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.