By Peter Lindblad
|Pink Floyd - The Endless River 2014|
The metaphor may be a bit obvious for the Floyd, whose album art is usually somewhat more enigmatic, but it's a beautiful and poignant piece of work and given the circumstances surrounding this release, it's an entirely appropriate meditation on mortality, loss and the afterlife.
Wright died of cancer in September 2008, leaving only guitarist/singer David Gilmour and drummer Nick Mason as remaining members, following Roger Waters' acrimonious split from the group.
In 1993, the trio hunkered down at Brittania Row and Astoria Studios for sessions that yielded the Division Bell, Pink Floyd's last studio album. It was the first time they had done so since the seventies, when they hashed out the iconic Wish You Were Here LP, another moving Pink Floyd record that ruminated on former band leader Syd Barrett's sad decline and mental disintegration.
Last year, Gilmour and Mason went back through the music that came out of the Division Bell studio work and decided to hone and shape these orphaned pieces – with the help of modern recording technology – for a new album, The Endless River. The whole LP is a celebration honoring the genius of Wright, whose keyboards helped mold Pink Floyd's uniquely spacey and conceptual progressive-rock sound.
According to a statement on the www.PinkFloyd.com web site, The Endless River is "a mainly instrumental album with one song, 'Louder Than Words,' (with lyrics by Polly Samson), arranged across four sides and produced by David Gilmour, Phil Manzanera, Youth and Andy Jackson."
Some, like Mike Portnoy, have expressed their reservations about the new album, wondering how it can be a proper Pink Floyd album without Waters and the deceased Wright and Barrett. He would prefer a special edition reissue of the Division Bell. That's splitting hairs, especially considering the contributions Wright made to these recordings while still alive. Throughout music history, there are numerous instances of artists taking work from sessions for one album and using them later for another.
How many stories are there out there of songs being written long ago in the distant past and then brought out of retirement for inclusion on future releases? What makes these creations any different? And as for Waters, he made his own bed, opting to go solo and talking about how Floyd was "a spent force" way back when and prematurely proclaiming the band's death. It was his hubris that led to his departure, and while he certainly was the driving force in Floyd in the aftermath of Barrett's death, how much of that was due to his own need to for full control?
Anyway, you'll be able to form your own opinions when The Endless River comes out on Nov. 10.
Here's the track listing for The Endless River:
"Things Left Unsaid"
"It's What We Do"
"Ebb and Flow"
"The Lost Art of Conversation"
"On Noodle Street"
"Eyes to Pearls"
"Louder Than Words"