Well, Pink Floyd’s The Endless River has certainly been a long time coming… in fact it’s some twenty years since we were treated to a studio album from the Floyd, the last was 1994’s Division Bell. It’s no surprise then that this record was eagerly anticipated by the band’s legion of followers. This copy comes from HIRESAUDIO on Parlophone and warner Bros as a FLAC file, but there are standard CD, double vinyl and deluxe box sets available.

Floyd’s keyboardist, Rick Wright died of cancer in 2008 but this record is made from concepts and recordings made during the making of Division Bell and can be taken as very much a tribute to Wright… and he is indeed there on the record. The Endless River has taken two years of adding new parts and rerecording others and can be described as an ambient record with just one track (the final track)having a proper lyric…but still it is very much a Pink Floyd record – listen to it and it could be no other band. Production duties, are taken up by  Gilmour, Youth, Andy Jackson and  Phil Manzanera and the album was completed in Gilmour’s studios the Astoria and Medina Studios in Hove (UK). It is widely accepted that there will be no further releases from Pink Floyd after this.

There are four sides to The Endless River and on the whole it’s a damned fine record that should have Floyd fans well pleased. It opens with Things Left Unsaid, a sprawling tune of E Bowed guitar and long lush synthesizer pads. It’s an eminently majestic opening to my mind, setting the tone for the record to come and it is certainly reminiscent of past Floyd. The next track, It’s What We Do has elements of past Floyd too reminding me very much of Shine On You Crazy Diamond. You get the picture I’m sure…

The Endless River is made up of four quite distinct suites split into parts that are segued together pretty flawlessly. Siide two has a slightly more upbeat edge with drummer Nick Mason getting more of a look in and this is something that I enjoyed a great deal. Side two’s opening Sum has Mason pounding the toms in such a way to bring back memories of the Pompeii video…if you don’t know it then it’s a must see!

Side three is made up from a series of short passages with none other than the last track of the side lasting more than a couple of minutes… but you’d never really know it and it all gels together pretty seamlessly. This side is more reminiscent of the “more recent” Floyd albums.

Look, I don’t live in a bubble and I know that this record has been slated elsewhere in the press with The Independent’s Andy Gill saying “…without the sparking creativity of a Syd or Roger, all that’s left is ghastly faux-psychedelic dinner-party muzak.” But I think that this is missing the point a bit. Is this album going to set teens who have barely heard of the Floyd rushing out to delve into the band’s back catalogue …well no it’s not, but as a piece of work it’s going to appeal to current fans starved of new output from the band. Personally I love it and heartily recommend it to Hifi Pig readers as a piece that is certainly nostalgic in its make up (how could it be anything else?), but not without considerable merit as a coherent piece. Is it a classic…again, no not really, but it will get a good deal of play here I reckon. Yes there are borrowed elements from previous records but also there is genuine novel material.

The Endless River closes with the aforementioned vocal track Louder Than Words and it’s a fitting end I think. It opens with the line “We bitch and we fight, dis each other on sight” clearly commenting on the all too public and acrimonious falling out with Roger Waters and it has a somewhat consolatory tone to it. Will there be another album…I doubt it very much, but I for one am glad there is this one to add to the virtual record shelf.

Caroll Vanwelden - Shakespeare Sonnets 2
Various Artists - Pop Ambient 2015

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