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PINK FLOYD

Psychedelic/Space Rock • United Kingdom


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Pink Floyd biography
PINK FLOYD can be considered as one of the leading bands in progressive rock from the seventies, together with YES and GENESIS. Their first line-up consisted of guitarist Syd BARRETT, bassist-singer Roger WATERS (who left the band in 1983), drummer Nick MASON and keyboardist Rick WRIGHT. Their early material was mostly written and sung by BARRETT, at that time the central figure of the group. The first album "The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn" of 1967 contains come catchy pop songs, together with more experimental and longer instrumental pieces. They even reached the Top-20 in England with the song "Arnold LAYNE". In the beginning of 1968, guitarist David GILMOUR joined the band to replace BARRETT in live performances. But BARRETT had to leave the group because of mental instability. In 1970 the band recorded some songs for the cult movie Zabriskie Point including an alternative version of 'Careful With That Axe, Eugene'.

PINK FLOYD became even more successful, whilst playing psychedelic progressive rock with a touch of classical music. 1971 saw the release of "Meddle" (a clever mix of short mellow jazzy tunes and lengthy experimentaltracks) and the soundtrack for the film "La Vallée" ("Obscured By Clouds") was released in 1972. But their most successful album was definitely "Dark Side Of The Moon" (1973), cosmic rock produced by an excellent sound engineer Alan PARSONS. This album is a milestone in progressive rock, great songwriting with lots of special effects and including saxophone and great female vocals. The successor "Wish You Were Here" included the well-known epic song "Shine On You Crazy Diamond". "Animals" is a dark and underrated gem, featuring scathing lyrical accounts on humanity.

End 70's, Roger WATERS influenced both musical and lyrical the albums of the band. In 1979, they released "The Wall", a double album rock opera. After the release of "The Final Cut" in 1983 the band split up for a while. PINK FLOYD released a few albums afterwards without Roger WATERS, but they never reached their previous status. "Echoes", The Best of Pink Floyd, was released in 2001. To celebrate this 30th anniversary a new version of "Dark Side Of The Moon" has been released. This release is a must have for all music lovers young and old. Highly Recommended!

(Claude Bpl)

See also: Zabriskie Point - Original Soundtrack

Pink Floyd official website

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AnimalsAnimals
Legacy 2016
Vinyl$21.56
$17.00 (used)
The Dark Side of the MoonThe Dark Side of the Moon
Legacy 2016
Vinyl$24.00
$24.88 (used)
Pink Floyd: The Wall (25th Anniversary Deluxe Edition)Pink Floyd: The Wall (25th Anniversary Deluxe Edition)
Multiple Formats · AC-3 · Widescreen
Sony Legacy 2005
DVD$13.55
$10.86 (used)
Wish You Were HereWish You Were Here
Pink Floyd Records 2016
Audio CD$8.83
$8.07 (used)
The WallThe Wall
Pink Floyd Records 2016
Audio CD$11.32
$12.00 (used)
Wish You Were HereWish You Were Here
Legacy 2016
Vinyl$23.09
$22.88 (used)
Pink Floyd - PulsePink Floyd - Pulse
Multiple Formats
Sony Legacy 2006
DVD$13.44
$7.19 (used)
The WallThe Wall
Legacy 2016
Vinyl$32.99
$34.44 (used)
1969 Dramatis/ation1969 Dramatis/ation
Box set
Pink Floyd Records 2017
Audio CD$40.19
$43.30 (used)
The Best of Pink Floyd - A Foot In The DoorThe Best of Pink Floyd - A Foot In The Door
Import · Remastered
Capitol Records 2011
Audio CD$5.25
$3.85 (used)
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PINK FLOYD discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

PINK FLOYD top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.88 | 1739 ratings
The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn
1967
3.66 | 1506 ratings
A Saucerful Of Secrets
1968
3.16 | 1146 ratings
More
1969
3.49 | 1473 ratings
Ummagumma
1969
3.87 | 1928 ratings
Atom Heart Mother
1970
4.30 | 2711 ratings
Meddle
1971
3.37 | 1330 ratings
Obscured By Clouds
1972
4.60 | 3784 ratings
Dark Side Of The Moon
1973
4.62 | 3596 ratings
Wish You Were Here
1975
4.52 | 3202 ratings
Animals
1977
4.07 | 2589 ratings
The Wall
1979
3.17 | 1585 ratings
The Final Cut
1983
3.05 | 1482 ratings
A Momentary Lapse Of Reason
1987
3.73 | 1749 ratings
The Division Bell
1994
3.37 | 602 ratings
The Endless River
2014

PINK FLOYD Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.31 | 494 ratings
Delicate Sound Of Thunder
1988
3.94 | 677 ratings
P-U-L-S-E
1995
2.84 | 146 ratings
Live 66-67
1999
4.08 | 442 ratings
Is There Anybody Out There?
2000

PINK FLOYD Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

4.76 | 456 ratings
Live At Pompeii
1981
4.09 | 505 ratings
The Wall (The Movie)
1982
3.63 | 164 ratings
In Concert - Delicate Sound Of Thunder
1989
3.08 | 51 ratings
La Carrera Panamericana
1992
4.42 | 494 ratings
P-U-L-S-E
1995
3.08 | 85 ratings
London - Live 66-67
1999
4.57 | 597 ratings
Live At Pompeii (The Director's Cut)
2003
4.07 | 166 ratings
Classic Albums: The Dark Side Of The Moon
2003
2.95 | 49 ratings
Inside Pink Floyd
2003
3.31 | 64 ratings
The Pink Floyd & Syd Barrett Story
2003
2.44 | 27 ratings
Inside Pink Floyd Volume 2 - A Critical Review 1975 - 1996
2005
2.38 | 15 ratings
The Ultimate Review
2005
2.04 | 19 ratings
The World's Greatest Albums - Atom Heart Mother
2005
2.54 | 18 ratings
Rock Milestones Pink Floyd's Wish You Were Here
2005
2.04 | 18 ratings
Reflections And Echoes
2006
2.81 | 19 ratings
Rock Milestones Pink Floyd's The Piper At The Gates of Dawn
2006
1.38 | 20 ratings
Rock Milestones: Ummagumma
2006
2.16 | 12 ratings
Music Box Biographical Collection
2006
2.40 | 16 ratings
The Dark Side - Interviews
2006
2.27 | 13 ratings
Total Rock Review
2006
2.49 | 17 ratings
Meddle: A Classic Album Under Review
2007
3.16 | 17 ratings
Retrospectives
2007
2.05 | 13 ratings
The Early Pink Floyd - A Review And Critique
2008
2.19 | 12 ratings
Comfortably Numb
2008
3.03 | 17 ratings
A Technicolor Dream
2008
3.62 | 26 ratings
Live Anthology
2008
1.87 | 17 ratings
The Great Gig In The Sky: The Album By Album Guide
2008
3.98 | 76 ratings
The Story of Wish You Were Here
2012

