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Pink Floyd - The Division Bell CD (album) cover


Pink Floyd


Psychedelic/Space Rock

3.74 | 2211 ratings

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4 stars I think that The Division Bell is among PINK FLOYD's best works. Yes, it is different from their prior works, but that's to be expected. Seen for what it IS--the best work that DAVID GILMOUR, RICK WRIGHT, and NICK MASON have produced--it is truly an excellent album. Although not as lyrically unified as albums like The Wall, PINK FLOYD managed what so few bands have been able to do after losing an important member: preserved their sound intact and yet adapting to the times. Chicago couldn't do it, the MOODY BLUES couldn't do it--but thanks to its talented remaining members, PINK FLOYD succeeded.

In my mind, The Division Bell actually bears an interesting similarity to WRIGHT's first solo album, Wet Dream, and if you like one, I think chances are fairly good that you will like the other. Both albums have that sort of laid-back, open, oceanic and dreamlike feel to them in many places. This is certainly not the angst-filled Animals, though there are points where the "cast members" reveal they're feeling low.

Like no other album after Wish You Were Here, WRIGHT's presence can REALLY be heard and felt. It almost defies words, but there is always a strong sense of PLACE in his music. "Cluster One", for me, might be a cool fall day (the crackling sounds could be, for instance, fallen leaves swirling about). I can almost feel the wind shift direction at the change of a chord, see the bright blue sky and perhaps a few gentle wisps of cirrus clouds.

"Marooned", of course, is VERY oceanic. The image in my mind has always been of a stark, rocky, New England coastline--dark, ominous clouds threaten a nor'easter that may or may not materialise...but a warning just the same. GILMOUR deserves credit here as well, for a guitar solo that to me sounds like the anguish of a soul in pain. Some parts even seem like racking sobs. Yet as the song goes on, it almost seems to gather strength...all hope is not gone. Out of this pain comes renewal.

That brings me to the album's most powerful track: "Wearing the Inside Out": one of the most moving, most personal things I have ever heard (WRIGHT's second solo album Broken China being THE most moving thing I've ever heard).

I would prefer not to discuss the actual circumstances, but the time at which I purchased this album was the darkest, most painful time in my life. I cannot explain what it was like to hear this song--almost like seeing a reflection of myself, for lack of better words. It is a compliment to WRIGHT that his music would draw me in like that. I know the lyrics are not his, but the sentiments certainly seem to belong to him.

The song offered something else, too. For all the darkness, there is a very distinct turning point, when that "trumpet" synthesiser kicks in: "I'm creeping back to life..." The darkness, as terrible and consuming as it was, need not be permanent. And even though at the end, this soul is still in some pain--there is hope. In the final chord is an uplifting message...this bleeding heart may not be beating much...but it is slow, strong, and clear at the end. There is still life. Whatever his circumstances were, it was very brave of Mr. Wright to capture his feelings in music that way, because it truly is a gift when you can take those things and touch someone else.

I think "Coming Back to Life" is notable for GILMOUR's second-most impressive singing job. Only "So Far Away" from his self-named solo album outdoes it. The beautiful, even, rapid note changes are absolutely impressive...the studio effects chosen here are very effective, in my opinion, to accentuate it.

The last song, "High Hopes", is beautifully haunting--the ringing of the Division Bell has a mournful, tolling sound to it that fits well with the reminisces upon things long gone. There is a beautiful solo and ascending chord sequence at the end. Though it seems all is lost to time, there are still "high hopes" at the end of The Division Bell, giving it an overall optimistic feel.

I think there is more to this album than meets the eye. I was, overall, pleased with The Division Bell, especially because of a jewel like "Wearing the Inside Out"--far and away the best song on the album. It is the sign of a true artist when you can see parts of your own circumstances in their work.

FloydWright | 4/5 |


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