Pink Floyd's The Endless River, the legendary band's first album since 1994's The Division Bell, will also be the group's last, David Gilmour confirms in an interview tied to the new LP. "I think we have successfully commandeered the best of what there is. I suspect this is it," Gilmour says of Pink Floyd's future in the above video interview. Speaking to BBC 6 Music, Gilmour added, "It's a shame, but this is the end." The Endless River arrives on November 10th.
"The Endless River is a continuous flow of music that builds gradually over four separate pieces over the 55-odd minutes," Gilmour says. "There’s a sort of continuum from the Division Bell album to this, and the last phrase but one on The Division Bell is 'the endless river': 'the endless river forever and ever' at the end of the song 'High Hopes.'" For their upcoming album, Gilmour and drummer Nick Mason revisited and reworked the Division Bell studio sessions to pay tribute to keyboardist Rick Wright, who passed away in 2008.
"The only concept is the concept of me, Rick and Nick and I, playing together in a way that we had done way way in the past but had forgotten that we did, and was instantly familiar," Gilmour said. Mason adds, "I think Rick would be thrilled actually. I think this record is rather a good way of recognizing a lot of what he does. I think the most significant element was really actually hearing what Rick did, because, having lost Rick, it was that thing of… it really brought home what a special player he was."
The band's new song "Louder Than Words" premiered on U.K. radio Thursday and the opening notes – ringing church bells – recall the closing sounds from The Division Bell's "High Hopes." "We bitch and we fight / Diss each other on sight / But this thing we do," Gilmour sings over a rhythm reminiscent of a more upbeat "Hey You," his voice seemingly unchanged from 1994.
"With world weary grace / We’ve taken our places / We could curse it or nurse it or give it a name / Louder than words/ this thing that we do," sings the group. Around the 3:30 mark, Gilmour launches into one of his trademark Pink Floyd guitar solos, possibly for the last time.
"[Songwriter] Polly [Samson] wrote the words for 'Louder Than Words' to express that there is something magical about the music that the three of us make together; it has a...magic flow that is encapsulated, if you like, by the words 'Louder Than Words,'" Gilmour said of the closing track.
"This is one of the pieces of music that seemed fairly complete as an idea for a song, and Polly came up with the idea for 'Louder Than Words' as something that describes what we achieve when we make the music that we make," Gilmour continued. "Neither Rick nor I are the most verbal people and so Polly was thinking it was very appropriate for us to express what we do through the music, but she’s helping us describe it in words as well."
The Endless River also features contributions from physicist Stephen Hawking, whose "voice" appears on the track "Talkin' Hawkin'" two decades after he graced Division Bell's "Keep Talkin'," as well as songwriters Anthony Moore and Samson. The electronic string quartet Escala also feature on "Louder Than Words." Roxy Music guitarist Phil Manzanera helped produce the album, while Pink Floyd co-founder Roger Waters recently took to Facebook to reiterate that he had no involvement.