PINK FLOYD Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.12 | 36 ratings
The Best Of The Pink Floyd
1970
3.57 | 335 ratings
Relics
1971
3.20 | 107 ratings
A Nice Pair
1973
2.70 | 58 ratings
Masters Of Rock Vol. 1
1974
2.18 | 185 ratings
A Collection Of Great Dance Songs
1981
2.18 | 133 ratings
Works
1983
3.48 | 84 ratings
Shine On
1992
3.69 | 97 ratings
The Early Singles
1992
5.00 | 5 ratings
The Dark Side Of The Moon (Twentieth Anniversary Edition)
1993
3.07 | 64 ratings
1967: The First Three Singles
1997
3.43 | 237 ratings
Echoes - The Best Of Pink Floyd
2001
4.06 | 77 ratings
Oh By The Way...
2007
2.85 | 52 ratings
A Foot In The Door: The Best Of Pink Floyd
2011
4.49 | 68 ratings
Discovery
2011
4.74 | 122 ratings
The Dark Side Of The Moon - Experience Edition
2011
4.59 | 112 ratings
The Dark Side Of The Moon - Immersion Edition
2011
4.73 | 131 ratings
Wish You Were Here - Experience Edition
2011
4.45 | 100 ratings
Wish You Were Here - Immersion Edition
2011
4.27 | 74 ratings
The Wall - Experience Edition
2011
1.92 | 56 ratings
The Wall Singles
2011
3.82 | 87 ratings
The Wall - Immersion Edition
2012
4.25 | 36 ratings
The Division Bell (20th Anniversary Deluxe Box)
2014
3.38 | 23 ratings
The Early Years 1967-1972 Creation
2016

PINK FLOYD Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

3.75 | 69 ratings
Arnold Layne
1967
3.40 | 82 ratings
See Emily Play
1967
2.86 | 51 ratings
Apples And Oranges
1967
2.59 | 57 ratings
Tonite Let's All Make Love In London
1967
3.54 | 26 ratings
Flaming
1967
3.20 | 36 ratings
It Would Be So Nice
1968
3.64 | 39 ratings
Point Me at the Sky
1968
2.86 | 38 ratings
The Nile Song
1969
3.81 | 70 ratings
One Of These Days
1971
4.42 | 10 ratings
Free Four
1972
4.38 | 8 ratings
Free Four / Absolutely Curtains
1972
3.77 | 79 ratings
Money
1973
3.58 | 72 ratings
Time
1973
3.64 | 66 ratings
Have a Cigar
1975
3.80 | 69 ratings
Comfortably Numb
1979
3.56 | 72 ratings
Another Brick In The Wall
1979
3.42 | 59 ratings
Run Like Hell
1980
3.26 | 54 ratings
When the Tigers Broke Free
1982
1.91 | 50 ratings
Not Now John/The Hero's Return (Part 2)
1983
2.48 | 59 ratings
Learning To Fly (promo single)
1987
3.04 | 49 ratings
On the Turning Away
1987
2.96 | 34 ratings
One Slip
1988
2.95 | 19 ratings
A Momentary Lapse Of Reason Official Tour CD
1988
2.90 | 23 ratings
Shine On - Selections From The Box
1992
3.20 | 69 ratings
High Hopes/ Keep Talking (single)
1994
3.37 | 56 ratings
Take It Back
1994
3.43 | 7 ratings
Interview Disc
1995
4.02 | 43 ratings
Louder Than Words
2014
2.44 | 8 ratings
Pink Floyd 1965 - Their First Recordings
2015

PINK FLOYD Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Ummagumma by PINK FLOYD album cover Studio Album, 1969
3.49 | 1473 ratings

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Ummagumma
Pink Floyd Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE Team

4 stars Many popular bands of the ages seem to have an album that divides the fans. For some it is the zenith of their experimental creativity, yet for some the most unlistenable pompous codswallop that could be unleashed onto unsuspecting ears. But more often than not, the truth lies somewhere in between. For the 60s psychedelic rock masters PINK FLOYD, their 1969 double album UMMAGUMMA (purported to be one of the roadie's made up slang for "sex") is that such album which equally titillates and tortures alike but one thing is for damn sure: there exists no other album in all of music history that even comes close to capturing the unique soundscapes that David Gilmour, Nick Mason, Roger Waters and Richard Wright conjured up during the turbulent times after Syd Barrett left the crew and took with him his dominant psychedelic influences. While the band fully intended to simply release a live album that was to include the extra tracks "Interstellar Overdrive" and "The Embryo," it was thanks to Richard Wright whose desire to make new music that ultimately resulted in the idea of each member composing solo material and using it as the second half of the album. And since the band was actively seeking a new way to construct an album, with UMMAGUMMA they found their perfect solution.

Equally divided up onto two LPs or two CDs, the first side contains contains the live material which despite some earlier copies claiming it was all recorded in June 1969, it actually took place on 27 April 1969 at Mothers Club in Birmingham, England as well as on 2 May at the Manchester College of Commerce. Side one starts things off with the exemplar "Astronomy Domine" which not only presents to the world that the FLOYD can pull off the Syd Barrett material with David Gilmour on board but also how they were evolving into more progressive territories by almost doubling the time length from the original on "The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn" album with an extra verse and lengthy instrumental music in between. Likewise "Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun" was significantly extended to add progressive noodling and extravagant creative liberties whereas the title track to "Saucerful Of Secrets" remained fairly true to the original although i've always found it a little lackluster to the studio version. The true treat came from the B-side track of the non-album single "Point Me At The Sky." "Careful With That Axe Eugene" is nothing more than an organ-based jam session that is accompanied by Roger Waters screaming like he's in the shower scene in the Psycho movie but it offers a glimpse into their seductive hypnotic grooviness that made PINK FLOYD such a popular live act in those most psychedelic years of the 60s.

The second side contains the highly experimental, somewhat controversial and what i deem woefully underappreciated solo offerings where each of the band members took a stab at creating the most unapologetic experimental solo material they could muster up. While Wright, Gilmour and Mason opted for lengthy grandiose suites that were composed of various parts, Roger Waters conjured up two distinctly opposing styles of songwriting in only two tracks. Richard Wright, the impetus for the solo side of the album naturally began with his epic sounding "Sysyphus" which consists of four parts and displays a bombastic approach with a thundering timpani and Chopin inspired piano sequences that allow him to show off his best Keith Emerson inspired chops that slowly cede into the avant-garde world of John Cage that climaxes in pure cacophony. On Part 3 he reveals that he is the mastermind for the freakiest aspects of early Floyd such as the similarly sounding cacophonous roar heard on tracks like "Saucerful Of Secrets." Waters took the opposite approach and delivers a subdued acoustic guitar ballad with vocals that recounts a dreamy meadow scene in the English countryside complete with bird chirping in the background. Also a glimpse into Waters' contributions to the more "regular" sounding aspects of PF's songwriting. Following the serene visions of kingfishers is the avant-garde " "Several Species Of Small Furry Animals Gathered Together In A Cave And Grooving With A Pict," which consists only of animal noises, microphone taps, vocals and tape manipulations. This is by far the most bizarre track ever to grace a PF album and remains one of the most avant- garde pieces of music of all time IMHO.

