fuzmeister: The Endless River
You know - Pink Floyd is definitely one of my favorite groups ever. The music those guys created will forever be deeply ingrained in my consciousness and, as I grew up, I appreciated their music for different reasons. I basically enjoy each era of the band for what it is, but I'd be lying if I said I wasn't skeptical when a "new" album built off of twenty year old fragments was announced.

Well, November has come and, after months of anticipation, I've listened to The Endless River several times. First off, the band announced early on that the album would be mostly instrumental and described it as "ambient." This is 100% true and, despite a few lackluster slumps, the album actually flows quite well and remains interesting throughout. There are some excellent guitar solos by David Gilmour here, but it's the late Rick Wright who really shines throughout the release. These may be table scraps, but they are delicious and meaty.

A major gripe I have with the sequencing of the tracks isn't order of them, but how they are divided up into such small pieces. It's pretty obvious listening to this album that each "side" is supposed to be a single piece - fragmenting these into multiple tracks will ruin the album for anyone who might be listening to their music library on shuffle and hears a 1 minute drum solo-centric piece out of context. This is, however, 2014 and I'm sure the music industry frowns on releasing an album containing a mere four tracks (even if each is around 13 minutes long).

I did feel like there was actually room on quite a few of the pieces for vocals; this lost potential makes part of The Endless River feel underdeveloped to me. The closing track "Louder Than Words" is the closest to a traditional song on the record and is a mixed bag for me. While I've never been one of the many who hate the lyricism of post-Waters Pink Floyd, I can't deny there are some terrible lyrics on this cut. The genuine passion in Gilmour's vocal delivery allows the listener to forgive some of the terrible lyrics, but, all in all, "High Hopes" served as a significantly better closing track to their long career.

So what's the final verdict for The Endless River? Well, it's impossible to measure it up against watershed albums like Dark Side of The Moon and Wish You Were Here at this point - partially because of nostalgia and partially because that's just not what The Endless River is intended to be. For what this album is, it's excellent; these guys are all masters of their craft and this album shows anyone still in doubt that they could create excellent music without Roger Waters in the band (seriously, why is this still a debate?). Parts of the album could benefit from even some lyrics (I'm not talking about forcing some verse/chorus/verse thing), but, surprising even to me, these instrumentals are interesting enough to carry you through the record. The Endless River is a fine tribute to Rick Wright and the strong musicianship of Pink Floyd; I only wish those guys had done something sooner while they were all around.

Good night, sweet Pink, and thank you for this extra icing on the sonic cake that's sustained me through the years of my life.

Mood: Introspective
Music: Pink Floyd - Anisina

Tags (beta): music, pink floyd, reviews

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