"At 78 years old, he's lost none of his chops and remains in fine voice": David Gilmour's The Piper Calls - the first review

David Gilmour
(Image credit: Sony Music)

Yesterday Pink Floyd guitarist and vocalist David Gilmour announced he will release his fifth solo album  Luck And Strange in September. It's his first album of new material in nine years.

Tomorrow Gilmour will share the video for his brand new single, The Piper Calls, which premiered on BBC Radio Two. The audio is available on streaming platforms now.

The Piper Calls has a curiously low-key start, which may have some listeners fearing Gilmour has remained in the musical path set out by his 2020 Record Store single Yes I Have Ghosts and his family's Von Trapped live lockdown sessions.

But slowly more familiar Giilmour motifs appear. There's his exquisite lapsteel playing that makes itself heard just before the chorus kicks in. And once that first chorus does kick in, slowly everything builds. An almost tribal rhythm courtesy of bassist Guy Pratt and drummer Steve Gadd give way to more and more emphatic guitar sounds. The song also features Romany and Gabriel Gilmour on backing vocals, Rob Gentry on keyboards and synthesizers and Adam Betts on Djembe.

We've already been told by lyricist Polly Samson that the album has been "written from the point of view of being older; mortality is the constant" and  on The Piper Calls this is evident from the lyrics, with lines such as "The promise of eternal youth, The spoils of fame, a carpe diem attitude", while the line "Whatever it takes, Steer clear of the snakes" sticks out. Hmmmm, wonder who that might be referencing?

After a second chorus Gilmour's guitar picks up with an epic, jagged and biting solo that will thrill long-time fans, and show that at 78 years old, he's lost none of his chops and remains in fine voice. Everything gets heavier, louder, more enigmatic... dare I say it, more Floydian, before, as Gilmour's guitars wail away in the most satisfying of manners, and the song reaches its abrupt climax.

Inevitably in this day and age there are questions many fans will want answered from both The Piper Calls and from Luck And Strange, which they won't be hearing until September 6 – that'll be a nice birthday present for Roger! The new single should answer many of those and leave people wanting more.

You can watch a trailer for the new album below, along with the audio for The Piper Calls. Prog will be revealing the new video for The Piper Calls later.

The image features the Amazon-only version of the album cover for Luck And Strange.

Pre-order Luck And Strange.

Jerry Ewing

Writer and broadcaster Jerry Ewing is the Editor of Prog Magazine which he founded for Future Publishing in 2009. He grew up in Sydney and began his writing career in London for Metal Forces magazine in 1989. He has since written for Metal Hammer, Maxim, Vox, Stuff and Bizarre magazines, among others. He created and edited Classic Rock Magazine for Dennis Publishing in 1998 and is the author of a variety of books on both music and sport, including Wonderous Stories; A Journey Through The Landscape Of Progressive Rock.