The end of the reign of Pink Floyd has come upon us, and it’s arrived in the form of The Endless River. Assembled from 20 hours of material recorded during the band’s 1993 session for The Division Bell, The Endless River samples short instrumentals from the likes of Richard Wright and even words from Stephen Hawking. It’s been arranged into four movements, groupings of very ambient, mostly instrumental tracks that flow seamlessly into one another.
It is an introspective look into Pink Floyd’s older tunes, referencing their own albums and taking inspirations from Wright, Syd Barrett and even the Roger Waters of days past. The album showcases Pink Floyd’s immense talent, giving a survey course of what could be considered the entirety of their half-century-long rule.
It pays homage to much of their back catalogue, with “Sum” being highly evocative of the long and drawn out guitar solo that made its imprint on the majority of the tracks on Dark Side of the Moon. “Anisina” sounds like a rip off of “Us and Them,” complete with the lingering saxophone solos. The tracks are admirably bizarre, promising the adventurous delivery Pink Floyd has been known to give.
The redeeming point of the album is reached at “Allons-y” when it finally begins to pick up into a spiraling upbeat tempo, but it feels too late. In fact, much of this album feels as though everything comes in much later than it should have. Even David Gilmour begins to sing quite deep into the album, about 46 minutes and 18 tracks in, making the previous tracks feel like a drawn-out introduction.
Each song is a slow and steady trek, complete with the liquid guitar that has become synonymous with Gilmour and the sustained keyboard chords that skyrocketed Pink Floyd to their psychedelic-tinted fame. Unfortunately, the album becomes predictable, and every single track blends into the next; the result is one long, instrumental meandering.
There is a deep sense of familiarity in the album, yet this comfortable feeling manages to transition ever so depressingly into boring. Pink Floyd has always been the band that is reshaping and remolding the genre of rock and psychedelia. But this is an album that takes one too many steps backward, leaving one feeling as though a massive piece of innovation is missing.
The end of an era is nigh, but there is only a feeling of curious disappointment left behind in the wake of The Endless River. Rather than the expected grandiose, triumphant exit, Pink Floyd is going out with a soft whisper.
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