Review: The Endless River, Pink Floyd

The_Endless_River

The Endless River is the first, and likely to be the last, album released by Pink Floyd since The Division Bell in 1994, That’s 20 years! It is, however, not entirely new material.

The band’s keyboardist, Richard Wright, passed away in 2008. He was a founding member of Pink Floyd, who released their first album The Piper at the Gates of Dawn in 1967, he was fired from the band by bassist, Roger Waters, in 1979. Waters left the band in 1985 and the remaining original members, Nick Mason and David Gilmore, asked Wright to return after which they recorded two more albums.

The songs on The Endless River are  based on a raft of unreleased material from the recording sessions for The Division Bell. The resulting album is split into 4 ‘sides’ (only really applying to the vinyl release), each of which is about 14 minutes long and are almost entirely instrumental. There are backing vocals on some of the tracks that blend with the instruments and a sample of Stephen Hawking on the track ‘Talkin’ Hawkin’‘. the only song on the album with lyrics is the final track, ‘Louder Than Words‘ which were written by Gilmore’s wife, Polly Samson.

This ambient style is not a huge departure for a Pink Floyd album as they are well-known for having long instrumental sections in even their most popular songs. In fact, the absence of lyrics takes nothing away from the album at all. As with all Pink Floyd albums, The Endless River is probably best enjoyed from start to finish while doing nothing else but listening, immersing yourself in the sonic landscapes that this band is renowned for creating with their masterful playing and production.

Pink Floyd have never been a ‘pop’ band and there are no traces of pop music on The Endless River. No hooks, riffs or catchy vocal melodies. One could argue that because these tracks are not really new that this is little more than a glorified B-Sides album. But, there’s no getting past the fact that these guys can play, and if you’re a fan of well made, well produced music, this is a gem. Possibly one of the Floyd completionists, but still well worth a listen to for anyone who appreciates this kind of music.

This is a great swan song for a legendary band and a wonderful tribute to Richard Wright. It really does highlight the influence his keyboard playing had on the band’s song writing, connecting each track together in one continuing, undulating piece of sublime music.

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