“The Division Bell,” Pink Floyd’s latest release, marks the band’s first studioeffort in seven years. But is this the same Floyd that created sonic masterpieceslike “The Wall,” “Dark Side … ,” “Wish You Were Here,” and “Animals”? Well,yes, and no. The music is definitely there. The achingly beautiful instrumental”Marooned” showcasing guitarist Dave Gilmour’s signature, slow dipping and risingsound, and the acoustically pretty “Lost For Words,” shows off Gilmour’skeyboardist Richard Wright’s and drummer Nick Mason’s collective song writingability. However, ever since bassist and principle songwriter Roger Waters leftin a much storied split in 1984, the songs lyrics have suffered immensely.
Yet the record does hold up well, with a theme of communication (or lackthereof) pervading. The album can even be interpreted as being about the Floyd,about the acrimonious split between Waters and Gilmour, and about the wear andtear of being middle-aged. Songs like “Poles Apart” and “Keep Talkin’” illustratethis, while “What Do You Want From Me” brings up Pink Floyd’s relationship withtheir audiences at concerts.
The finale, “High Hopes,” beautifully depictsGilmour’s yearning for days passed and hopes for the future.
If you arelooking for another “Dark Side” or “Wish,” or any of their string of hit records,you will not find it here. A band has to move on to new sounds, to a new stage intheir music, or else they become redundant. However the elements are there. Youcan even find a bit of the old Floyd psychedelia buried in the middle of “PolesApart,” which can be found on Floyd’s earliest recordings, “Piper at The Gates ofDawn,” and “A Saucerful of Secrets.” Overall, the album is a bittersweet memoirof friends past, and future hopes.
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