Review Summary: With the absence of Roger Waters, Pink Floyd salvages their previous effort, with a fitting farewell record.
Following the blunder that was “A Momentary Lapse of Reason,” David Gilmour and company had to prove that Pink Floyd could make it without Roger Waters. The 1987 release failed for several reasons. There was too much filler, the songwriting was sub-par for the most part, and the music relied too much on synthesizers. A few gems were spurned from the record such as Learning to Fly
, On the Turning Away
, and Sorrow
, but the majority of the record was far below average for Pink Floyd. In 1994, David Gilmour would get his last chance, and made it count.
"The Division Bell,” is the final Pink Floyd album that was recorded. While the record has material nowhere near the quality of “Dark Side of the Moon,” “Animals,” “Wish You Were Here,” or “Meddle,” many of the aspects that make Pink Floyd so great are present here. Gilmour’s songwriting is very good, and his guitar playing is undeniably the highlight of the record. Gilmour’s vocals are soothing and even haunting at times, and Rick Wright’s keyboards make an impact here as well. There are saxophones and backup singers, whose impact is not unlike their influence on “Dark Side of the Moon.” The album obviously suffers to an extent due to the absence of lyrical mastermind Roger Waters, but somehow succeeds without him.
Gilmour’s tremendous guitar work is the underscore of nearly every track here; his style is familiar and powerful, even beautiful at times. Marooned
is one of the best instrumentals written by the band; it is spacey and driven by lead guitar and keyboards. This track is truly beautiful and is one of the top Gilmour-era Pink Floyd songs. A Great Day for Freedom
is haunting as Gilmour delivers his first lines, “On the day the wall came down, they threw the locks onto the ground and with glasses high, we raised a cry for freedom had arrived.” Take it Back
is upbeat and hopeful, and Lost for Words
is an acoustic track that isn’t a far cry from Wish You Were Here
Gilmour’s guitar may stand out the most in Coming Back to Life
, which is written perfectly, beginning slow, and picking up just over 2 and half minutes. This track really has everything, from soaring guitars, to soothing vocals, to excellent keyboards. The ultimate highlight of the record is the 8 and a half-minute High Hopes
which begins and ends with the sound of church bells. Keyboards and vocals are again haunting, and the track builds to a powerful climax equipped with none other than a mind-blowing guitar solo. As the final track of Pink Floyd’s career, it does them justice for everything they have done.
With the absence of Roger Waters, Pink Floyd salvages their previous effort, with a fitting farewell record. Twenty-one years had passed since “Dark Side of the Moon,” and to ask for that quality from Pink Floyd was at this point impossible.
Coming Back to Life
Lost for Words