The Endless River

I just listened to the new Pink Floyd album The Endless River. I’ve always considered Pink Floyd as one of the most interesting, innovative, and creative bands of all time, especially their stuff from the 70s. But alas, those days are gone, and I can’t say I’m very impressed with their latest (and probably last) album. There are two things I do like about The Endless River, though.

First, the fact that it is an (almost) entirely instrumental album. I’ve always thought that Pink Floyd should have made a fully instrumental album, and that Wish You Were Here would have been the ideal candidate for it. So now they finally did make one, but unfortunately it is not what I would have hoped for.

Overall, the album sounds very “flat” and unimaginative to me. Everything is ironed out by endless floating synthesizer sounds, often supported by a rather monotonous (almost like walking…through…mud…) drum rhythm. David Gilmour’s “crying” guitar play is interesting at times, but just doesn’t seem able to lift the album to a sustained high level. So, for now I’ll stick with the amazing (and mostly instrumental) live album of Ummagumma, but at least my wish (a real instrumental PF album) has kindly been granted.

The second thing I do like about The Endless River is that it is a tribute to Rick Wright. It seems that his contribution to the Pink Floyd sound has often been underestimated or even neglected entirely. This new album being largely based on their 1993 recording sessions for the Division Bell album is an interesting concept indeed, and it is nice to have some of this material released. I’ve always liked Rick Wright’s unconventional style of play very much. The opening chords of The Great Gig in the Sky still send shivers down my spine, and I think his solo album Broken China is absolutely wonderful.

Anyway, even though The Endless River, supposedly their very last album, is not anywhere near the quality for which we all love (the old) Pink Floyd, it seems a proper and timely way of ending an impressive career as a band, spanning almost half a century. I certainly won’t hold it against them that they don’t produce the same kind of mind-blowing stuff anymore, and am simply grateful for what they have given us in the past. Happy retirement, Pink Floyd, and thanks for all the great music!