Gilmour jumps back into a more "normal" sounding FLOYD sound that is fairly ubiquitous on later albums with calm acoustic guitars on his three part "Narrow Way" suite that showcase the segments that reveal his future vital contributions that made albums like "Wish You Were Here" so very, very catchy and emotional. However, this was his license to experiment as well and all hell breaks loose as it transmogrifies into lysergic heaven before landing back on earth and providing a blueprint for the future "Dark Side Of The Moon" material. Nick Mason ends it all with his percussion vs ambient three part "The Grand Vizier's Garden Party" which perfectly exemplifies the world of Sultan's and Viziers of Ottomon Empire days of which is the subject matter. While mostly based on his instantly recognizable drumming style, the trippiness level is turned up to 11 as a calm flute ushers in pleasant melodies only to be replaced by a drum roll and timpani series of sounds that not only give a psychedelic feel but also one of epic days of past. Mason reveals how his unique rhythmic percussive drive has also been vital for the overall FLOYDian sound. After the appropriate percussive drive is established Mason gets all freaky and creates an ambient ethereal passage and then gets all weird with sound dynamics that include a staggeringly original variation of percussive techniques.

When all is said and done, PINK FLOYD were making a statement to the world that they were still alive and kicking despite their main creative member losing his marbles and being forced out of the band. UMMAGUMMA was an early indicator of where PF were heading in the sense that the album serves much like the refraction of light through a pyramid as later seen on the "Dark Side Of The Moon" album cover. Meaning that the members demonstrate on UMMAGUMMA the true magic of the sum of their parts as heard on the live side of the album where it's impossible to distinguish which specific member contributes which specific aspect of the music that creates the larger picture but also the solo studio side of the album clearly indicates which colors of the spectrum emanate from each retrospective band member and allows the listener to pinpoint their retrospective roles in the larger PINK FLOYD discography making this the musical sleuth's essential listening experience.

All time favorite album this may not be for anyone but i can't think of a more interesting and utterly unhinged flow of creative juices that needed to erupt in order for the band to carry on and coalesce into their second personification of space rock. While this is clearly a sort of transitional point between these different phases of the band's history, i find UMMAGUMMA to be the perfect totally whacked out album to soak in when i'm in the mood for something that runs the gamut of tastefully performed classics to the outrageously experimental craziness. Perhaps not an album that makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside but rather one that digs deep into the souls of the musicians thus allowing the listener to get a glimpse of creative musical minds and how their idiosyncrasies contribute to the making of one of the greatest bands to ever have emerged into the world of rock music. For me this is not only one of the greatest historical artifacts that perfectly demonstrates where the world found itself during the awkward odometer change of the 60s to the 70s, but also is an album that i personally still find exciting after countless listens many decades after its initial impact on the world. One star for each member of the band.

 Ummagumma by PINK FLOYD album cover Studio Album, 1969
3.49 | 1473 ratings

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Ummagumma
Pink Floyd Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by VianaProghead

3 stars Review Nº 113

"Ummagumma" is an album of Pink Floyd which was released in 1969. It's a double album divided into two different types of musical works. The disc 1 is a live album of their studio musical catalogue at the time, while disc 2 is a studio album that contains several musical compositions, all composed by each member of the group as solo artists.

"Ummagumma" has sixteen tracks. The disc 1 is the live album and has four tracks. They were recorded live at Mothers Club in Birmingham, and in the following week at Manchester College of Commerce. The first track "Astronomy Domine" is a live version of a song originally released on their debut studio album "The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn". The second track "Careful With That Axe, Eugene" is a live version of a song never released on any of their studio albums. It's an instrumental piece of music that was originally released as the B side of their single "Point Me At The Sky". It was also released on their compilation album, "Relics". The third track "Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun" is a live version of a song originally released on their second studio album "A Saucerful Of Secrets". The fourth track "A Saucerful Of Secrets" is a live version of the title track of their studio album "A Saucerful Of Secrets", too.

In relation to this live album, all the live versions on it are great. "Astronomy Domine" and "Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun" always were two of my favourite songs of the psychedelic musical phase of the group and the only thing I can say is that they are even better than their original studio versions. I must say that I never was a great fan of "Careful With That Axe, Eugene". However, I also must say that this live version is superb and because of that I became a fan of this version of the song. "A Saucerful Of Secrets" is without any doubt my less favourite track of this side of the album, because it has too much improvisation for my taste. However, it's also a great track that doesn't harm the great musical quality of this side of the album. Overall, all these live versions are stranger, wilder, longer, sometimes considerably so, sometimes slower, faster, or louder, at times hypnotically pretty and otherworldly, other times frighteningly creepy and intense, and still otherworldly. In short, the live disc shows the early Pink Floyd at their best.

The disc 2 is the studio album and has twelve tracks. Still, it was divided into four parts, where each part corresponds to each band member. The first part "Sysyphus" is from Richard Wright and is divided into four parts which correspond to four tracks. The second part is from Roger Waters and has two tracks, "Grantchester Meadows" and "Several Species Of Small Furry Animals Gathered Together In A Cave And Growing With A Pict". The third part "The Narrow Way" is from David Gilmour and is divided into three parts which correspond to three tracks. The fourth part "The Grand Vizier's Garden Party" is from Nick Mason and is divided into three parts which correspond to three tracks.

In relation with this studio album, I must say that in general it's a little bit disappointing for me, because of its low overall quality. "Sysyphus" is my favourite part of this studio album. This is an avant-garde piece of music very strange and with a rather sinister atmosphere that sounds like something out of a horror movie. It's, in my opinion, a very good piece of music with some great musical parts. "Grantchester Meadows" is the only solo piece of music on the acoustic guitar with lyrics on the album. In my opinion, it's a typical acoustic song by Roger Waters, very simple and soft, but also very vulgar and extensive. Definitely, this isn't one of his best compositions. "Several Species Of Small Furry Animals Gathered Together In A Cave And Growing With A Pict" represents a complete waste of time. It's a song almost inaudible and I sincerely can't see anything positive on it. This is probably the worst composition ever made by Waters. "The Narrow Way" is, in my humble opinion, an unbalanced piece of music with some low and high points. It's basically an exploration of several guitar styles and is fortunately largely pleasant listening. "The Grand Vizier's Garden Party" is, in my opinion and surprisingly, the second best piece of music on the album. It's a track with an interesting musical structure, very pleasant to listen to, and is for me, the underrated piece of music of this rather strange studio album.

Conclusion: Everything about this album is weird, from its cover, another Hipgnosis classic, to its title, apparently a British slang for sex, its structure and finally its actual contents. "Ummagumma" is comprised of an excellent live disc that represents Pink Floyd's "space rock" peak, followed by a second studio disc that ranges from very good to truly awful. In relation to the live album, we can say that all the four live versions are superior to their studio originals, made longer, louder, harder, all with a real edge of playing. In relation to the studio album, it isn't a musical collective effort of the band and I must confess that I never was a great fan of those types of albums. I must confess that it was very hard for me to rate "Ummagumma". I completely agree with Easy Livin when he says that we are in presence of a good album and a not so good one. This album probably proves that Pink Floyd members are better as a band than as solo artists. It represents really the band's artiest, most experimental, avant-garde, and flat-out album ever made by them.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

 Wish You Were Here by PINK FLOYD album cover Studio Album, 1975
4.62 | 3596 ratings

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Wish You Were Here
Pink Floyd Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by BitterJalapeno

5 stars I owe my love of Progressive music to my Father and Uncle, the latter of which had an impressive collection of vinyl from the 60s & 70s. I may have a slight bias towards Wish You Were Here as it's the first prog album I ever heard (as a 16 year old in 2005, the album cover with the combusting man was too intriguing to pass by). Despite not particularly liking it at first and the fact my favourite Pink Floyd album has changed over the years - DOSTM, Animals, Meddle & Atom Heart Mother - I always come back to Wish You Were Here.

