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Pink Floyd - The Division Bell CD (album) cover

THE DIVISION BELL

Pink Floyd

 

Psychedelic/Space Rock

3.72 | 1343 ratings

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Queen By-Tor
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Coming back to life? Just about...

Pink Floyd's final album, The Division Bell is one that is far removed from the band's older material. Likely due to the absence of main lyrical (genius?) madman Roger Waters, the music is a lot less aggressive (although it still is at points) and a lot more reflective. Wearing the inside out would be an excellent way to describe the way the material here sounds. Reflective, yet dark and sometimes light. Really, this was never destined to be the band's best album and it certainly has it's moments, but all around this is merely a tired old band's dying breath.

Opening with the pleasantly subdued instrumental Cluster One we're off to a start not dissimilar to their previous studio album A Momentary Lapse Of Reason with it's quiet opening exploding into motion as the second track begins. The second track here is the ever controversial What Do You Want From Me - a story about false idol worship cooked up by Gilmour supposedly following an argument with his wife. This is where the new Floyd starts to show through. Less spacey and more rock, What Do You Want From Me is likely one of the heaviest tracks the band ever recorded. However, it's not long until that one fades into oblivion and it's replaced with the soothing acoustic intro of Poles Apart. Seemingly an obvious shot at former band-leader Roger Waters with its lyrics, this one comes off as a rather strange personal track - something the band really hasn't done since Wish You Were Here... except this time it's almost an attack rather than a ''I miss you'' track.

Another wonderful instrumental as Marooned gets on it's way. Not quite as quiet as the opening track, this one winds around until the sometimes-accused-as-being-another-part-of-The-Wall A Great Day For Freedom begins. One of the slower tracks on the album, this one lazy wanders around until it ends. And that's when the first major standout of the album takes form. Wearing the Inside Out is a fantastic track which makes full use of the backing choir and shows Gilmour attacking the darker side of the human mind. Emotional and reflective, this is one of the tracks that has turned into a true Floyd classic over the years.

Unfortunately, it changes there.

Starting to look for another hit, Take It Back shows Floyd apparently attempting to be U2 in a twisted alternate reality. Isn't that riff stolen strait from The Edge? At least Gilmour's voice is good on it. However, this poppy rocker is something that old Floyders and proggers may find is not their cup of tea. The next track, Coming Back To Life is more of the same, although it fortunately makes better use of some of Floyd's more prominent features (excellent reflective bit at the beginning). But suddenly POW! Cowbell! and the track becomes another pop-rock attempt. Still much better than the previous track thanks to Gimour's (I want to say) soulful delivery of the lines, this one is not a standout on the album.

But wait, what about the end of the album?

Luckily the album takes a turn for the better nearing the end. Keep Talking is a quiet, almost creepy, reflective and emotional track that sounds like Floyd has started to borrow a pinch from electronic with its sounds and computer voice. Then Gilmour's voice comes in along with the backing choir and makes this track truly something to talk about. Lost For Words unfortunately doesn't keep the expectations quite as high, but still manages to deliver a solid track with an almost country riff (and wait! Did he just swear!?). Pleasant melodies make this one move right along until... The band's final masterpiece High Hopes comes in and delivers all the expectations that one would expect from the band. Perhaps the finest single track recorded by the band since their Animals album, this dark and sombre track can easily evoke goosebumps from the listener as Gilmour's voice brings us through some excellent parts of the chorus until the song brings the album (and to this date... the band) to an ultimate close.

Uneven. That's the best word to describe this album. While some tracks come off as purely fantastic, others come off as eyebrow raising. If you're a Floyd fan you'll surely get a kick out of this album, but for others it's not the first place to start. 3 stars for a good but non-essential album.

Queen By-Tor | 3/5 |

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