Review: Leave The Endless River on an endless loop

Nick Mason and David Gilmour, the last surviving members of Pink Floyd, on the road

Nick Mason and David Gilmour, the last surviving members of Pink Floyd, on the road

On November 10, the two surviving members of psychedelic rock giant Pink Floyd released their first studio album in over 18 years, The Endless River. The 53 minute mostly instrumental piece is reminiscent of Pink Floyd’s earlier albums, A Momentary Lapse of Reason and The Division Bell. If it sounds a little like a stirring musical tribute to the late keyboardist and founding member Rick Wright, that’s because it is.

Called Wright’s “swan song” by the surviving members of Pink Floyd, guitarist/vocalist Dave Gilmour and percussionist Nick Mason, The Endless River is the last album on which Wright will ever appear. For that matter, it’s the last album that will be released under the moniker Pink Floyd, and while it seems sad to read that statement in print, it also seems like it’s the right time for the group to take their final bow. With a body of work that includes over 15 studio albums, there’s plenty in Floyd’s back catalogue to justify their place as pioneers in music history.

At ages 68 and 70 respectively, Gilmour and Mason’s vocal cords have earned a rest. Only one track on The Endless River includes their strained vocals and it’s a mixed blessing.

Die-hard fans and critics have criticized Floyd’s last three offerings, claiming they lack the edginess and angst that characterized the band’s earlier albums. The common thread is the absence of founding member Roger Waters. Waters himself has taken to social media in recent months to remind Floyd fans he’s no longer with the band, a pronouncement that hardly seems necessary since he departed the band in the early 1980s. Still, fans tend to fall into four camps: Team Waters, Team Gilmour/Mason/Wright, Team Barrett (those who prefer early, more primitive Floyd) and those who don’t care who’s behind the microphone. The Endless River will appeal to fans in the first and last groups.

If you enjoyed Momentary Lapse of Reason, The Division Bell or have shelled out money to see Pink Floyd live in concert at any point after the mid 1980s, you’ll enjoy The Endless River. I suggest downloading it or streaming it via your favorite [legal] means and leaving it on an endless loop. It’s perfect background music.

Unfortunately, that’s about the extent of the album’s appeal. It’s an ideal soundtrack for the more mundane tasks of life. Folding the laundry? Check. Loading the dishwasher? Check. Sprucing up the homestead before company comes calling? The Endless River has got you covered. It’s innocuous and inoffensive. This is Easy Listening Radio for Recovering Hippies. I can imagine it quickly making the rotation on the playlists at your more progressive medical centers and law offices.

However, it’s not the album you want to play when you’re trying to get going in the morning. I don’t suggest listening to it during long car trips for both your safety and others. The Endless River will put you to sleep faster than any lullaby.

In a nutshell, The Endless River is worth a listen for Floyd fans of all stripes. Still, it’s their weakest work to date and those wanting to remember the band in better days should give a repeat listen to one of their earlier albums.

But, hey, don’t take our word for it! You can download The Endless River on iTunes or your favorite digital music outlet or stream it via services like Spotify. Disagree with our review? Want us to review your band’s latest offering? Email
Review by Cass Currie for Pennsylvania Bridges

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