Shine on you Crazy Diamond (1-5) begins with eerie sounds from the late Wright, soon to be joined by Gilmour's smooth, delicious guitar which is played with such effortlessness that it can bring a tear to the eye. The intro is ended by a starkly different atmosphere with a beautifully simple yet massive sounding four note ostinato-like theme played by Gilmour which after a few renditions is joined by Nick Mason's captivating rolling toms and cymbals and a nice accompaniment from Wright. Gilmour leads the way once more with another incredibly effortless sounding solo. Additional outstanding sounds are produced from Dick Parry's Tenor and Baritone Saxophones.

Welcome to the Machine has a very creepy, almost anxious atmosphere about it. Gilmour's vocals add an angry, exasperated and even pained touch to the song, with the ascending steps on acoustic guitars bringing mounting tension which reaches a peak with Wright's incredible synth solo (Minimoog I believe).

Have a Cigar is less progressive than the Welcome to the Machine but I still hold in in high regard. It is easily the rockiest song on the album with a grinding rhythmic quality. The lyrics are incredible and the guitar solo is one of my favourites for sheer groove.

Wish You Were Here starts beautifully with acoustic chords and lead parts from Gilmour but the rest of the song I do not enjoy too much with the exception of the "do do do" vocals in unison with the guitar solo. I hate the production overall as it is very dry. The guitars and vocals both sound overly scratchy and in need a good lubrication if that makes sense.

Shine on you Crazy Diamond (6-9) is without a doubt my favourite track on the album and one of my favourite Floyd songs. I have yet to meet someone who agrees with me on this but I feel it surpasses parts 1-5 in terms of sonic delights. I urge anyone in the Glasgow vicinity to put this song on in the car on the M8 heading for the Kingston Bridge Northbound at night and revel in the beauty of this entrancing journey through sound as you gaze over the Glaswegian nighttime skyline. The vocalized section is barely different from parts 1-5 but the intro is amazingly captivating and the final 6 minutes is one of the most perfect musical compositions I have ever had the pleasure of hearing. The funeral march in the final minutes is reminiscent of instrumental sections of Disney's adaptation of The Jungle Book and despite the minor tone set throughout, it comes to end on a hopeful major - a beautiful example of tierce de picardie

Overall, an absolute stonker of a prog recording but could do with better production on track 4.

 The Wall by PINK FLOYD album cover Studio Album, 1979
4.07 | 2589 ratings

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The Wall
Pink Floyd Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Walkscore

5 stars Even More Relevant Today in the era of Trumps Wall

Pink Floyd are the masters of the concept album, and The Wall is the ultimate concept album. While some fans of PA may be more (or only) interested in the musical side of progressive rock (and I include myself in this when it comes to a lot of albums/musicians), and that is fine, I don't think anyone can deny the importance of this album when it comes to the concept, which is largely Roger Water's brainchild. While the music on The Wall is not quite as strong as that on Dark Side or Wish (some tunes, like 'Bring the Boys Back Home" have little musicality, but they are thankfully very short, and they still add to the story), the Wall still contains some of Floyd's best songs (Comfortably Numb, Mother, etc), and some of Gilmour's best guitar solos, and it all comes together exceptionally well. Most importantly, Water's lyrics here, in my mind, are the best ever written for any rock album, ever. Back a long time ago when this PA site first started, I wrote a few reviews, including for this one (not sure if those reviews exist any more - the site looked very different back then). I called this album the rock equivalent to Tolstoy's War and Peace or Dostoyevsky's Brother's Karamazov in literature, or Ingmar Bergman's Seventh Seal in film. That is, and iconic, original, and masterful work of art that will stand the test of time for many centuries. (A hundred years from now, university programs offering courses in musicology, or even history, may assign whole units to the study of this one album - I think it is that important). I would argue this album and the message the Waters puts forward here has become increasingly important over time. Indeed, life is beginning to (once again, unfortunately) imitate art, in Trumps call to build a Wall along the border with Mexico! Water's concept is about how the horrors of war and a failed post-war dream (for building a peaceful society that is prosperous for all) fuels both resentment and emotional isolation. The internal emotional Wall that the working- and middle- class create for themselves to protect themselves emotionally then gets articulated externally first in destructive, uncaring or selfish behaviour, and then later through the support for intolerant racist populists who want to kick out the foreigners and "make their country Great Again". It is an album that spends a lot of time making these linkages, with the lead character becoming ever-more hateful (one of the cliimaxes from the live shows - both the original and Water's recent performances - is Run Like Hell). This builds up to the finale ('The Trial') where the main character (Pink, which is not only a proxy for Waters himself, but for all of us) tells the world to stop so that he can search his conscience/ face himself for his conflicted feelings. The judge (partly representing social norms, and partly representing that part of our brain that is self-critical of any inability to meet such social norms) declares Pink (us) guilty for having feelings and questioning the mainstream ethos, and sentences him "to be exposed before your peers" (as a real person whose is/has always been internally afraid and unsure, like all of us are, for having real feelings), and orders the wall to be torn down so that everyone can see the real person behind it. Waters is here saying that the only real way forward for building a peaceful world is understanding and accepting our inherent humanity. We have to tear down the Wall of indifference, intolerance, uncaring. The final piece - 'Outside the Wall' - speaks of the solution going forward - the "bleeding hearts and artists" making their stand, helping others find peace and understanding through their hard work, their art, their writing, their political organizing. This is a message that resonates very strongly, and to this day remains unmatched by any other album that I know of (if you know of one, please fill me in!). I give this album my highest ever rating, a 9.9 out of 10 on my 10-point scale (it loses 0.1 as the music is not totally perfect, although I can think of no better match for the lyrics).

But I think this album goes beyond ratings. I think it is absolutely essential to continue hearing this message today. The world seems to be becoming increasingly beset by intolerance and unwillingness to try and understand others, an inability to see ourselves and our humanity in others, to accept even in ourselves our shared existential fears, and like Water's predicted, it is being driven by the failed dreams of everyday people who are becoming disillusioned (and, I would add, ever-deeper in debt). It is leading to the support for intolerant leaders and authoritarian populists who scapegoat the weakest, and who in turn are irresponsibly bringing the world closer to mistrust, conflict, and hatred, just like in the album, and potentially even to war and violence. We need to resist. We need to build understanding, not walls.

Tear Down the Wall !

