The Endless River (2014)


 
1. Things Left Unsaid 2. It's What We Do 3. Ebb and Flow 4. Sum 5. Skins 6. Unsung 7. Anisina 8. The Lost Art of Conversation 9. On Noodle Street 10. Night Light 11. Allons-y (1) 12. Autumn '68 13. Allons-y (2) 14. Talkin' Hawkin' 15. Calling 16. Eyes to Pearls 17. Surfacing 18. Louder Than Words 19. TBS9 * 20. TBS14 * 21. Nervana * * on deluxe edition

 

If you can find anything positive to say about the music business in the last few years, you could say that there are never any surprises. Anytime a new album by a well-known artist is about to be released, you can find out just about anything and everything on the internet well before the record can be officially heard. For the latest (and probably last) Pink Floyd album, this was a good thing indeed since it was revealed that this record was not, by any means, a typical Pink Floyd record.

Of course, most people thought Pink Floyd was virtually dead anyway. They hadn’t put out a studio album in two decades, and although they did a one-off show reunion with ex-member Roger Waters, Waters made it very clear (in his typical grouchy way) that he had absolutely no intention of joining the band again. Then, keyboardist Rick Wright was lost to us due to cancer.

So front man David Gilmour made it very clear that this record was basically a set of leftover odds and ends from when the three remaining members made The Division Bell back in 1995 while Wright was still alive. This record was mostly instrumental tracks, with Gilmour and drummer Nick Mason filling in some gaps and creating some new sounds around what Wright had already recorded. In other words, this was definitely not going to rival anything like The Wall.

Dreamy, instrumental passages have always been a part of the Pink Floyd sound, whether they’re stand along pieces, or passages as part of some album side-long epic. So what you hear on this record really isn’t anything shocking. Although not shocking, I would add that what is here is, in fact surprising. I only say that because they seem to be paying homage, in some respects, to their entire career. I don’t know if this is intentional or not, but I was expecting a bunch of new-agey keyboard passages accompanied by the occasional David Gilmour-esque guitar solo.

Granted, there’s plenty of that here, but some of these tracks almost sound like they belong on such classic albums as The Wall, Dark Side of the Moon, Ummagumma, and even A Saucer Full Of Secrets. There are only a couple of times where the listener may wince and wish they would have done things slightly different – such as one song Talkin Hawkin that basically lifts the exact same speech that they included from The Division Bell, or when they actually do include a song featuring lyrics and singing (Louder Than Words), it comes across as too much of a shock and tends to jerk one out of their comfortable soothing reverie.

I really have no idea what material that David Gilmour and Nick Mason had when they began this project, but whatever scraps they had, they ended up making a very nice, pensive way to say goodbye. The Pink Floyd river, fortunately, will always be endless.

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