Pink Floyd’s fifteenth and final LP is more postscript than swansong, a curate’s egg that will no doubt sell like spacecakes, but which feels like an inglorious, anticlimactic way to bring down the curtain – however belatedly – on one of the biggest bands of all time. They’ve died as they lived – with a long, slow exhalation of sustained keyboard chords and icily-precise guitar solos – yet there’s no escaping that, for the most part, ‘The Endless River’ sounds like what it is: a collection of spruced-up outtakes from 1994’s ‘Division Bell’. On those limited terms it works well enough, and it’s interesting from a certain geeky perspective, but it’s never quite as satisfying or substantial as you want it to be.
At one point, Stephen Hawking turns up to remind us of the importance of communication, yet what the band themselves are trying to get across remains frustratingly unclear. If ‘The Endless River’ is intended as a tribute to the late Rick Wright, perhaps it should’ve been issued as a posthumous solo album, because as the final word on Pink Floyd, it feels like a lightweight coda from a truly heavyweight group. The exception is ‘Louder Than Words’, the album’s only conventional song, which nicely sums up their tumultuous 49-year existence: “We bitch and we fight, diss each other on sight… but this thing we do is louder than words.” A shame, then, that they’ve decided to bow out on a whisper.