 Dark Side Of The Moon by PINK FLOYD album cover Studio Album, 1973
4.60 | 3784 ratings

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Dark Side Of The Moon
Pink Floyd Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Walkscore

5 stars What can be said about this album that hasn't been said? Like perhaps many other fans, this was the album that opened my window not just to progressive rock, but to the world of music at large, and thus was profoundly life-changing. I actually received this as a birthday present from a friend who thought (based on the cover!) that it was the next Prism album (they had a radio hit with "Armageddon" back in the late 70s). But although few of my friends even liked at at the time (this was pre-teens, perhaps 11-12 years old), when I listened to it, I was riveted. This was both highly intellectual AND emotional, and it not only developed musically over the entire album, but presented a thoughtful argument (or set of arguments); a concept album inquiring about the nature of madness and the purpose of life. It (almost literally it seems) woke me up, and was what got me interested in discovering similar albums, and I would even say it was partly instrumental in getting me interested in thinking about the big questions in life. Waters has remarked what matters most about any work of art is whether it moves you. This one clearly does, still. And it does so through an almost-perfect mating of the lyrical and intellectual with the musical. Gilmour's guitar solos on Time and Money, I think, to do this day are almost unmatched for their emotional weight (perhaps only matched by his later ones on the Wall). (You want a guitar solo that really makes you FEEL the song to your core? Follow Gilmour on this album). While some question whether Floyd is truly "progressive" (because the music is ultimately quite simple and easy to play), I would say that 'progressive' is a state of mind (intellectual, emotional, political, and musical), and this album (and similar other concept albums) are archetypical of this. It was when I heard, as an early teen, that Floyd had played with Soft Machine that I decided to pick up some of the latter bands albums, starting a musical journey that saw me spend much of my savings on Soft Machine boots, both before and after CDs came along. Is there any flaw with this album? A very minor point, but the production is very slick, and I like things a bit more spontaneous and raw. I get my fill of the latter by playing bootlegs of the 1972 version of Dark Side, before they had written the album versions of On the Run and Great Gig (which they did in the studio). This album totally stands the test of time, as one of the still very best ever made, of any musical genre. I give this 9.7 out of 10 on my 10-point scale.
 A Saucerful Of Secrets by PINK FLOYD album cover Studio Album, 1968
3.66 | 1506 ratings

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A Saucerful Of Secrets
Pink Floyd Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Scorpius

4 stars Saucerful of Secrets is an album that quite effectively summarizes its contents in the title. Many hidden Pink Floyd gems are contained on this album. Syd Barrett, at the peak of his insanity, only gets to sing on one song on this album, which is almost completely opposite of their first. Waters and Wright step up to the plate to serve us this near perfect dish of Prog Psych Salad. Picking standout tracks on this album is like picking which one of my children is my favorite. I don't have any children but I imagine it would be a hard choice. (Bet you didn't expect that cliche to turn into an unfunny joke that is completely unrelated to the discussion at hand). Though the band seemed to be in a bit of turmoil at the time, this album shines through, with its themes of war, insanity, and cosmic beings. Most of these topics would be revisited by the Floyd in later albums, so in a way, this album is one of their most influential. While a little rough around the edges production-wise, this album remains one of my favorites and an underrated classic. The album doesn't really contain enough material to warrant a perfect 5/5 rating, but its an amazing effort that should not be overlooked by any self-respecting Prog fan.

Final Rating: 4/5

Best Tracks: Set the Controls.../ Title Track

Worst Tracks: See-Saw (not really bad, just weaker than the rest of the album)

 A Momentary Lapse Of Reason by PINK FLOYD album cover Studio Album, 1987
3.05 | 1482 ratings

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A Momentary Lapse Of Reason
Pink Floyd Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Scorpius

2 stars A Momentary Lapse of Reason was the first album "Pink FLoyd" released after Roger Waters left the band. David Gilmour took control of the band in Waters-like fashion and thus, this album was born. As a truly hardcore PF fan, it pains me to say that this album doesn't satisfy me. Sure, some of the tracks are absolutely outstanding - Sorrow being the best with On the Turning Away a close second, followed by Learning to Fly. Thats it, though. Once you have heard these tracks you can walk away from this album and not miss a thing. Not to discredit the album; it was influential in that it started PF on a new path towards a potentially brighter future, one not ruled and dictated by Waters. Yet, there is always something missing when I go back and relive this album. What could it possibly be? Oh yeah, it's Waters. Hes gone. Once Waters left, practically any semblance of lyric writing technique flew out the window. Richard Wright is a lyrical genius, but he only got to write a few songs Post-Waters. To make a long story short, I "like" this album to a certain extent, but as a massive PF fan and lover of Prog Rock, I cannot let this slide. It just isn't progressive. Sorry Gilmour, hopefully you do better next time. (Spoiler alert, he does better next time).

FInal Rating: 2/5

Best Track: Sorrow

Worst Track(s): A New Machine, Dogs of War, Signs of Life

 The Early Years 1967-1972 Creation by PINK FLOYD album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2016
3.38 | 23 ratings

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The Early Years 1967-1972 Creation
Pink Floyd Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Neu!mann
Prog Reviewer

3 stars You won't be reading a review from this pauper of the 28(!)-disc "Early Years" box set, compiling (to exhaustive completion) the budding career of Pink Floyd, before they hit the bullseye on "The Dark Side of the Moon". This two-disc reduction is better suited to my proletarian budget, although it's more a frustrating teaser than a suitable alternative.

The frustration is in the track selection, and the overall size of the abbreviated set. Hidden inside the package is an excellent single disc of worthwhile rarities, spread unevenly over two half-filled CDs padded with songs we've heard countless times already: "Arnold Layne"; "See Emily Play"; "Jugband Blues" and so forth. The remixes are fresh but not exactly new, and even the very different alternate version of "Matilda Mother" was recycled from the 2010 CD "An Introduction to Syd Barrett".

That's the bad news. The good news is the remaining unreleased music: pure gold to collectors, only slightly tarnished by age. The various BBC Radio sessions, and in particular the May 1969 set recorded five months before the "Ummagumma" album hit record stores, vividly recapture the underground mystique of the early Floyd: the drifting space-rock tempos, sliced by David Gilmour's emotive guitar runs and that ethereal organ sound Rick Wright favored at the time.

The leftover "Zabriskie Point" soundtrack cues on Disc Two point directly toward "The Dark Side of the Moon". But the real gem here is a live version of the "Atom Heart Mother" suite from late 1970, performed by just the quartet, without any orchestral distraction. All good stuff, if somewhat haphazardly organized, and representing only the tip of an enormous iceberg. If you want the rest of the treasure, you'll need to dig deep inside your pockets for (no joke) the half-grand of loose change the full box is commanding on today's market.

We now seem to have crossed over into the endless archive stage of Pink Floyd's afterlife. Rumors say other individual discs from the box might be made available throughout the upcoming year, but until then this sampler will pacify the many diehard fans who consider the band in these formative years to be the only real Pink Floyd.

 Meddle by PINK FLOYD album cover Studio Album, 1971
4.30 | 2711 ratings

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Meddle
Pink Floyd Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by ProgMirage1974

4 stars REVIEW #7 - "Meddle" by Pink Floyd (1971)

Following their album "Atom Heart Mother", Pink Floyd was in a dilemma where they really did not know where to go. The previous album was a largely experimental work, but there was no concrete harmony between the songs to create a cohesive album. Nevertheless, the band attempted to correct this issue by recording a new album. Using various recording techniques, and overcoming creative roadblocks, songs began to flow and the album was recorded amidst the band's touring schedule. Upon release, it was a hit in the UK, and is considering to be a great step in the right direction for the band. The cover of the album, once again designed by Hipgnosis, is of an ear underwater (it was originally supposed to be a close up of a baboon's anus, but the band vetoed that idea).

