It makes for a frustrating listen because buried behind the long intros and unnecessary sound effects is the foundation of what could be a good record.
"On The Turning Away" isn't a bad song, it's just a song that's trying a bit too hard. Imagine how great the first two minutes could have been if they had stripped away everything and just let Gilmour and his guitar breathe. The added synths and drums take a song that feels emotional and makes it corny. The song does recover nicely because Gilmour is a very good guitarist at the end of the day.
The standout track on the album is "One Slip." It also happens to be the only track where everything seems to come together for the band. The long intro is actually pretty interesting (although still unnecessary) but it does lead in to the first part of the song instead of feeling completely divorced from it. The song is almost funky and it's full of energy energy that is lacking from most of the record.
I can't help but think that if the band had just spent a few more months refining the songs this could have been something great. A track like "Sorrow" has potential, but the version on the album is four minutes too long and not particularly memorable.
If this was Pitchfork I'd give the record a solid 5.0. I can't forgive awful tracks like "The Dogs of War" and both parts of "The New Machine" but I can acknowledge that the record was a lot better than I was expecting. It even made me appreciate "Learning To Fly", although I don't seeing it popping up on my next air travel mixtape any time soon.
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