Serving mostly as homage to the late Richard Wright, Pink Floyd’s The Endless River incorporates a portion of its source material from sessions for 1994’s The Division Bell. Indeed, some of the songs on this album were originally intended for an ambient companion piece to that record — The Big Spliff — which the band ultimately chose not to release. Luckily for die-hard Floyd fans, David Gilmour reached the conclusion that the Spliff recordings should be cannibalized for a new — and perhaps final — Pink Floyd project. To that end, Nick Mason was recruited to add percussion and overdubs, and Wright’s old organ, piano, and synthesizers were repurposed for the new album, which also features contributions from Roxy Music’s Phil Manzanera. The record is crowned, of course, by Gilmour’s virtuosic guitar playing. Reinforcing the impression that there is no love lost between ex-bandmates, Roger Waters was not invited to participate in the project. Of course, Floyd purists might object to the very concept of The Endless River, just like they did when the band soldiered on without Waters after 1983’s The Final Cut (or, for that matter, without Syd Barrett after 1968’s A Saucerful of Secrets). But one can just as easily make the case for a great band revisiting its past and harvesting its relics. In that spirit, The Endless River takes its name from lyrics found on The Division Bell’s closing track, “High Hopes.” It comprises four almost completely instrumental sides, while also utilizing some 1969 Wright rehearsals, which reinforce the vintage Floyd feel. On the whole, the album harks back to pre-The Wall Floyd, recalling, especially, aspects of “Echoes” and “Welcome to the Machine,” albeit sans lyrics. Stephen Hawking is sampled on the cosmically quantum track “Talkin’ Hawkin’,” while the gorgeously transcendent “Surfacing” finds the band at a new zenith. The only lyrics to be found are on the closing track, “Louder Than Words,” which was penned by Gilmour’s wife, Polly Samson, and sung by Gilmour: “We bitch and we fight / Dis each other on sight / But this thing we do … it’s louder than words.” It’s an appropriate coda to Pink Floyd’s epic mythos.
The Endless River
Monday, November 24, 2014
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