Oh dear ... spoke too soon. The initial flush of enthusiasm up to track 7 fast disappeared as I carried on into track 8 through to 18. With each succeeding number the fragmentary ideas dry up & in come the predictable chord progressions, rock clichés & arsenal of Floyd trademark effects (thunderstorm ... platitudinous sound bite c/o Stephen Hawking* ... church bells ... ). Why? Why? Why?
One answer: because they think it sells (give 'em what they want!)
Another answer: because they simply can't think what to do with the material & fall back into old habits.
I found myself wondering what someone like John Zorn could have done with such material. Put it another way, how a King Crimson or a Yes would have the musical resources to shift direction & gear. As for Zappa ... so much of his work was an example in how to transform archive recordings into new configurations.
It would be lovely to think rather fondly of this CD like a newly-discovered sketchbook in the drawer of a deceased artist. Those recognisable marks & sketches that suggest some now never-to-be executed master work. Sadly not. It's more like a form of collective Alzheimer's: fumbling gestures towards what were once familiar habits. And in the last pages conclusive proof that he'd lost his touch & was now painting by numbers.
If Yoko was the death knell of the Beatles then Polly Samson is surely the Oh-no of the Floyd. The lyrics she supplies to 'Louder Than Words' are truly execrable. In fact, the entire song is ghastly (the death throes of an elephant) & must confirm to Roger Waters why he is better off out of the picture. Say all you want about the Final Cut etc. but he never delivered anything as lame as this.
Maybe they should have just released track 2 and left it at that. For me it's like a great mouthful of Sauternes with foie gras. Delicious & delightfully self-indulgent - & then the palate cloys. Another serving & - no, I've had enough. & it turns out that it's now flat Cava & paté maison (past its sell by date, to boot).
What. a. pity. Really.
* that reliable Floyd trope of lack of communication that emerges round about Dark Side of the Moon opens & closes Endless River. Never very convincing in their case - other than as evidence of what happens when you are one of the mega-rich & can afford horrendously expensive law suits - it has a kind of sixth form glibness in its attempt at profundity.