The Endless River review by Pink Floyd

logo Ultimate Guitar
  • Released: Nov 7, 2014
  • Sound: 8
  • Lyrics: 8
  • Overall Impression: 8
  • Reviewer's score: 8 Superb
  • Users' score: 7.8 (56 votes)
Pink Floyd: The Endless River
5

Sound — 8
Ok, let's start off by stating this is not the final chapter in the Pink Floyd book; that happened at Live8 when they played their last show together and took the story full circle. The Endless River is an epilogue from two of the writers lamenting both a missing co-author and the band itself.

This is a real Curates Egg; it's not for the casual fan; the fact it's 95% instrumental will put many off together with the fact that Roger wasn't involved will be a problem for many die hard fans (depending on whether you're in the pro Gilmour or pro Waters camp!) but what it does do is shine a light on Richard Wright's contribution which has been often overlooked whilst acting as a potted history of the band by touching on much of it's past musical milestones

The first two tracks are "Wish You Were Here" era being a mix between "Shine On" guitar work and "Welcome to the Machine" synths. Sum is reminiscent of "One of These Days" with some aggressive lap steel playing, "Skins" is (unsurprisingly) drum based - the ending is very "On the Run" but the rest reminds me of "Saucerful of Secrets" with lots of trippy guitar work as does "Autumn '68" with Richard's church organ to the fore. "Allons-y" is very "Wall" era with guitar in the vein of "Run Like Hell" and "Surfacing" is typical "Division Bell" era with some great lap steel playing similar to "High Hopes."

Having said that there are superfluous tracks; On Noodle Street is just that - noodling with no real purpose of which Night Light is also guilty. Talkin' Hawkin' brings nothing new to the Keep Talking table and Calling and Eyes To Pearls really go nowhere at a mid pace.

Lyrics — 8
"Louder Then Words," the only track with lyrics, owes a lot to "Comfortably Numb"'s musical style with some poignant words from David's wife Polly who sums up the relationships between the band members concisely as only someone not directly in the maelstrom can yet never missing the angst and regret the song encapsulates. 

David's voice is as able and capable as ever and I've always believed it's an overlooked element of the bands sound. The track is augmented by typical Floyd backing vocals including long term live member Durga McBroom who also worked on "The Division Bell."

Overall Impression — 8
If you're a long term Floydian who appreciates all eras of the band then this will make for interesting and rewarding listening. If you're expecting an album to close the legendary band's account with a bang or believe it all ended when Roger left then you'll be left disappointed and puzzled. It does make you lament Richard's passing all the more as he's very much to the fore, having said that David Gilmour's guitar work ranks with some of his most emotive and the moment when Nick's trademark drum sound enters during "It's What We Do" feels like home. 

The music never overstays its welcome and quietly disappears without causing a scene - exactly as the band themselves did.

