RATINGS: A = must own B = buy it C= average D = yawn F = puke

Pink Floyd: The Endless River
http://www.pinkfloyd.com/theendlessriver/
Columbia

Rating: A-

Wow. Are there a lot of fascinating and contrasting emotions on this album or what! After listening to The Endless River a few times I’m still happily asking “what did I just hear?” That is a very Floyd thing to wonder.

The Endless River takes you through so many eras of Pink Floyd, but does so in a new and unique way. It’s a peculiar contrast. This release does not sound like a typical Pink Floyd album. Yet more than any other of Floyd album The Endless River revels in past tonalities. So many times the listener can say “that’s the lead synth sound from ‘Shine On You Crazy Diamond’” or “that’s the slide guitar sound from The Dark Side Of The Moon”, or “that is a play off the classic riff from “Run Like Hell”’. Very cool! With the lineage this group can proudly boast it’s a pleasure to hear homages to past glories.

There are things about this album that are certain to raise a few eyebrows. There will be those who will not be happy with a Pink Floyd album that is entirely instrumental with the exception of the last song. I share that sentiment a bit. One of the things I enjoy about Floyd is the incisive and often dark lyrics. Without those lyrics this album takes on more of an ambient, stream of consciousness feeling. Also noticeably absent are the screaming, intensely passionate and melodic David Gilmour guitar solos that so superbly counterbalance the how-many-notes-can-I-cram-into-an-eight-bar-solo we hear so often from guitarists these days. Gilmour delivers wonderful melodies on this album. Still, those classic solos are definitely missed.

But the heart of this album lies with its reason for being produced. The Endless River, as Pink Floyd states on their website, is a tribute to keyboardist Richard Wright, one of the truly great and underappreciated keyboardists of rock and roll. His enormous contributions to the group were often overshadowed by the more charismatic personas of Gilmour and former bassist/songwriter Roger Waters. The music on the album is a direct product of the last sessions Gilmour, Wright, and drummer Nick Mason would have as a group. The lush synthesizers and beautiful string arrangements are the highlight of the album. This is not typical for Pink Floyd, but in this case I think it’s entirely appropriate. It may not be overly Pink-ish, but it is definitely worth taking in. This album has some extraordinarily beautiful passages.

There is an inescapable melancholy overtone to The Endless River. With the premature passing of Wright one is left with the realization that this may be the last studio effort produced by the rock supergiant known as Pink Floyd. That’s an extremely tough pill to swallow. It’s difficult to imagine a new Floyd album without Richard Wright; but it’s even more difficult to imagine a world without a new Floyd album somewhere out there on the horizon. This is a band that is supposed to live forever. I for one am not ready to bid farewell, but it may have just happened anyway.

By Roy Rahl

Track Listing:
Side 1, pt 1: Things Left Unsaid
Side 1, pt 2: It’s What We Do
Side 1, pt 3: Ebb And Flow
Side 2, pt 1: Sum
Side 2, pt 2: Skins
Side 2, pt 3: Unsung
Side 2, pt 4: Anisina
Side 3, pt 1: The Lost Art Of Conversation
Side 3, pt 2: On Noodle Street
Side 3, pt 3: Night Light
Side 3, pt 4: Allons-y (1)
Side 3, pt 5: Autumn ‘68
Side 3, pt 6: Allons-y (2)
Side 3, pt 7: Talkin’ Hawkin’
Side 4, pt 1: Calling
Side 4, pt 2: Eyes To Pearls
Side 4, pt 3: Surfacing
Side 4, pt 4: Louder Than Words

By Roy Rahl

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