The album opens up with an avant-garde piece titled "One of These Days" (4/5); the lone single to be released from the album. Centered around a bass line, played by two bass guitars (Waters, Gilmour) it is mostly instrumental. After a lengthy build-up, we hear the distorted voice of drummer Nick Mason say "One of these days I'm going to cut you into little pieces" before the song hits a groovy tempo, eventually faded out by the sound of wind to segue into the next song "A Pillow of Winds" (4/5); an acoustic soft song (about Mahjong) reminiscent of the shorter tracks on their previous album. This one however is far better in comparison, attaining a dreamy tone with Gilmour's soft spoken vocals. Next up is the track "Fearless" (3/5); most notable for featuring the anthem of Liverpool F.C. "You'll Never Walk Alone" as a sound effect among the music, then "San Tropez" (5/5); another soft track like the second track on the album, yet a bit groovier. Based on the French town along the Mediterranean Sea, it captures the calm dreamy tone very well. The final song on side one is the humorous "Seamus" (1/5), a bluesy song with the constant annoying sound of a dog barking in the background. Overall this first side is really good - the softer tracks are very strong, while the opener has a solid build up and a great tone thereafter. The only disappointing facet here is that closing track - one of the more annoying songs I have ever heard, and is frankly just not in place on the album. At best, this should have been a B-side, and it unfortunately drags the entire first side down as it ends, leaving the listener confused as to how the album started off so promising, but ended so oddly.

Side two is what this album is famous for. With one track, it is the legendary twenty-three minute masterpiece "Echoes" (5/5). Opening with a trademark pinging noise created by keyboardist Richard Wright after playing a single piano note through a Leslie speaker, the music unfolds, propelling the listener into a different world, as the first verse of lyrics establishes a surreal ocean setting. The second verse is less clear; possibly having something to do about we as humans are interconnected. Following these lyrics we guitar a solid guitar solo as the tense atmosphere gives way to a groovy tempo change before leveling off completely into nothingness. Now with the listener somewhere deep in interstellar space, the music comes back very slowly as you are sent back to the world of the song. Another set of lyrics follows before the song closes slowly and with grandeur. The journey ends as the pinging from the beginning returns, book-ending the song perfectly. One of the greatest prog rock songs, and arguably the best epic to come from Pink Floyd, this song is a must-listen. Whether it be under the stars, or as you are falling asleep, this song has the rare ability to separate you from reality and bring you into a different world. The entire first side does not matter when put in comparison with this song - you could take ELP's "Love Beach" and make it the first side and this album would still be great.

"Meddle" would kickstart Pink Floyd's slow but monumental climb to fame. Emerging from the dilemma of direction put forth by "Atom Heart Mother", the band received acclaim for the album - most notably for "Echoes". Later that year, the band would record a live "movie" of the band playing in the deserted town of Pompeii in Italy with both "One of These Days" and "Echoes" featured (the version of "Echoes" on Live at Pompeii is amazing - I highly recommend you listen to it if you have not already). Reaching #3 on the album charts in the UK, it only reached #70 in the US due to poor advertising. Definitely one of the seminal works by the band, the first side is not recommended listening, but the album is worth listening to (and enduring "Seamus") for "Echoes." This album certainly would have scored higher if it had a stronger first side, but receives a good score nonetheless.

OVERALL: 4.0/5 (B-)

 The Endless River by PINK FLOYD album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.37 | 602 ratings

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The Endless River
Pink Floyd Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Trollheart

3 stars Sailing down the Endless River: Riding the gravy train, a momentary lapse of reason or Crazy diamonds still shining on?

Posthumous albums are always a little hard to take. Usually released by a label after the death of the artiste, they have a certain creepy quality, as you realise you're listening to the words and/or music of a man, woman or band who are no longer alive. Although still with us, the corpse of Pink Floyd has been floating down the (endless) river for some time now, just waiting for someone to fish it out and give it the decent burial it deserves. There are those (and they are many and vociferous) who will tell you that Floyd died when founder and creative light Roger Waters left them in an acrimonious split in 1985, and indeed even before that, The Wall was 99% his vision and his project and the final album to feature him, The Final Cut, featured so little input from the other two members (and none at all from Richard Wright) that it may as well have been his solo album in all but name. Shortly after that he left the band to pursue that solo career, and Pink Floyd were considered all but dead.

But I'm one of the few (hah!) that enjoyed the two non-Waters Floyd albums that followed his departure, and while 1987's A Momentary Lapse of Reason and 1991's The Division Bell can't in fairness hold a candle to albums like Wish You Were Here, Animals or Dark Side of the Moon, I thought they were pretty cool. I've always been one of those who refuse to cry "Band X is no use without singer Y!" I went through the trauma of Fish parting ways with Marillion, got used to Genesis without Gabriel and enjoyed an Ozzy-less Sabbath. To me, a band is more than just a singer or a frontman, and those who whine that the band will never be the same without the main vocalist and/or creator/founder are I think doing that band a great disservice. And so it was that I was prepared to accept Floyd after Waters, and though it was odd to hear the songs without his distinctive, tortured voice, I thought Gilmour did a decent job. But when the final notes faded away on "High hopes" as The Division Bell came to an end, I, like probably everybody else, believed we were hearing the very last music ever to be released by this band which was now a shadow of its former self. With the death of Richard Wright in 2008, I mourned and thought well that is definitely it: they can't come back now. It's over.

But it isn't over.

Or is it? When news broke of a "new" Pink Floyd album there was of course a flurry of expectations and my own emotions went from disbelief to joy to finally settle on suspicion as the details began to filter through. Not so much a new album then as a collection of studio outtakes and cutting-room floor debris from the sessions for the last "proper" Floyd album. But the obvious question came up: if this material was not deemed good enough to find its way onto The Division Bell, why was it now thought suitable for release? What had changed? All right, the story goes that much of the music that appears on The Endless River was composed by Wright, and Gilmour and Mason wanted to create a sort of tribute to him, and that's all right as far as it goes. But to announce it as a new album? Was that not pushing it ever so slightly?

My comments above echo (though I had and have not read it) a comment Gilmour made in the book Comfortably numb: the inside story of Pink Floyd when speaking of the making of The Final Cut. He asked, "if these songs (the ones being considered for The Final Cut which had been part of the sessions for The Wall but had not made it) were not good enough for The Wall, why are they good enough now?" Indeed, David. Indeed. A question we must all have been asking.

So are they? Good I mean. It's a perfectly valid question: if, when making what should have been their final album, Gilmour, Wright and Mason discarded these pieces of music (can't really call them songs) then why should they be considered acceptable not only to be released now, twenty years later, but to form the basis of a so-called "new" Pink Floyd album? Have the guys suddenly realised they were after all better than they believed they were in 1994, or is it really just that they want to honour their fallen bandmate by presenting to the world music he wrote but which never saw the light of day, until now?

