Andrew Grant (Staff Writer)
For the first time since 1994, Pink Floyd has released a new album, The Endless River. The album serves as a goodbye to deceased band member Richard Wright, who died six years ago. Even such a short time after a tragic death, their reaction time is on point. It might have been a good sign for the album; it could indicate musical timing and prowess, if every recording of any Pink Floyd member since the eighties hadn’t made it clear that their voices are shot. However, they identify all the problems and address them. The album is largely instrumental, and the few vocals are mostly by no Pink Floyd member, but by Stephen Hawking. Their old senses won’t affect the music because the entire album is retooled sessions from 1994’s Division Bell, which had spectacularly mixed reviews. Previous band arguments won’t affect the creation of the album because remaining
members Dave Gilmour and Nick Mason simply did not invite primary lyricist Roger Waters to return. A perfect recipe for what Gilmour has stated will be Pink Floyd’s last album.
The album is as good as their timing, and is not truly that bad. At times, it has an immersive atmosphere that truly does feel like classic Pink Floyd. At others, it feels like the rehashed Division Bell with Gilmour croaking out music his wife wrote for him that it is at its core. In the beginning, it really does feel like the final chapter of Pink Floyd and a goodbye to Rick Wright. Relaxed tone and instrument choice invokes their 1975 Wish You Were Here, a widely loved classic, with elements of other albums such as Dark Side of the Moon and Saucerful of Secrets thrown in. The album continues through in the vein of classic albums. They do Wish You Were Here, then Wish You Were Here, with Wish You Were Here, finally ending with sound derivative of Division Bell. The album becomes an ode to the songs
Dave Gilmour wrote for Pink Floyd. It ends with the song “Louder than Words”, the only single of the album and the only song with vocals other than Stephen Hawking. Gilmour’s dead voice drones out leftover pretentious and broad choruses written by his wife and accompanied by weak, generic synthetic notes. If this is indicative of Rick Wright in death, then he died as he lived: as a sidenote to Gilmour as he turned Pink Floyd into his own vanity project. The album should be titled Wish Waters Were Here, because with Waters in the picture to provide lyrics and balance out Gilmour, the album might actually have served as a whole Pink Floyd album rather than a half-decent half of one.