David Gilmour: S/T (1978)

Most Pink Floyd solo albums largely serve to confirm that, as much as the band was at loggerheads (particularly in the latter years), they really needed each other to produce great music.  Roger Waters needed David Gilmour to add some melody and lightness to his otherwise relentlessly dark and didactic and often tuneless music; Gilmour needed Waters to provide some lyrical bite and musical edge to what could be bland affairs.  And don't get me started on Nick Mason and Rick Wright's solo efforts.

Still, David Gilmour's first solo album is the one I probably enjoy most; yes, it's a bit bland, but does have a few highlights that at least warrant its inclusion in the broader Floyd discography (and, having been recorded shortly after Animals, has a few tunes that sound a bit like Animals leftovers).  And while Waters' solo work is clearly more impactful on a lyrical level, this one has the benefit of Gilmour's reliably solid bluesy guitar work.

It actually starts off fairly strong.  Opening instrumental "Mihalis" is quite nice, a mellow but melodic tune with some terrific guitar solos.  It's followed by the album's stand-out track, "There's No Way Out Of Here," perhaps his finest solo moment, a really catchy tune with a killer hook and a penetrating harmonica/guitar that sends a few chills and is as worthy of the classic rock canon as anything else from the late '70s.  (Perhaps not surprisingly, it's not an original, but rather a song by relatively unknown band Unicorn, whose album Gilmour produced.) (BTW, Unicorn are worth checking out, middle-of-the-road '70s rock that blends British folk, prog and pop, and is surprisingly good, if a bit on the yacht rock side of things.) 

Things are a bit more erratic after that.  "Cry From The Street" is a beefy blues rocker that sounds a lot more Bad Company than Floyd; it's noteworthy mainly for the riveting coda reprising the same riff used to close out Animals' "Sheep"; "So Far Away" is a pretty ballad; "No Way" is a haunting track that could almost pass for an Animals outtake (musically), though again there are shades of Bad Company's stiff hard rock; "Short and Sweet" is a solid mid-tempo rocker, with some cool reverb-drenched guitars that presage the sound of The Wall (particularly "Run Like Hell"); "Deafinitely" is a rocking instrumental that is mostly a continuation of "Sheep" with some interesting moog-like jams (just as "Raise My Rent" sounds a bit like a solo re-do of "Dogs").

Obviously, "No Way Out Of Here" aside, this isn't in the same league as the Dark Side/Wish You Were Here/Animals/Wall run, but it's probably the closest any individual member gets to an "essential" solo album for Floyd fans (aside from the two flawed but fascinating Syd Barrett albums).

I don't know if he ever toured behind this, but Gilmour did a few live promo videos for the album.  Here's "There's No Way Out Of Here":
...and "No Way":
...and "So Far Away":