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The Endless Drivel of Pink Floyd: Why the New Album is Going to be Pish

Have you seen the cover art?

Pink Floyd have a new LP coming out after 20 years of recording inactivity, and what’s more they released the cover art for The Endless River yesterday to relative indifference as well as some pointing and guffawing. There would have been a time when such a seismic event would have shaken the cosmos and reduced men with beards to quivering, snivelling, dribbling men who still had beards. Okay, so the Floyd might not be touring this one, but surely that’s acceptable when two past members are dead and the other former is the face of a fan club that spouts conspiratorial polemic from an old DIY web page.


In the 70’s Pink Floyd were wallpaper for our ears. They were minstrels du jour who filled the airwaves with nebulas of aural procrastination. Nobody was in a particular hurry back then, so the band could go on soloing over a single sustained note from an analogue synth forever, the people were just monging out in front of the snooker with the sound down anyway. The 33⅓ vinyl album was the cultural standard by which you’d be judged, the insignia of what type of person you were carried under your arm on the bus home from Woolworths. Or sat with other records that defined you in a cabinet in your home just waiting to be picked out and splayed in full double gatefold glory and skinned up upon. The album format was the musical lingua franca of the day, and given that the Floyd sold more than anyone else meant that they were kings of all they surveyed. Dudes didn’t harm sales of hashish either.

Even in the frivolously poppy 1980’s, they carried a certain cache with people who hadn’t discovered cocaine yet and still longed to be bored to death. Even my mother, a Neil Diamond fan, found herself under their pernicious spell when she heard the students who lived next door blaring out Meddle one Sunday evening. She went round to pay them a visit, and when these kids came out wan, bleary-eyed and paranoid the last thing they were expecting from the combative, Thatcher-loving woman stood in front of them was to be asked what tunes they were diggin’. I only hope they didn’t flush their stash. The 23-and-a-half minute "Echoes" from side two soon resounded from both semi-detacheds, one booming over the vacuuming and the other soundtracking Fritz the Cat on VHS.


By the 90’s, Pink Floyd were already an anachronism, appealing to the kind of niche and backward looking audiences who’d regularly lament the death of real music and believed Salvador Dali’s The Persistence of Memory to be the high water mark of artistic achievement. The same twots who bought Be Here Now on vinyl in other words. Like any band that had endured ups and downs and personnel changes, there would be no shame in calling it a day, but then why would a bunch of blokes who’d wank on for weeks noodling at the higher end of a mahogany fretboard ever think about calling it a day? Ever. EVER!

When touched genius and madman Syd Barrett had been forced to leave at the end of the 60’s it somehow galvanised them; when grumpy megalomaniac Roger Waters departed in the mid-80s the focus fell on Syd’s replacement David Gilmour, a seemingly nice and articulate kind of chap, but certainly no visionary. Then in 2005 they managed to get Roger back for one show beamed live across the world as part of Live8, and they made poverty history at the same time. With rough sleepers now leaving their cardboard boxes in the backstreets of Soho to move into mansions in the Surrey stockbroker belt, this mighty achievement of riches for everyone would surely be the cue to go out on a high for many, but not Pink Floyd. Like a turd that refuses to flush they’re back once again with the endless drivel… ho ho, I mean The Endless River obviously. While I personally haven’t heard it yet, here are eight reasons why it’s going to be pish.



Have you seen it? Fucking hell, it’s atrocious. Pink Floyd’s graphic designer Storm Thorgerson died last year unfortunately, and given that he was best man at Dave’s wedding it must have been a real tragedy for the band to lose him. But that’s no excuse to draft in another digital artist and insult our eyes with this abomination, and it would be Storm’s pejorative to do some turning right now if he felt like it. Featuring a figure in blouse and rolled up chinos rowing a boat through the clouds, it’s hard to imagine when this kind of New Age trash blew minds. Whoever approved the cover would probably be wowed if you introduced them to a magic eye stereogram. It’s trite, embarrassing, and sinks so far into the turgid realms of fantastic art that the rower risks being fucked by a unicorn somewhere over the horizon. With album covers like Wish You Were Here, Storm clearly continued a lineage started by the Surrealists, but this isn’t Magritte, it’s a ‘ritte load of shite. Anybody who tells you 'you can’t judge a book by its cover' is wrong. You can. And the same applies to albums.

