Every Pink Floyd enthusiast’s wariness with regards to The Endless River has been confirmed with Louder Than Words, the group’s first song in twenty years, the track sallying out from precisely where the band left off with The Division Bell, its systematic wilting included.
David Gilmour, Nick Mason, and the departed Richard Wright’s new record under the Pink Floyd banner is set to be released on November 10th. Try as they did to distract from the fact that The Endless River is in truth a revision of unreleased material, specifically 1994’s unreleased Division Bell companion piece The Big Spliff, Louder Than Words, at least sonically, gives evidence to the unlucky truth. Gilmour’s delicate voice, though aged, still soothes with its seamlessness, Wright’s subtle arrangements on the track still suffuses its nuances, and Nick Mason continues to lead the band quietly. It is very serene and thoroughly recycled.
Difficult as it is to even dare press on with the Pink Floyd canon, considering the playfully avant-garde contributions of Syd Barrett, its monomaniacal perfectionism under the thumb of Roger Waters as well as its somewhat stock, self-possessed but nevertheless pleasant stage under the directions of David Gilmour and Polly Sampson, when a band of such stature decides to reclaim its name and legacy twenty years after an abrupt swan song, then the act of recycling old material and releasing it as a state-of-the-art, original piece of work is absolutely bewildering and upsetting. Already, it looks as if The Endless River will be an unnecessary blemish on a great band’s legacy of originality, with an inaugural track that possesses very little of Pink Floyd’s innovation and moxie, letting lines like “the sum of our parts, the beat of our hearts is louder than words” pass without any trace of self-awareness, and worse, even lacking the heart that atoned for the band’s dearth of originality in its final years.
Had The Endless River been presented as a collection of B-side material, perhaps it wouldn’t have to take on the stain that even a mere song can leave on its legacy. But this record is being promoted as Pink Floyd proper, unveiling snippets that have stirred more unease than excitement, and so utterly vague in its delineation that optimists still hoped for Waters’ association with the product (and it is exactly that: a product). Alas, it’s best to treat Louder than Words as a warning rather than a celebration. The sooner The Endless River is dealt with as an anachronism, the easier it can be enjoyed by the sole dint of the name containing its mundanity.
The tracklist for The Endless Rivers is as follows:
1. Things Left Unsaid
2. It’s What We Do
3. Ebb and Flow
8. The Lost Art of Conversation
9. On Noodle Street
10. Night Light
11. Allons-y (1)
13. Allons-y (2)
14. Talkin’ Hawkin’ (featuring Stephen Hawking)
16. Eyes To Pearls
18. Louder Than Words