(8/10) A new album from Pink Floyd wasn't something I expected. It was actually the moment when Richard Wright passed away 6 years ago that seemed to mark also the end of the rock dinosaur. Therefore it was a big and positive surprise when the news about "The endless river" was published.
So what to expect from such an album? First of all it is a new album, but the song ideas are coming from 20 years ago. The material is taken from the "Division bell" session that took place in 1994. Since Wright was involved very much in those ideas and the songs can be even seen as a 'tribute' to the great keyboarder. The new album is a collection of those outtakes which are mainly instrumental tunes.
First thing that shows up is the cover. It's the first one that is not coming from Storm Thorgerson. The famous artist passed away a few years ago and therfore the new cover gives the impression of Pink Flyod, but the typical Thorgerson 'handwriting' is missing. However, Ahmed Emas Eldin, who created the cover, did a very good job. I think the cover reflects the band very well, by not trying to copy Thorgerson.
Nowadays it is only David Gilmour and drummer Nic Mason, representing the classic Pink Floyd line-up. The new album, they worked on, is a purely instrumental one. It focusses on big arcs of melodies dominated by the fantastic guitar lines from Gilmour. Those are embedded in keyboard soundscapes as we now it from the legendary band. To pick out some tracks wouldn't be fair, since each of them is on an extraordinary high level. One exception maybe. The very moving "It's what we do" is my personal highlight on the album. OK, there is a second song that stands out a bit. "On noodle street" sound almost like a track from a lounge music CD. A track that really brings you back to balance after a crazy day.
But I have to say that I had to get used to the fact that we are talking about instrumental music. I miss the vocals. I had it quite some times that I thought "now the vocals will start". You could even imagine the vocal lines. But of course this was wishful thinking. It didn't happen.
To sum up: I think that "The endless river" became a typical Pink Floyd album that I like. There is almost no band that can create this kind of awesome music. But there are also better releases from the iconic band and the fact that there are no vocals is something I had to get used to. Due to that it might feel even a bit 'unfinished'. But however, great music, great musicians, great sound. Still a treat for your ears. Just with less sugar.