To understand The Endless River, which will prove as the swan song from the legendary band Pink Floyd, you have to understand where the material came from. This album was mostly comprised from sessions of 1994’s The Division Bell where guitarist David Gilmour, drummer Nick Mason and late keyboardist Richard Wright. That’s not to say that this is mostly a b-side affair, but with the legacy that Pink Floyd had forged, I was hoping that they’d get Roger Waters back in some capacity (although with the bad blood, it was a HUGE long shot). We have a 4-sided mostly instrumental album that gives many hints of old, classic Pink Floyd.
Most of the tracks are a little more than a minute long, serving as classic material, but also abrupt. When I listened to it all the way through, it seemed like most of it could have been recorded in one take. As much as this is Wright’s last album with the band before his untimely passing, it also serves as a tribute. Starting with the first side along with Gilmour’s dreamy guitar, Wright’s keyboard is predominant in “It’s What We Do”. “Sum” and “Skins” are two sides of a coin. “Sum” features Dave Gilmour’s elongated guitar chords and “Skins” serves as a showcase for a drum solo for Nick Mason. Yes, they are admissibility off the wall, but that’s what we love about Pink Floyd – they make no apologies for being psychedelic. Side two is the only part of the album that features Mason. Just the together person in me would have liked to see him featured on more tracks here.
Side three and four act more as companion pieces to the aforementioned Division Bell album which are close collaborations with Gilmour and Wright. “Night Light” has faint guitar strings with an outdoor sense of the keyboard to give you the feeling that you are peering out into the night sky. “Louder Than Words” is the only song on the album that features lyrics, although lyrics that may sum up some of the band’s past relationships loud and clear. “We bitch and we fire/diss each other on sight/this thing we do”. Um..what? The statement is likened to the various infighting that’s gone on between band members. With all that being said, they have gotten to the finish line in their own way.
The Endless River holds some of the charm that got me into earlier albums like The Wall and Dark Side Of The Moon. Those are classics. With each Pink Floyd album, there seems to be something different that drew me to it. The Endless River recants previously covered territory. For a final album, I felt like there would be a grand ending or a necessary close to the curtain of the mystique that is Pink Floyd. Just maybe, we have to find that on the dark side of the moon.