18 comments sorted by best / new / date

    txgunner1
    Put the Gilmore vs. Waters debate to rest. It isn't a competition between those 2 anymore and hasn't been in a long time. Forget about it. Even Roger says he is NOT Pink Floyd anymore. Pink Floyd existed without him. If you don't like it, fine. No one cares that you don't like it. If you can get past it, then let the music in and leave the regrets behind. Everyone in the band has. They have always been progressive and the new album is no different. The sound that made them so popular back in the 70s is long gone, even Roger can't get that back by himself nor does he want to...
    TMoreau15
    I love it from front to back. I don't even care that Waters isn't a part of it. I like how they left the lyrics blank for the most part. Maybe Waters will see the empty canvas they could have cooperated on and they somehow become friends and coworkers again... who knows. And it makes this the perfect album to read to, perform a task lyrics would otherwise distract you from, or just sit and visualize. Whether it's the last chapter, the opening to a new one, or just an epilogue, I am fully pleased with what was produced.
    mjones1992
    I liked it It was a good close to their career. I think 'Endless River' was a very apt title for the album. Knowing that it was the last and that it was a tribute to Wright, you can fully appreciate the atmospheric qualities and recycled musical ideas. I thought of it as if Pink Floyd itself was an 'endless river' of music as I was listening. As if their sound and their journey was and is timeless. That even though Wright and Syd are gone and Roger is no longer in the band, the music and their mark on music will last. Anyway, didn't mean to get metaphysical and shit, but that's how I took the message of the album. Maybe after future listenings I'll get something else out of it
    wiggedy
    A good Floyd album needs Water's creativity finished off with Gilmore's finesse.
    milospf88
    A good comment, on the other hand requires knowing how to properly spell the band members correctly.
    tanders03
    Lets go back to the days when they first recorded together. Very different sound compared to the days after Sid. I would say its right in line with their talent. Best way to accept this album is to just sit back and enjoy.
    d.floresumana
    If this is TDB's follow up and Final Cut is The Wall's follow up.. I think David did it better than Waters... Just saying!
    ug1220
    I can't help but love this album and just stand in awe of it. It really goes all the way back to the beginning of their career, stuff like A Saucerful Of Secrets and Careful With That Axe, Eugene to anything from Atom Heart Mother, Meddle and onwards. Big echoes of Shine On in here too. But none of that matters. All that matters is that it works. I even get glimpses of Ummagumma in here from time to time. It truly (even if it wasn't planned that way) a retrospective of their MUSICAL careers. Waters may not have had any role in this, but it doesn't matter. The music, the spirit that these 3 people shared together is very prevalent. People say it sounds like they're trying too hard to be Pink Floyd- but what if its the other way around? What if they just sound like that because that's the way they sound? A very high note to bow out on, and I'm glad they did. I am one of those fans that has been waiting for this ever since Richard Wright made mention of it way back whenever it was. And I'm only 26! So, Gilmour only made this one to please the die hards, and that is a very sweet and awesome for any band to do for their fans. They're gone (as is Wright, in a much more final way)but definately not forgotten and doubtlessly will be for a very long time to come.
    martins.wolfs
    Pink Floyd was famous for re-inventing themselves during Barrett and Waters time. Now it is just boring. Gilomour is good to collect and preseve - not create.
    haifisch234
    The album is average. Some great tracks mixed with some poor, boring tracks. I would rather have The Division Bell as the last LP.
    rayp1111
    When I first heard it I was extremely disappointed. BUT, I just cant stop listening to it. LOVE IT!!
    ggstarwizzrd
    im glad i lived to see one more Floyd album get released being such a recent fan. A great album, worth listening a few times over to really get it. Anisina is my favorite track, and Surfacing flows wonderfully into the conclusion. I still pray that by some miracle or worldly event, that they'll all come together one more time for a last proper farewell show.
    contacts
    I'm probably much older than most posters here. I can remember the first time I heard Pink Floyd - it was so much different than anything else back in the early days of FM stereo underground radio. This album takes me back there. It is unmistakably Pink Floyd and the musicality is unmatched. I don't care about the Roger v David discussion. This is a wonderful album and I'm very happy that Pink Floyd was able to release another good album.
    roby66
    criticisms are because of the too high expectations - I did not expect a masterpiece, and I enjoyed the album, which, in my opinion will grow up - it has been said that it needs several listenings to be understood - I agree and I actually this is a plus for quality music, where the complex texture gets unveiled little by little, (a characteristic more in jazz then in rock) - and it's a music collage, it was also said, (btw the same PF presented it as such) - there is nothing wrong in that; the beatles abbey road has a music collage in the long middley, which is probably the masterpiece of that album... greetings :
    bekk7268
    As a Pink Floyd fan, I welcome any material with open arms. Whether I actually like it or not is a bit irrelevant since I'm going to dote on my favorite any way and some songs tend to grow on you and have a different meaning when it's had the time to be appreciated. As a musician, I'm always looking for perspectives with substance, something that demonstrates the mind-set of a band or artist, their musical pondering and things that divulge the evolution of the player or the music they make. I can appreciate this album (is that a relevant description anymore?) for what it is and what it offers. Don't care about the band politics or who's to blame for this or that. I am instead disappointed that there isn't more the five core members of the band left behind and I give credit to Gilmour and Mason for trying to give us a bit more of that with The Endless River. Too bad there isn't a tour to go with this recording, it would be great to hear these songs evolve further. My 2 cents
    logicbdj
    I really enjoyed this. I can't speak for others, but I bought the Bluray package... and when you listen to his (any album really) on 5.1 surround, it is very different than the usual stereo sound. I have some other Floyd on 5.1 and HUGE difference in mood. The Bluray also includes some video footage, which was great to see.
    pardaleao
    First time I hated the album, second and third I loved. Here we have almost 18 changes and atmospheres, so a album that you can hear for more 20 years. Glad about this underful autumn 68, and other Rick tunes, his tunes are the most rich and complex. Study the album you will be glad in the end.