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Not Really Floyd, Not Really New, Not Really An Album, But Damned Good: The Endless River

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I almost didn’t buy this album, honestly, despite being a Pink Floyd fan of forty years’ standing and despite having followed their every twist and turn.  But I’m glad I did.

The Endless River is a sort-of tribute album to Richard Wright, who (except among those of us who really listened) was never properly appreciated for his contributions to Floyd.  David Gilmour, assisted by the brilliant Phil Manzanera (whom you know, of course, from Roxy Music) and others, has assembled a series of tracks based on keyboard work by Wright from the sessions for The Division Bell.  That’s right: essentially, this album is twenty years old.  But Nick Mason (oh, how good to hear that slow, deliberate, perfect drumming again!) and David Gilmour (no comment necessary on his heavenly guitar work) have augmented Wright’s superb keyboard playing and made each track a discrete piece of music.  What we have here are seventeen mostly instrumental tracks and – I hate to say it – the weakest part, a closing song sung by Gilmour. 

What Does It Sound Like?

Gosh.  It sounds, by turns, like stuff from all of Floyd’s phases; but if I had to peg an overall sound and, especially, tone, it reminds me most of Wish You Were Here.  But there are snippets that will remind you of very early (though not Barrett-early) Floyd, and snippets that will call to mind The Wall.  There’s even a bit of Stephen Hawking – not surprisingly, considering the provenance of the backing tracks (he appeared, of course, on the genuinely great track “Keep Talking” on The Division Bell).

Will I Like It?

You damned well better like it.  For one thing, who would NOT want to hear even a single new Gilmour guitar lick, a single new Mason drum fill, a single previously unheard note from a Wright keyboard?  But for another, this isn’t (at least, I hope and believe) a cash grab: this is, while not (I’d say) a typical thematically coherent Floyd album, fine, fine music.  I love it, I will listen to it obsessively, and I recommend it highly.



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