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Pink Floyd - The Endless River CD (album) cover

THE ENDLESS RIVER

Pink Floyd

 

Psychedelic/Space Rock

3.34 | 704 ratings

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Wicket
Prog Reviewer
4 stars It was a given, this album. After all, the Water-less Floyd has never returned to prominence since his departure. but perhaps the emotional passing of Richard Wright, and his immobilization in one final album will bring it all together, to finally rediscover that lost "Floydian" sound.

I'll admit, there are quite a few "Marooned" references here, but I don't consider that to be a bad thing. Hell, "Marooned" was one of the few tracks that were even listenable off "The Division Bell".

(Before I truly go knee-deep, I felt it interesting to point out the desire by Gilmore to NOT make this album "for the iTunes, downloading-individual-tracks generation', hence the continuation from one song to the other, which I've always maintained is the way to get people to buy full albums and not just single songs. If you cut up a pizza in so many tiny slices, you might as well just buy the whole damn thing rather than each tiny individual piece, you'll still be hungry afterwards!)

Side 1 gives me hope. The classic ambiance is there on "Things Left Unsaid" and Gilmore's classic, gut-wrenching guitar solos return on "It's What We Do". Fitting title name, really, because that IS what Pink Floyd do. Or, did, anyway. It sounds familiar, and yet still fresh, and touch, since this album is a tribute to Wright, whose gentle touch is still noticeable here and there throughout the album. Gilmore even said it himself that "this is for the generation that wants to put its headphones on". Which is what Floyd always has been. The jams, the soundscapes, the distinct guitar solos. At the close of "Ebb And Flow", I've come to that conclusion already.

This is that classic Pink Floyd sound we (or at least I) have been waiting for. Redemption, finally, in the form of "The Endless River".

Ok, so maybe Side 1 might have been called "Marooned, Pt. 2", but Side 2 sounds like a "Animals" B-side. Mason goes to down pushing the groove forward on "Sum" and channels his inner Ringo on "Skins", a fitting title since the track is pretty much a drum solo, before it fades out into another electronic filled soundscape, while "Unsung" sounds like an orchestral sample ripped straight from the Halo soundtrack and "Anisina" kinda sounds like an homage to Lennon (with a Billy Joel sax solo). A bit more unusual, this side, but the good news is that the sound is unquestionably Floyd, and frankly, that's all that matters.

If that wasn't enough, Side 3 starts off dramatically, with another soundscape in the form of "The Lost Art Of Conversation (another dig at Waters? Maybe?), before a quite Mason groove creeps in "On Noodle Street". So if I'm going to play the reference game, if Side 1 echoed Maroon off "The Division Bell" and Side 2 echos "Animals, Side 3 is almost certainly going to echo "Another Brick In The Wall" off "The Wall, and while the acoustic solo on "Night Light" might prove me wrong, "Allons-y" proves the point. That subtle but intoxicating pluck from Gilmore's guitar is enough to sell me right away. It's a nostalgic power trip, basically, but after all Floyd, Gilmore and Mason have put up with, a nostalgic power trip is EXACTLY what they needed to get out of this funk.

Of course Side 3 isn't over. "Autumn '68" (perhaps in a reference to "Summer '68" off Atom Heart Mother?) is a haunting organ spot by Wright (recorded in '69, incidentally), especially all the more haunting knowing that he's gone, but soon "Allons-y" returns to brighten the mood again and push on towards "Talkin' Hawkin', filled with oohs, aahs, and more Gilmore tasty solos, along with a Hawkins sample of a commercial that was also used on "Keep Talking" off "The Division Bell".

So now we hit the home stretch with Side 4, and I've already come to the conclusion that this is as fitting a send off as any to the career of a fantastic band. Another typical ambiance to kick off in "Calling", before a Gilmore guitar spot in "Eyes To Pearls" leads into another ambient jam in "Surfacing" before Gilmore makes his first and last vocal appearance on the album in "Louder Than Words", a perfect way to describe the album, really, since it's mainly been an instrumental up until this closer.

So, now we (meaning I) almost certainly come to the end of Pink Floyd for good. An album too together to be a Gilmore solo album. An album too hollow to be a Pink Floyd album. It's tricky, but overall, it's a fantastic swan song to a fantastic band. All I could hope for was just a nostalgic look to the past and perhaps a return to the traditional "signature sound", and of course, it's not perfect, but it's better than I could've imagined, so I guess this will do.

By far not the best Floyd album ever, but still for Floyd fans who pined for that sound, you won't be turned away here. Perhaps it leans on too heavily of an ambient side, but then again, ambiance is part of the Floyd sound.

A fantastic tribute to a fantastic keyboardist, and as good of a swan song as there ever is or was. It still seems so short. Farewell, Floyd.

(Still wish you were here)

Wicket | 4/5 |

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