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Home arrow Reviews arrow Albums arrow Pink Floyd's The Endless River - track-by-track
Pink Floyd's The Endless River - track-by-track Print E-mail
Written by Rob Peets   
Wednesday, 03 December 2014

ter_boatman.jpgRob Peets, the ex-webmaster of the Set The Controls site, and BD contributor, wanted to share his thoughts on Pink Floyd's new album, The Endless River. Rather than a straight review, which we have of course already published, Rob chose a different approach: a track-by-track breakdown. You can share your thoughts on Rob's comments over at the Brain Damage Facebook page.

I wasn't sure what to think about Pink Floyd's new album The Endless River on my first couple of listens. I knew I was really enjoying elements but other parts seemed to blow by quickly and left me unsure... I've now listened it a good fifteen times and it's really grown on me in a big way. I think it has a couple of issues here and there but over all it is a worthy release and chock full of throwbacks to their amazing career. I think this will and basically has become my favourite post Roger Waters Pink Floyd album... it is its own thing but it also purposefully throws back constantly to the past as well as the recent past, due to the Division Bell era origins of the base tracks. If I had one overall complaint it would be that some of the best pieces end too soon, but the flip side to that is that you're onto something new quickly and the album flows quite brilliantly.

I figured a track by track breakdown would be an interesting way to attack this album and give my thoughts on the contents as the album progresses, maybe offer some insight into what certain elements remind me of, as well as some of the musical technique being implemented. So let's get right to it!

Things Left Unsaid - A lazy intro which includes a few quotes from Rick, David and Nick ending with a wide thud, and the start of the new album. From this point what we hear could be compared to the intro of Shine On You Crazy Diamond, but slightly more ambient with some Hammond organ near the end and a really nice Gilmour lead on an acoustic with an E-bow (a battery driven vibrating object which allows strings to endlessly sustain when it's placed over them, literally an electronic bow), something which he revisits multiple times throughout this album.

It's What We Do - Intro organ is very old school Floyd, the addition of a 70's style synth lead is obviously a homage to the WYWH era in general, but it really is its own thing as David is once again utilizing his more recent guitar technique and effects chain. It's one of the longer tracks at 6:17, and it's a beautiful ride, one of my faves. It's pretty much everything I wished the post '87 Floyd would be, which to be fair at times it did touch upon, but only for brief moments. To get a dedicated instrumental song like this really makes me happy... this song is comparable to an audible wave washing over you.

Ebb and Flow - Once again beautiful E-Bow guitar work with Rick's keys and a spectacular ending as Rick's keys and David's sustained note meet in space and fade.

Sum - Empty Spaces and Sorrow meets One of these Days... some cool Nick Mason moments, it's the kind of drumming he really shied away from in later Floyd albums as they moved to a more radio friendly focus, and it's great to hear it return. Gilmour's slide part and Rick's playing are both very cool. Also another one of the longer songs at just under 5 minutes.

Skins - Absolutely taking its cues from A Saucerful of Secrets (and possibly a bit of On The Run), listening to it I cant help but picture Nick Mason in the Live at Pompeii video. Absolutely love that Nick is doing stuff he hasn't done in years in these last two tracks!

Unsung - A bit of a call back to Sum... a quick ambient piece with some nice guitar work. As he has tended to do over the last couple of decades (and multiple times on The Endless River as expected), David makes use of his Digitech Whammy for hitting those unusually high notes.

Anisina - To put it bluntly, this is my least favourite song, has touches of Us and Them but comes off a little simple and easy listening at first. As the song progresses I think it gets better as the horns, backup singers and slide guitar kick in and provides that epic "Us and Them" vibe which really does help the song soar into more interesting territory... sadly, the intro and main piano part really do have a John Tesh sound, kind of something you might hear in relation to the Olympics and that's a bit hard to forget. With that said, even the least interesting track on this album manages to redeem itself in the end and I'm cool with it.

The Lost Art of Conversation - A nice ambient piano/keyboard/guitar interlude, kind of reminds me of something that could have been on Rick's Broken China album.

On Noodle Street - Comes in with a bit of a James Bond vibe. Turns into a classic funky Floyd jam, with a nice bit of back and forth, and chock full of light guitar noodling of course!

Night Light - Opens with an E-bow on an acoustic which plays along with an ambient keyboard part, another interlude type moment.

Allons-Y 1 - Run Like Hell vibe, nice guitar work, some soaring lead parts accented by slide guitar work. One of my favourite moments on the album... the break before Autumn '68 really has a cool old school Floyd vibe.

Autumn '68 - Wow, emotional... I've seen the film footage and know the moment the organ part was being recorded at Albert Hall while the band set up and rehearsed before the show. The accents with WYWH style keys and David's minimal guitar accents near the end make this one of my favourite tracks. It's a real tribute to one of the most unique keyboard players in the history of rock music... I wish it went on longer... but as another great musical underdog once said "All Things Must Pass", and we go back into:

Allons-Y 2 - Transitioning nicely back into the steady pulsing guitar. Overall a brilliant sandwich of some of the best Floyd I've heard in a long time. For me this whole section is worth the price of admission, if only it went on for another 10 minutes!

Talkin' Hawkin' - Cool keyboard part keeps the song going steady, the Gilmour moments are hauntingly beautiful. Has an epic feel with a throw back to the Atom Heart Mother period with use of choir, cool use of production and effects on the backups. Also reminded me slightly of "Nights in White Satin" by the Moody Blues. I sort of feel like we didn't really need the Stephen Hawking part, it mostly reminds me that this voice sample originated from a commercial and kind of takes me out of the song... even if the reason it's there is to tie it together with the Division Bell and finish the loop. This, mind you, is nowhere near enough of a reason to dismiss the music behind it. A great track which I'll listen to again and again!

Calling - Has a mild Dogs of War vibe, a dark foreboding sounding song. Gilmour is again uses the Whammy to hit crazy high notes... it ends very nicely with a mild sense of dread.

Eyes to Pearls - This reminds me of Set The Controls and Goodbye Blue Sky but also is doing its own thing! A really great track.

Surfacing - Has a very Division Bell/High Hopes sound which is never a bad thing. It's another thoughtful, slightly haunting song. There's a mellower version of the One Of These Days slide and the choir really makes the song pop. Gorgeous.

Louder than Words - Delicate intro featuring Rick's piano which calls back to the late 60's Floyd and Gilmour's guitar plucking which echoes his later 70's work, it leads the way into Nick and the only lyrical song starts. I think the lyrics are appropriate and mostly on point... the song is a solid farewell. I feel like it's one of the best single style songs these guys have ever come up with. It gives you a bit of that Darkside vibe but is totally representative of the post '87 version of Floyd.

So that's it. I have to say it's a bit depressing knowing that "Louder Than Words" is likely the last track off the last Pink Floyd album, but I'm content, this whole thing is a great gift to people all around the world... very much a valentine to the fans. Thanks guys, great job! :)

ORDERING INFORMATION
You can order the album through the following direct links, all resulting in a small but vital contribution toward our site running costs:

CD & BLU-RAY BOXSET:  Amazon.com  Amazon UK  Canada  Germany  France  Italy  Spain 
CD & DVD BOXSET:  Amazon.com  Amazon UK  Canada  Germany  France  Italy  Spain 
2-LP VINYL EDITION:  Amazon.com  Amazon UK  Canada  Germany  France  Italy  Spain 
CD ONLY EDITION:  Amazon.com  Amazon UK  Canada  Germany  France  Italy  Spain 

For those who prefer their music digitally, you can order the deluxe edition of Pink Floyd's The Endless River through iTunes.

 
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