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Pink Floyd - The Division Bell CD (album) cover

THE DIVISION BELL

Pink Floyd

 

Psychedelic/Space Rock

3.72 | 1342 ratings

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Neu!mann
Prog Reviewer
3 stars Pink Floyd's unlikely reformation in the mid-1980s, without the monomaniacal guidance of Roger Waters, could easily be written off as a cold-blooded act of corporate expediency, a point all but underlined by the global success of their mediocre 1987 album "A Momentary Lapse of Reason". This was music only the most charitable fan could defend (and millions did), but seven years later their next studio effort, the last one likely ever to be released under the Pink Floyd banner, would at least allow the remains of a once-great band to recede into semi-retirement with their dignity intact.

I expected to preface this review with a sarcastic remark about the late Syd Barrett spinning in his grave, but the album took me pleasantly by surprise. Okay, so it still resembles something that should have been sold as a Dave Gilmour solo project (compare it to his recent, excellent "On An Island" CD). But the sound is more relaxed and natural than on the "Lapse of Reason" album, and the writing is less pretentiously self-conscious than anything heard from Pink Floyd since before "Dark Side of the Moon".

From the glowing, ethereal soundscapes of the album opener "Cluster One" (welcome back, Rick Wright) to the opulent grandeur of "High Hopes" (yet another leftover brick from "The Wall", in this case sounding not unlike a wayward cousin to "Comfortably Numb"), and from the lush twelve-string guitar splendor of "Poles Apart" to the slowburn funk of "What Do You Want From Me" (shades of the classic "Have a Cigar"), this is an easy album to enjoy.

Maybe too easy, for a band with a long-standing reputation for ambitious thematic song cycles. It's refreshing not to be burdened by any sort of concept, but in the end, like too much later Pink Floyd, there's a dispiriting, all-too familiar homogeny to the music that sinks the album in retrospect (listen to and cringe at the trite, FM-friendly transparency of the song "Coming Back to Life").

All it really needed was a small, controlled dose of that patented, misanthropic Roger Waters bile to balance the more complacent energies of Gilmour and company. With a little more of an edge, it could have been another masterpiece. But even half a classic Pink Floyd album is better than none at all, and after a decade of silence from the band we should be grateful to hear it in any form at all.

Neu!mann | 3/5 |

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