Pink Floyd represent such an important part of our music history, especially when it comes to Progressive music, that the thought of any new music would make any fan sweat with excitement. But how do you meet the expectation of what that music will be? 20 years since The Division Bell, the band have released “The Endless River”, a collection of re-worked demos and parts from those “Division Bell” sessions, compiled and partially re-recorded by remaining members David Gilmour and Nick Mason. Described by the band as a tribute of sorts to late keyboardist Richard Wright, the large majority of the album is instrumental. Only the final track, “Louder Than Words” has any lyrics and vocals. That is the challenge for anyone that really wants new Pink Floyd music, but has over many decades grown accustomed to their “hits.” You won’t find songs like “Money”, “Time”, Another Brick in the Wall”, “Wish You Were Here” and on. But that does not mean it is not something worth listening to and appreciating.
The album is broken up into segments that make up 4 sides of musical pieces. Musically it plays more like a soundtrack and I think that is what the intention was. Historically, Floyd have always made tracks out of noises and simple string interludes. They build a mood. One slow part builds into a more upbeat part taking you on a journey. You hear bits of “Shine on you crazy Diamond” in tracks like “It’s What We Do”, and “Run Like Hell” in the tracks “Allons-Y 1 & 2.” “Sum” is a heavy rocker that leads into the Nick Mason led “Skin” making for one of the more hectic moments on the album. David Gilmour’s guitar throughout the album is still a joy to listen to and no one will ever make a guitar sound like he does. “Surfacing” is a real highlight where he solos over a chorus of singers in true Pink Floyd style. And of course, there is the obligatory sax solo on “Anisina.”
The closing track and single “Louder Than Words” would fit on any Gilmour solo album and applies an appropriate sentiment, that despite the fact that “we bitch and we fight” , “it’s louder than words, the things that we do” It is a great song by any measure and one Floyd fans will certainly appreciate.
Rather than release another greatest hits in a new order, the band chose to offer something more personal and put it together in a manner that makes it rather enjoyable. There indeed has been some criticism of the release because of its lack of complete songs and vocals. And to some degree, this can be understood. To the more mainstream fan, this album might be a more challenging listen. The more hardcore fan and those of the pre-Dark Side Pink Floyd, will find this easier to digest. But what remains is the Floydness quality that is unmistakable and it only reinforces how great and unique this band was. Any Pink Floyd is better than no Pink Floyd.
Released on Nov 10th, 2014 on Columbia Records
Things Left Unsaid
It’s What We Do
Ebb And Flow
The Lost Art Of Conversation
On Noodle Street
Eyes To Pearls
Louder Than Words