `Connor, Tim Renwick, Dominic Miller, Steve Bolton, Sian Bell, Kate St. John, and Maz Palladino. This album has a definite dark and imposing beauty to it.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: The Early Years Volume 2 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Breaking Water
A quiet and haunting instrumental piece the mode is similar to the brief mood pieces of which Floyd is fond of using between "songs". Technically, there are voices, but they are unintelligible. A build up jumps the song straight into the next track.
Night of a Thousand Furry Toys
Picture the best of modern Pink Floyd. Now take away Gilmour`s guitar work and add a techno based percussion. As the song moves forward, the percussion track becomes more organic, and, actually, the guitar work used later in the piece is rather Gilmourish.
Hidden Fear
Sounding quite a bit like movie soundtrack music with vocals layered atop, this is a very moody piece.
Runaway
Based on more textured Floydian soundplay, this instrumental moves around a lot. The song features sections of heavy machinery and a very busy drum arrangement. The piece wanders across and intriguing musical landscape.
Unfair Ground/Satellite
This instrumental combines Floydian modes, a music box, carnival music, screams (a rollercoaster?) and more to produce a disturbing soundscape.
Interlude
A strong and funky bass line jumps us into this journey. The piece has a lot of soul in a strong R & B groove. An instrumental, the song also shows moments of heavier, guitar driven Pink of recent years.
Woman of Custom
Starting off in that textural mode with overlaced vocals that Pink Floyd likes to use, the music begins building slowly. This number could certainly have been done by the Floyd. The final textures might have been a bit different if it had, but all-in-all, the song would be fairly unchanged.
Black Cloud
Some wonderfully pretty piano work carries this all too brief instrumental.
Far From the Harbour Wall
This song seems to be the first of three songs that link together to be my favorite portion of this disc. More moody textures signal the onset of this number. After a time, the textural approach gives way to a more traditional song structure. Still very Floydish, this song is addictive. Containing one of the most interestingly disonant instrumental breaks you will ever hear, the song seems to use drowning at night "far from the harbour wall" as a metaphor for depression.
Drowning
More beautifully dark tones make up this instrumental that seems to tie the two surrounding tracks together.
Reaching For the Rail
This one musically climbs up dramatically out of Drowning. Sinead O`Connor puts in a chillingly emotional performance as the woman trying in vain to pull herself out of the depression in which she is drowning. The number is quite emotional, and even includes an aural snapshot of a honky tonk bar.
Blue Room In Venice
Blue Room in Venice is another moody textural piece.
Sweet July
This is a Floydish piece and features a very tasteful guitar solo.
Along the Shoreline
Hard rocking, and a bit along the lines of the Animals album, this is a strong track featuring interesting guitar work.
Breakthrough
Another pretty song, this one feels more hopeful than the rest of the album.
 
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