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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Pink Floyd

The Endless River

Review by Gary Hill

This is the latest, and according to David Gilmour, the last Pink Floyd album. It came about as a tribute to Richard Wright, Floyd’s keyboardist who passed away in 2008. The music here started with pieces recorded while they were working on their Division Bell album. David Gilmour and Nick Mason decided to make their way through the left over bits and build an album around them, recording some new parts to finish up some of the unfinished pieces. The result is quite strong. It’s more on the mellow side and only one song has vocals, per se. It’s very definitely Pink Floyd. It’s also very definitely a good album. It will probably never be considered one of their best, but it belongs in the catalog. It should be noted that they’ve lined the songs up as “sides,” essentially mini-suites of cuts that segue into one another. Also, worth mentioning is the fact that the CD comes in a classy package that resembles a book, even though it's essentially standard CD size.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2014  Volume 6 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Side 1
Things Left Unsaid
Starting quite sedate, keyboard elements dance in the background as some sound bites of speaking are heard. It begins to rise up a bit. It’s still quite textural and atmospheric, though. After the sound bites are gone, textural keyboards in slow moving waves create an understated beauty. Some acoustic guitar is heard in the midst. It segues into the next number.
It's What We Do
As the keyboard sounds from the previous one bring this in, some organ comes across the top. As it starts to evolve from there, it really reminds me of something that might have been on the Wish You Were Here album. It’s trademark mellow instrumental Floyd. It gets a bit more energy and oomph as it continues. Then, after the one minute mark we’re taking in to a more rocking, insistent motif. The whole picture with guitar and keyboard and the rhythm section really does call to mind that aforementioned classic Floyd album. I love some of Gilmour’s guitar soloing on this thing. The whole piece should have a real familiarity for Floyd fans. It seems so much like their vintage work. After it peaks, it segues into the next tune.
Ebb and Flow
Mellower sounds bring this one in. The sound has a very classic Floyd keyboard texture. It makes me think of some of the mellower parts of Animals. The whole musical tapestry paints such a sublime picture. Around the minute and a half mark, though, the music ends and textural elements take it out from there.
Side 2
Sum
Atmospheric melodies emerge to drive this forward. After a while, though, it turns toward crunchier territory. It makes me think of “One of These Days,” just a bit. Gilmour’s guitar really soars. While Gilmour really does drive a lot of this, there are also some impressive keyboard sections. The whole thing just works quite well. It’s classic Pink Floyd in so many ways.
Skins
As atmospherics transition us in from the previous piece, the drums are all over this thing. It’s a very percussive piece with lots of space music weaving around. This makes me think of sort of a more modern take on the very early space jams Floyd used to do.
Unsung
This is only a little over a minute long. It’s dramatic and powerful, though. It has a real sense of mystery. It’s even a little spooky. It definitely makes me think of Meddle in a lot of ways.
Anisina

Coming out of the previous number, this has a more song-like structure. It reminds me a little of the Dark Side of the Moon era. Some saxophone soloing really lends a lot to that comparison, too. There is some great piano, but also some tasty guitar work.

Side 3
The Lost Art of Conversation
Keyboards bring this into being. It’s a slow moving and quite pretty piece. It has some intricate work from both the keyboards and the guitar.
On Noodle Street
There is more of a rocking intensity and a driving rhythm section here. This one is more like a song. The guitar is a prominent point of interest here.
Night Light
Coming out of the last one, there is almost a whale song kind of element to this. It’s a little weird, pretty atmospheric and still compelling.
Allons-y (1)
This has a lot in common with the song “Keep Talking.” In a lot of ways it feels like more of a loose groove take on that piece. It’s quite a cool jam, really.
Autumn '68
This keyboard based piece has a real church organ vibe to it. Still, it’s easily recognizable as being Pink Floyd.
Allons-y (2)
We’re brought back into rocking territory here. This gets that whole “Keep Talking” thing going again. Gilmour gets some tasteful guitar soloing in the course of this.
Talkin' Hawkin'

This has an almost slow blues vibe to it. Still, it’s also tied to “Keep Talking” in many ways. There is some great slide guitar built into this thing. It even has the Stephen Hawking bit from “Keep Talking.” Of course, that’s the point of the title. Around the two and a half minute mark, it peaks and then drops to atmospherics.

Side 4
Calling
The opening of this feels like radio signals beamed into space. It starts to work out from there in more of that early Pink Floyd space music kind of vibe. It eventually turns toward more melodic territory as it continues.
Eyes to Pearls
This is different. It almost makes me think of music from a spaghetti western.
Surfacing

This is more of a dreamy kind of cut, but it gets more rocking as it continues. There are some non-lyrical vocals on this cut. It also has some great soaring slide guitar.

Louder than Words
The only song with vocals, this is a cool tune. It’s very much a new classic Floyd song. It’s lands in the mellower end of things. It reminds me quite a bit of Dark Side of the Moon in a lot of ways. It is quite dynamic and it has moments that feel closer to modern Pink Floyd. The extended instrumental section at the end of the piece is classy and it drops to atmospherics to take us to the close.
 
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