Album Review: Pink Floyd – The Endless River3 min read
If someone’s out there talking about the great British bands of all time, it’s highly likely that Pink Floyd will be on their list. With so much freedom, psychedelia, influence and brain melting wizardry throughout their music, they were pioneers for a generation. This was all started off in a time when this sort of thing was hard to achieve, unlike today where you press a few buttons and flick a couple of switches. And so we fast forward to 2014 – past all their troubles with band members leaving and petty squabbling, past all their heart ache of keyboard player Rick Wright’s death to cancer in 2008, and arrive at the so-called last album Endless River, seeing them settled for the first time in ages, and with it creating something to sign off with in style.
The record is a step back into the bands recent past; a sound that will be familiar to thousands, but still manages to sound fresh – probably because no one else would dare to try and recreate anything like this. With music taken from the sessions for 1994’s album The Division Bell, it has a nature of rising high and falling about in a sea of melancholy, all stitched together with beautifully intimate short segments to create an appealing whole.
Things Left Unsaid is classic Floyd; slow and melodic in a way that only the band can do. Dave Gilmour throws in a typically inventive guitar sound, which can only be described as an otherworldly space sitar. It’s what we do has a strong build-up with recognisable sounds and samples leading the listener through a six and a half minute journey of the bands mentality and out the other end – no need for words, seamless.
As mentioned earlier, the shorter pieces on Endless River really hold it all together and almost feel like truly cinematic interludes; Ebb and Flow offers a nice transition to what feels like a different place on the record, whereas On Noodle Street has you stuck in an elevator-tinged psychedelic waiting room.
Talkin’ Hawkin’ features the great Physicist Stephen Hawking himself, his robotic vocals set over sounds and instances while he talks about possibilities being endless and to ‘make sure we keep talking’. This is the only time the band may be bringing up problems of the past and band fall outs, but that’s only one insight into the powerful song. Surfacing harks back to a starker and deeper Floyd, showing off their talent for never ending layers of subtlety that grows into an epic before being snubbed out by the sound of bells. This is all before earlier release Louder Than Words throws its weight around – a nice final moment full of arguments, reconciliations, love and hate.
Pink Floyd haven’t done anything new with The Endless River, but they don’t need to. It’s a swan song to the last leg of their career and a good send off into whatever comes next. A must for Pink Floyd fans, and can even serve as a gentle introduction to their earlier masterpieces.