Or, indeed, as many have hinted and I have to also ask, is this new album, the last ever from Pink Floyd -and we have that officially: no Eagles Hell Freezes Over ambiguity here! - nothing more than an exercise in cynicism and money-grabbing, a last chance to make some cash off the hard-pressed fans in this troubled economy? And if so, shouldn't the remaining members of Pink Floyd hang their heads in shame, having already broken records by releasing arguably the biggest attempt to rip fans off with their Immersion boxsets, each of which contained approximately SIX discs PER ALBUM and cost in the region of 100 EURO EACH! Sure, nobody put a gun to anyone's head and forced them to buy the sets, but if, as a diehard Floyd fan, you had to have these, then even for the main albums you're looking at shelling out over a THOUSAND Euro! That's bigtime rip-off in anyone's book, I don't care what you say.

So if, as one of these diehard fans, you outlaid the money on these sets in 2011, what would you expect from a new Pink Floyd album? I'd venture to say it would not be rehashed, re-recorded half songs that were not deemed good enough for the recording of The Division Bell. But that's what you get, and as this is your final ever chance to hear new (!) Pink Floyd music, do you buy the album and take a chance, or refuse to be the instrument by which Dave Gilmour buys a new house or Nick Mason adds to his classic car collection? This is Pink Floyd's final ever album, their swan song, but is it one worth hearing? Or to put it another way, in the words of a guy I used to know, is this The Endless River or The Endless Pension? After all this waffle, and after two decades, it's time to find out.

The first thing I'm struck by, despite the album's filching of the last few words of "High hopes", is the echoes (hah, again!) of 1987's A Momentary Lapse of Reason. That album began with the sound of a man rowing, and here on the cover of this album we see ... a man rowing. Well, punting, but it's very close. So the themes of rivers has been something flowing (sorry, sorry) through the post-Waters Floyd, has it? Well, no not really. Other than those two songs, which reference waters (ah, I know: sorry, I couldn't resist!) there's no real connection, but when you look incidentally at the track listing for both albums there are song titles there, many of which could refer to this album and its release: "What do you want from me?" might be an idea of Gilmour's frustration at some of the reviews of the album, though if he's surprised at its reception then he should not be. "Poles apart"? Sure. "High hopes", certainly, though probably in vain. Not to mention "Coming back to life" and, er, "Lost for words". As for A Momentary Lapse of Reason? Well "A new machine" is a possible link, as is "Yet another movie", but in reality I think the closing track from that album sums up a lot of feelings about the direction this has gone. Yeah, "Sorrow" more or less covers it.

But in all this analysis and all these clever, self-congratulatory comments, has the music itself become lost, relegated to the sidelines, a bit player destined to be overlooked as critics argue back and forth about the merits of releasing an album of basically extra tracks from a twenty-year-old recording session? Well not here anyway. Grab a set of oars, make sure your lifejacket is inflated, and take your seasick pills if you need them, cos we're climbing on board and we're going in.

Well, ambient they said it would be and ambient is definitely the feeling as "Things left unsaid" opens with a spacey keyboard and spoken words, sort of putting me in mind of the start of Dark Side, then one big bouncy echoey drumbeat before the keys go into a melody that this time reminds me of "Signs of life" from Momentary Lapse. Gilmour's guitar comes in then, moaning and crying like a violin as the spacey atmospheric soundscape continues to pulse behind him, but it's now clear that, as ever, Gilmour is in charge and standing in the spotlight. In much the same way as, in the beginning, "Shine on you crazy diamond" rode on Wright's keyboard, but once Gilmour broke in he took the tune over, so too here he stands astride the piece like an undeniable colossus. Some really nice organ from the ghostly fingers of Wright before we're pulled into "It's what we do". Gilmour has said that this album is not for "the itunes, download-a-song generation" and needs to be listened to in one sitting, and you can see the intention there as the music all drifts together, one piece flowing seamlessly into the next, so that it's almost like one long symphony. However, it's hard to forgive the second track being basically the closing section of "Shine on" polished (sorry) up and extended. I do love the song - who doesn't? - but this is something of a cop-out. If these are unused tunes from the Division Bell sessions, why is such old material here? There are echoes of "Welcome to the machine" too, particularly in Gilmour's chords. It drifts right back to the "Shine on" theme though, and as the piece comes to an end you're really waiting for Gilmour to sing "Remember when you were young"...

It's great music, there's no doubt about that. It's just that it is, generally, music we've heard before, and many years ago in most cases. "Ebb and flow" sounds very close to the last few moments of "Shine on, part VI" stretched out to an unnecessary and in some cases unsustainable two minutes almost, and while there are lovely organ and synth touches from Wright, as well as of course superb piano, it's a bit of a non-event. More looking back to "Signs of life" then for "Sums", throwing in some effects used in "Welcome to the machine" with some shimmery keyboard before finally we get a proper attack from Gilmour as his guitar screams in fury at having been held back so long, but again it's "Welcome" all over again. It's a great guitar piece, sure, and it reminds us what a god Gilmour is, but have the idol's feet turned to clay? There's nothing very new or innovative here. In fact, I'm surprised to say that we're now four tracks in and I don't hear anything resembling any track from The Divsion Bell, nothing that could have been considered for that album, as this is supposed to be.

Quickly then we pass into "Skins", where Mason gets to unleash his expertise on the sticks, almost a drum solo with Gilmour adding little flourishes here and there. Only just over two and a half minutes but my least favourite on the album so far. As Vim said in Bad News, can't stand drum solos. Then with more "Shine on" descending keys we're into "Unsung", a mere minute of almost trancey keyboard with guitar screeching over it, reminiscent of The Wall I feel, until "Anisina" closes out the first disc, sounding to me unaccountably like Alan Parsons Project's "Time". Weird. Very piano driven, nice tune, and at least it doesn't sound like any previous Floyd recording. The first one I've actually enjoyed on the album. Sounds like it has sax on it too: yeah, definitely sax, courtesy of Israeli jazz hornman Gilad Atzmon. Very stirring and dramatic.

Of the seven tracks that follow (side three), six are less than two minutes and three, weirdly, are exactly 1:43. Not only that, but they're the first three. "The lost art of conversation" has a deep, luscious synth and Gilmour's high- pitched guitar, but then settles down to allow Wright's sumptuous piano to drive it. It is however only getting going when it's over, and "On Noodle Street" carries the tune into a sort of Knopfleresque slow boogie, with Gilmour coming much more to the fore and Guy Pratt filling in really well for Waters on bass, as he has done for some time now. Electric piano from Wright comes in before "Night light" returns the spotlight to the man on the frets, and again we're back shining on, you crazy diamond, with a slight, almost Genesisesque twist in the melody. "Allons-y (1) gives us "Run like Hell" revisited, with Gilmour cranking up the guitar and the tempo, Mason's drumming much more animated and the organ from Wright pretty much pushed into the background. It's derivative, incredibly and annoyingly so, but at least it kicks the album up the arse and gives you something to tap your fingers to, if not shake your head. In other words, it lifts the album out of the quiet, soporific torpor it has been sliding into and delivers something of a punch from an entity that seemed almost asleep. An almost Bach-like organ takes "Autumn '68", slowing things back down with a feeling of Pink Floyd meets Vangelis before we move into "Allons-y (2)", which builds a lush soundscape on the synth, then kicks up into another memorable Floyd piece, kind of more "Run like Hell" really. Then we have the pretty godawful (and terribly titled) "Talkin' Hawking", which is essentially the spoken parts from "Keep talking" extended, backed with a slow organ melody, the first appearance of those iconic Pink Floyd female backing vocals so associated with Waters and used quite sparingly after he departed. Nice guitar work certainly, but I could do without the Professor droning on. I didn't like it on "Keep talking" and I certainly don't like the extended version. It's also very badly mixed, as Glimour's guitar and indeed Mason's drumming often overpower the spoken parts, making it hard to make out what is being said, which is pretty ironic for a song so titled.

