Pink Floyd: The Division Bell (1994) / The Endless River (2014)
Truly, it’s amazing they even made it to ’94. The angriest accountants in rock achieved ubiquity with 1981’s The Wall and its legendary, bath-taking tour. That idea was Roger Waters’, and so was the one to dissolve the band. But Pink Floyd had never been formally established, and from that technicality sprung the David Gilmour years: two records, Richard Wright on retainer, and Gilmour’s houseboat Astoria as a recording studio. After taking a backseat on A Momentary Lapse Of Reason, Nick Mason was finally ready to attack some 60-bpm tempos again. A loose arrangement of texts pleading for increased communication, The Division Bell actually launched a couple of singles into the UK Top 30, though no single had the classic-rock-radio staying power of Lapse’s “Learning To Fly.” Remarkably, there was no final blow-up; the band just dispersed, more or less. The Gilmour/Mason/Wright axis reunited with Waters for 2005’s Live 8 event, and then made the interview rounds, shooting down any chance of a full tour, or even a new record. That changed after Rick Wright’s death in 2008, and after a suitable time, Gilmour and Mason combed through the Division Bell tapes, assembling a farewell to their long-suffering keyboardist. Right after Bell’s release, the band had briefly considered collating the aerier bits from the recording sessions for an ambient record to be titled (ugh) The Big Spliff. The Endless River is still largely instrumental, save closer “Louder Than Words,” a cute summing-up of the band’s tangled history. Otherwise, though, everything’s as inconsequential as the song titles suggest: imperial, immaculate cottages of sound.