Pink Floyd – The Division Bell (1994): Review

floyd

Produced by David Gilmour & Bob Ezrin
Label – EMI

The follow up to “A Momentary Lapse Of Reason”, “The Division Bell” brings back Richard Wright and Nick Mason as permanent band members, and Wright has co- writing credits on 5 of the 11 songs, and the album definitely benefits from the return of the original members. Along with Wright’s and Dave Gilmour’s contributions, song writing credits go to Gilmour’s wife Polly Samson, and Nick Laird Clowes of The Dream Academy. As a body of work “The Division Bell” is easily the best post Waters Pink Floyd album, with strong songs, the usual excellent musicianship, but most of all, a superb production and musical arrangement from Gilmour and Bob Ezrin. The collection could be loosely described as a Concept album describing the different types of division from political, to personal, and is as close to an early seventies Floyd sound than anyone thought likely, with the traditional slow tempos, sustained guitar and keyboard fills, and a focus on dark, moody soundscapes.

Pink-Floyd-1994

Interestingly, Gilmour isn’t afraid to voice his ire for Roger Waters, and this manifests in at least two songs. The excellent “Poles Apart” (” I never thought you’d lose that light in your eyes”), and the almost pleadingly apologetic “Keep Talking”. “A Great Day For Freedom” captures the essence of the breaking down of the Berlin Wall and Communism in East Germany, and works well. Other highlights include “What Do You Want From Me”, the instrumental “Marooned”, and the closest song to commercial rock, “Take It Back”. The real startling quality is left to the albums closer though, the wondrous “High Hopes”. A church bell tolls, and keeps a hypnotic, metronomic beat, whilst a simple piano lead takes the listener to Gilmour’s reminiscences for a happier dream like time, an escape from darkness, and the song builds into a powerfully orchestral performance, closing out with one of the most anthemic guitar solos Gilmour has ever produced. The song is equal to anything the band produced in the seventies, and for this writer that is high praise indeed.

The explanation of just why Pink Floyd are still important lies firmly in “The Division Bell”. One wonders whether any credibility was given to the band without Roger Waters, and if that was the case, then just listen to this album and realise that although not the greatest Floyd album, it sits comfortably alongside anything they produced during the glory years.

8/10

Track Listing

1 Cluster One 5:58
2 What Do You Want From Me 4:21
3 Poles Apart 7:04
4 Marooned 5:28
5 A Great Day for Freedom 4:18
6 Wearing the Inside Out 6:48
7 Take It Back 6:12
8 Coming Back to Life 6:19
9 Keep Talking 6:11
10 Lost for Words 5:14
11 High Hopes 8:31

Take It Back

High Hopes

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