Apparently the image was taken from the art portfolio of an unknown 18-year-old Egyptian digital artist called Ahmed Emad Eldin, which makes me feel a bit mean criticising him at such a tender age. But by that rational you would never be able to slag off "There’s No One Quite Like Grandma" by the St Winifred’s School Choir. You’d better get yourself a thick skin, Ahmed! And definitely don’t read the comments under all those articles about your artwork if you can help it.



Spare us! Come on now chaps, you’ve had 20 years to sort this one out and you haven’t even bothered putting words over the top, meaning we’re going to get endless reams of atmospheric, ambient filler that’ll make your common or garden whale music sound like Aphex Twin. It’ll probably surface in the odd chill out section, but it’ll be about as relaxing as a guided meditation by Nick Griffin.


You can hear a snippet if it below. Judging by that 30 second clip, if you own any of the last seven albums then you won’t need this one, because they’re just like those but with some actual singing on it. Which you could regard as value for money knowing they’ve put their backs into it and come up with some actual ideas that exceed just slapping a French expression down for a title ‘Allons-y (1)’ and then repeating it again (‘Allons-y (2)’) when even naming becomes a bit too taxing.


The game would have been up for many bands when someone like Roger did one, but on Pink Floyd trundled regardless, putting out elongated slabs of adult-orientated rock with lyrics latterly written by newspaper columnist Polly Samson. And here she is again, providing the words to the one and only track with words, inappropriately titled "Louder Than Words". Polly’s website boasts the fact that she has written the lyrics to two no.1 albums. No feat for a polymath like Polly (ho ho!). Coincidentally, Polly is married to Pink Floyd guitarist David Gilmour.


Yes it is. And this is the stuff that didn’t make the cut from Pink Floyd’s most flatulent looooong player. Expect a thorough fingering from Dave.



When Lynyrd Skynyrd's plane crashed in 1977 killing half the band members, you’d think that would have been the end of them, but musicians are like cockroaches in a nuclear winter. A decade later they managed to get back together and are still playing as Lynyrd Skynyrd to this very day (with just two original members from the four that picked up the baton again). You could argue that they’re like the musical equivalent of the Busby Babes and the show must go on. Well you could, but you’d be wrong. Now the only member left in Pink Floyd who was there from the very beginning is Nick Mason, so is that really Pink Floyd? Rather touchingly the album has been called Rick Wright’s “swansong” by members of the band, and it’s also dedicated to the keyboard player who died of cancer in 2008. Unfortunately Mason and Gilmour weren’t quite so vociferous in their support of Wright when Roger Waters kicked him out of the band in 1981. He did rejoin again but wasn’t reinstated as a full member until 1994 for legal reasons apparently.


If I was a Reiki teacher I would have got a boner looking at that cover yesterday. Reflexology practitioners, palmists, hucksters and all other purveyors of pseudosciences are leaping with joy all over the country as we speak. Listen to it as you douse yourself in petunia and stare into the eyes of a gold-leaf Buddha. They’ll probably play it in the lift at Holland and Barrett’s central office.


The cover art is so bad (yes we’re back onto the cover art) that it could have graced any Athena retailers on the highstreet back in the 80’s, slipped effortlessly into the hanging display between the buff topless torso of a new man tenderly holding a baby, and that famous soft focus tennis girl scratching her naked arse. If the company that folded in 1995 returned to the high street now then it could expect an influx of students looking to purchase a poster of the album to be bluetacced up in halls of residence betwixt Bob Marley imposed on a ganja leaf and an alien asking to be taken to your dealer. And king student situationist Charlie Gilmour would telepathically send secret messages to everyone of them when they were stoned, and they’d rise up, smash up the city centres and bring down the government. Or something. Don't say you weren't warned.

Follow Jeremy on Twitter: @Jeres