If you consider yourself a music fan, you’re a fan of Pink Floyd. Simple.
The last thing music fans around the globe were expecting to spin around their players was a brand spanking new CD from the legends themselves. Amidst the new releases of oldies it’s rare you find an album of the same artist that clings onto the sound that brought them to our ears in the first place. It’s all too common for the bands to delve into new horizons and expand their genre to a one that isn’t theirs. Yes, a change is good, but changing the very essence is oh so wrong. Start a new band and then do what you like surely? Luckily for us, these beautiful pink boys aren’t ones to disappoint.
The first track is the opening credit of the album, not so much a song, more of an introduction, a space and wave of things to come. You’ll be flooded with curiosity and truthfully a sense of fear when first listening (a bad Pink Floyd album is practically a black hole for the music world.) But by god they did it. The first tingles of Gilmour’s guitar will fill your ears and you’ll be sold. Smacking ourselves mentally for doubting the men we should trust.
The album, which is mostly made up of semi instrumental and progressive pieces is a stereo-typical Floyd album. It’s also painfully obvious that the album was mostly off-cuts of their previous masterpiece back in 94 entitled ‘The Division Bell’, it keeps to the same structure, the occasional input of the silky murmur that is David Gilmour, but mostly oozing with the instruments. A nod to Mr. Wright who died of cancer 6 years ago. The albums is perhaps a tribute to the man who brought spirit and sound to the band? His synths apparent in so many songs, particularly ‘Sum’ and ‘Louder than Words’- the first time
we hear vocals on the album, 18 tracks down the list (unless you include Stephen Hawkin’s monolog on the appropriately titled ‘Talkin’ Hawkin’.)
What needs to be said about this album? It’s a breath of fresh air and something that should be shoved down any beginners throat. A journey most enjoyed in pitch black darkness facing the celling, blasting at full volume as the needle scratches through the grooves- Listened how it was intended to be.
Every track is a little sprinkle of imagination, a gift from the band to our thirty ears. Each a-similar to certain Floyd era’s. ‘Allons-y (1)’ flooded with the bricks that made up ‘The Wall’. It’s sad to say there’s not too much passion and insanity of Syd in the album, the only thing that is a bow to the crazy flare that was Barratt is the stretched out lengths of the songs, carrying out a solo to 4 minutes rather than the usual substandard 40 seconds or so… Somehow it works, how? I’m sure even the most talented of the music critics and perhaps even the boys themselves will ever know.
Back in the early days of performing in bars and small venues they would carry on the songs they knew to stretch out the set, improvise until they noticed the gleaming eyes in the front row- then they had it. They’ve got that unique talent, so they sure as hell aren’t going to stop using it to their advantage. Quite rightly don’t you think? So, of course in every song on the god damn album they’ve done so!
Don’t cha just love um’.
Their album is perfectly titled ‘The endless river’, and a journey into the unknown is certainly what they’ve created.
Starting in the shallows with the opening track ‘Things left unsaid’- a witty statement telling that fans: “Oh you thought we were finished? How cute”. Easing into the calm familiar waters with ‘It’s what we do’ flooded with the recognisable and typical ‘Floydian’ sounds.
Everything is relaxed and sentimental until track 4 gallops along, bringing a few waves in the water, a bouncy one certainly. The first real drumming we’ve heard as of yet. Thankyou Nick Mason. The crashing of the water continues with the next two tracks, ‘Unsung’ grabbled with Gilmour’s high noted bars all sounding beautifully similar to ‘Marooned’, which is arguable the best song on ‘The Division Bell’.
The ambiance returns as the waves flatten with ‘Anisina’, treating us to a rarely heard piano moment, teamed with Atzmon’s tenner sax. I wish it worked, but alas, it doesn’t. ‘The lost art of conversation’ makes up for the mistake, leaving Gilmour alone on the keyboard, as he should be. No brass instruments needed. This continues into the next track ‘On Noddle Street’ but fades into a funky, but relaxing gentle drum and bass note.
‘Night Light’ brings the Pink back into Floyd , the atmospheric tones pouring back into the boat, giving a little taster of what is soon to come, ‘Allons-y (1), that’s what. The Wall sounding one, remember? The journey stays steady with the silky guitar infested waters that is ‘Autumn ’68, and blending beautifully with ‘Allons-y (2)’. The slow paced, Pink Floyd sound stays in the deep blue for a while with ‘Calling’, diving into the depths of the dark water with ‘Eyes to pearls’, giving it that hearty, rumbling in the pit of your stomach that only good music can create.
Back up for air with the ironically titled ‘Surfacing’ this song encases everything into one, easing you in with some hidden ohh’s and ahh’s, preparing your ears for Mr. Gilmour’s silky smooth vocals that appear finally in the next and possibly best song on the album: ‘Louder than words’- “We bitch and we fight”, the lyrics stay to the same high level as ever. The song comes to the end with a big bang of instruments playing in perfect harmony, guiding you hand in hand through the tidal waves.
The next two ‘TBS9’ and ‘TBS14’ are musical come-downs from the previous, letting the waves part, but still moving the boat. The final song is a tricky one, ‘Nervana’, far too rocky for the usual sound on the album, and Pink Floyd in general. It could even be called an alt-rock track if it wasn’t for the synths in the background. Land doesn’t appear slowly with this track, there’s no ease out of the album, it fades slowly, but the furious guitar solo doesn’t diminish it’s strength. At first thought, it seems a strange close. As if the boat was plucked from the river and thrown onto land rather than ease slowly to it. But that’s the beauty of the band, always expect the unexpected.
Just buy the album. Buy it, love it, treasure it. Show your wife, show your kids, show your damn neighbour. Even the titles of the tracks add a smile to any music lovers face ‘side 1’ ‘side 2’ ect… A nod to those with the record players.
Unfortunately David Gilmour has stated there is no follow up to this beauty, telling Rolling Stone “Anything we had of value is on this album”. Which is disheartening; the very album itself was only brought to light as a tribute to Richard Wright. Without Wright and Rodger it’s hard to imagine a sequel. But, as said before, Expect the Unexpected.