Pink Floyd – The Endless River: Review by AJ Lienert
It’s been a couple of months since Pink Floyd released their 15th and final studio album, The Endless River, their first studio album for 20 years, and since the release on November 10 (where I rushed to get my hands on the CD as quickly as I could) I’ve struggled to write up a review on it. Being a diehard Pink Floyd fan (despite the fact that most of their discography was released before I was even conceived, let alone born) I have toiled and troubled to figure out whether this is just a cash cow project from Nick Mason and David Gilmour or if it was a perfect send of to an extraordinary career.
But after countless scrapped reviews, re-listenings after re-listenings I think I’ve finally figured it out. While 1994’s The Division Bell was the final piece in an genre defining band’s catalogue, The Endless River harnesses elements from each of the band’s eras and shares the paths, the sounds and the lasting memories that the remaining members have. I think swan song is the perfect turn of phrase for what this final effort is. It’s a memoir, it’s a subtle reminder of the band’s career, and in that respect it’s quite brilliant.
As would be expected, the first few of tracks on the album scream of the Gilmour era of Pink Floyd, guitar heavy with exquisite atmospheric guitar licks and dreamscape drumming. Then comes the little things, at the end of the second track “It’s What We Do” is an inescapable Richard Wright keyboard fill, that sounds like it has come right out of the inner workings of 1975’s Wish You Were Here or 1977’s Animals. It’s the subtle intricacies like that which provide me with a gorgeous nostalgic buzz, as if they’ve forgotten no less about their history than and fans have. Continuing the trend, “Sum” adds some heavier hitting instrumentation right out of 1979’s The Wall or even from previous efforts from the Gilmour era such as A Momentary Lapse of Reason.
It only builds, and track upon track of these studio sessions that have been put into this final, retrospective form have subtle reminders of everything great about the band.
Then comes the only track with original vocals, the first single of the album, the perfect clincher to the long history of the band. It’s pure nostalgia, it’s love for the decades past, it’s love for every fight, every brilliant moment, and exactly as Gilmour perfectly says it’s “Louder Than Words”. Because music has that effect on people, it speaks more than just words. It’s passion, emotion, love, hate, history, forgiveness, hope.
And that’s what this album is all about. It’s taken me long enough to try and figure this out, but I think I’ve finally got it. It’s not a tribute, it’s not a brand new original effort, It’s a celebration.
And boy am I celebrating.
– AJ Lienert