What does it sound like?:
The final album released while Pink Floyd was still an active band, this year marks the 25th anniversary of The Division Bell, reissued now as a double album on heavyweight translucent blue vinyl no less, again using the 2014 remaster. As you’d expect, the overall package has been put together with great care and attention to detail, and is beautifully presented in a gatefold sleeve (remember them – ah those were the days!) with its now seminal artwork.
While 1987’s A Momentary Lapse of Reason was effectively a Gilmour solo record in all but name, this set was a more collaborative effort with Nick Mason and in particular Rick Wright taking a much more active role, and having a lot more input into the composition and performance of the material.
Having said that, some of the songs on offer are not that special in what is certainly something of a mixed bag. Cluster One and Marooned are bog standard instrumentals that Gilmour could write in his sleep and don’t really stand out compared to the band’s earlier works, while unexceptional and largely forgettable lightweight songs such as Poles Apart, Take It Back and Lost For Words are nothing to write home about. However, I do have a lot of time for two often neglected pieces, Gilmour’s Coming Back To Life and Wright’s poignant and touching Wearing The Inside Out. The two real stand out tracks though are the Stephen Hawking infused Keep Talking and the closing High Hopes, the last Floyd classic and a fitting swansong for the band. Overall then, not a totally satisfactory conclusion to the band’s recording career, this set being, in truth, something of a curate’s egg. Of course, there was still the postscript Endless River set to come many years down the line to put the final full stop on the work of this great and still massively influential band.
What does it all *mean*?
For me, Pink Floyd was never the same creative force after the acrimonious departure of Roger Waters – love him or loathe him, he was the one who came up with the big ideas, and his lyrics put those of the vast majority of the subsequent songs, which for the most part were written by Gimour’s wife Polly Samson, to shame. However, the two albums they produced while still an active unit did at least offer a few gold nuggets to be found among the sand and grit.
Goes well with…
Looking forward to whatever comes next from the archives, maybe the Animals deluxe edition or perhaps the rumoured Later Years box set.
Might suit people who like…
Floyd, classic rock.