And so we move into the final part of the album, or "side four", with a strange little ambient beginning to "Calling", then some moaning guitar and thick bass before the keys rise into the mix and an almost Arabic passage takes the tune. More nice understated piano, then guitar rises like some beast out of the depths. As the piece nears its end it drops back to soft piano, choral vocals and slow, echoey drumming and takes us into "Eyes to pearls", a definite vehicle for the strumming guitar work of Gilmour, but very ? and I mean very - close in melody to Marillion's "Berlin". Spooky. Rushing, crashing percussion washes over the tune and carries us away, and we find ourselves "Surfacing", with acoustic guitar and more "Shine on" closing parts, with echoes of "Your possible pasts" there if you listen for them closely enough, or are as anal as I am.

There is some lovely interplay between Gilmour and Wright here though, and I'd probably class this as my second favourite, one of the longer tracks at just shy of three minutes. Personally, I think both in title, mood and music this would have been the perfect track to end the album on, but this is seen as a new Pink Floyd album after all, the last one ever, and the record companies will have their pound of flesh ("We're just knocked out/ We heard about the sellout") meaning that the instrumental nature of the album has to be destroyed by a vocal song. Now while I really like "Louder than words", it comes as something of a jarring experience after nearly forty minutes of pure music. Gilmour still has it as a vocalist though, and it's a good song, it's just a pity it's so transparently written as an attempt to hit the singles charts. One final sellout before you go, lads?

So what's the verdict? Well I'll get to that in just a moment. But first I'd like to reiterate what I said above in the actual review, and that is that I don't hear anything here that could have ended up on The Division Bell, other than maybe the closer. For me, this sounds more like unused material from everything from Dark Side of the Moon to The Wall. I find it hard to believe that in 1994, working on what was to be their final proper album, Gilmour, Wright and Mason were thinking about and writing in the style of music they had produced two decades earlier. Far from making me want to revisit The Divison Bell, it's more Wish You Were Here that's playing in my mind, and that the album I want to listen to now. Famed as the band who put the experiment in musical experimentation, it seems unlikely they would still be stuck in that old 1973 groove. But the music here mostly reflects that, to me anyway. If someone had given me this on disc, told me it was unused material from a session for an album and asked me to guess which album, I'd be going for Wish You Were Here with maybe Dark Side as a possibility. I would never in a million years have guessed it was from the recording sessions for The Division Bell.

The music is really great, but with Pink Floyd really great is not good enough, and given that this is to be their final album, I think they really shortchanged the fans here. If they really wanted to put out one more record before disappearing "far away, across the field", then they should, in my opinion, have written something totally new, something that would stand to them and that would have made a fitting tribute and end to their forty years in the music business. Pink Floyd almost single-handedly invented the idea of crossing from psychedelic to progressive rock, and for them to bring the curtain down in such a, well, uninspiring way is a real disappointment.

Of course, I had to some degree made up my mind about this album before listening to it: the idea of "a load of stuff that wasn't used now being put out" did not sit well with me, and it felt like the remaining members of Floyd were scraping the bottom of the barrel and slapping it on a disc, hoping to sell it rather than throw it out. To be fair, had they done this and then offered the album for download totally free, that might not have been so bad - we have these tracks, we didn't think they were that good but you might like them so here you go - but they expect people to pay for these, and in fact there are two versions of the album, a deluxe one with two extra tracks plus bonus videos, which no doubt costs more, is really a little over the top I feel. So to again return to Dark Side, they're giving none away.

But I must say I do like the music. It does wander and meander, somewhat like the river in the title, and ideas seem to be half-formed, in some cases just getting going when they're over, in others more or less staggering along, kind of lost and unable to find their way back. Some of it certainly deserves the title of the ninth track, "On Noodle Street", as it is pointless jamming and experimenting. It's almost, in some ways, like the tuneup before the show, except that this is the show! But some of the music is really good, just a pity it doesn't go anywhere. I see why Gilmour says it needs to be listened to in one sitting, though for me one was definitely enough.

He says this is the last Floyd album, that there'll be no more. Well that's no surprise. With the passing of Richard Wright and the Satan-skating-to-work possibility of Waters ever rejoining, another Pink Floyd album is about as likely as a new Beatles one. Which is why the news that there was a new one was initially greeted with much skepticism, then excitement, then disappointment when we learned what the "new" album consisted of. It is I feel a little harsh of Gilmour (and let's be honest: Floyd has been Gilmour for quite a while now) to end his career on this somewhat sour and commercial note. For a band who struggled to make it, then became bigger than most other bands and passed into music history, it's a sad end I feel and something of a middle finger to the fans. I thought Roger Waters was the one who had contempt for his followers?

In the end though, what I write here will not change your opinion. If you like The Endless River then you'll like it and if you hate it you'll hate it. Me? I think it's okay; certainly has its moments but they're a little too far spaced out among the wide variety of tracks here to make any real impact on me. As an album, and purely taking it on track numbers, it's good value at 18 tracks, though the whole thing only clocks in at a total of just over fifty-five minutes. For a double album that's pretty short, and for an album that rings down the curtain on forty-five years of music it's hardly inspiring.

It's even hard to see this as a Pink Floyd album, as much of the time it really does not sound like them. Floyd had instrumental tracks sure, but they were never what anyone would call ambient: their instrumentals had a hard, bitter edge. Think "Any colour you like", "Marooned" or even the instrumental majority of "Shine on." There's an anger there, a sense of frustration, of loss and of exasperation. I don't hear that here. It sounds more like Floyd have settled nicely into their retirement and are happy to sit back and watch the grass grow, happy that there are no lunatics on it anymore.

This could have been so much more. But for what it is, I have to give them credit. It is very good. Mostly. But they're kind of standing on the shoulders of giants, even if those giants are their own previous albums, and you wonder what would have happened had they not had that elevation? Perhaps they might have faded away, slowly losing relevance in a world that contains too many kids now who ask "Pink who?" Still, they would have had retained some of their integrity, I feel. Many people slated The Division Bell, but I enjoyed it, and I think it could have been the proper swan song for Floyd.

But I suppose the important thing for Gilmour and Mason is that The Endless River will supply them with an endless amount of retirement money, and serve to finance their solo careers, or whatever they choose to do in a post-Floyd world. I don't begrudge them their retirement, I just wish they could have bowed out more gracefully, instead of kow-towing to the corporate shills and leaving us with a rather unsettling line from Dark Side to perhaps encompass their feelings towards their fans as they wave goodbye from the tinted windows of their private jet: "I'm all right Jack, keep your hands off my stack!"

Bon voyage, boys. May the endless river help you to forget when you used to swim against the tide, and not go with the flow.

What would Syd think of it all, I wonder? Or, to paraphrase progressive rock icons Van der Graaf Generator, whatever would Roger have said?

Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition. and to NotAProghead for the last updates

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