Pink Floyd has released "Louder Than Words," its first new track in two decades and the only song off the group's long-awaited new album to feature any vocals. Singer/guitarist David Gilmour has stated that The Endless River, the band's first album since 1994's The Division Bell, will be Floyd's final release. But to call the music "new" is really only half right.
Much of the material on The Endless River dates back to 1993, from sessions for The Division Bell. Yet in 2013 and this year, Floyd singer/guitarist David Gilmour and drummer Nick Mason decided to reconvene on Gilmour's houseboat recording studio to finish the album in tribute to keyboardist Richard Wright, who died of cancer in 2008 at age 65 but played on these original sessions.
"I think this record is a good way of recognizing a lot of what he does and how his playing was at the heart of the Pink Floyd sound. Listening back to the sessions, it really brought home to me what a special player he was," Mason said in a band statement.
"The Endless River has as its starting point the music that came from the 1993 Division Bell sessions," Gilmour added. "We listened to over 20 hours of the three of us playing together and selected the music we wanted to work on for the new album. Over the last year we've added new parts, re-recorded others, and generally harnessed studio technology to make a 21st century Pink Floyd album. With Rick gone, and with him the chance of ever doing it again, it feels right that these revisited and reworked tracks should be made available as part of our repertoire"
The album is primarily an instrumental effort. "Louder Than Words," with lyrics penned by Gilmour's wife, songwriter/journalist/novelist Polly Samson, is the only track on the 18-song album featuring lyrics. The song seems to sum up Floyd's somewhat tumultuous past with the lyrics, "We bitch and we fight / But this thing that we do / It's louder than words / The sum of our parts / The beat of our hearts / It's louder than words." (Samson also co-wrote songs on The Division Bell and Gilmour's 2006 solo effort On an Island.)
Gilmour discussed the song in an interview with BBC Music. "Well, Rick is gone. This is the last thing that'll be out from us," he said. "I'm pretty certain there will not be any follow up to this. And Polly, my wife, thought that would be a very good lyrical idea to go out on. A way of describing the symbiosis that we have. Or had… I didn't necessarily always give [Wright] his proper due. People have very different attitudes to the way they work and we can become very judgmental and think someone is not quite pulling his weight enough, without realizing that theirs is a different weight to pull."
The Endless River is produced by Gilmour, Phil Manzanera, Youth, and Andy Jackson; Bob Ezrin, who co-produced The Division Bell, doesn't have a production credit this time around. But in an interview for The Billboard Book of Number One Albums, Ezrin provided some insight about how the band worked during The Division Bell sessions.
"We started off with the band going into a rehearsal studio for a few weeks, where they basically reconnected with each other and jammed and played together as a band," Ezrin said. "We recorded the whole thing and in that there were a lot of Pink Floyd musical moments, so we extracted those from the tape of the jam session and began there with those germs to construct the material for the album."
The release of The Endless River is good news for longtime Floyd fans hoping for one last bit of material from the band, but that's not necessarily the case for estranged former Floyd member Roger Waters, who left the band in 1985. He felt the need to post a note on Facebook late last month pointing out that he has nothing to do with the effort.
"Some people have been asking Laurie, my wife, about a new album I have coming out in November. Errhh? I don't have an album coming out, they are probably confused," Waters wrote. "David Gilmour and Nick Mason have an album coming out. It's called Endless River. David and Nick constitute the group Pink Floyd. I on the other hand, am not part of Pink Floyd. I left Pink Floyd in 1985, that's 29 years ago. I had nothing to do with either of the Pink Floyd studio albums, Momentary Lapse of Reason and The Division Bell, nor the Pink Floyd tours of 1987 and 1994, and I have nothing to do with Endless River. Phew! This is not rocket science people, get a grip."