Politics

Pink Floyd’s Hey, Hey, Rise Up! Their new song for Ukraine is definitely long – but is it strong?

There is a horrible symmetry to the discharge by Pink Floyd of their first unique materials for the reason that Division Bell 28 years in the past. In 1994, the battle within the Balkans had unleashed the worst in humanity and Europeans have been waking as much as the brand new but additionally very previous actuality of conflict crimes on their door-step.

A technology later, the savagery is being perpetuated by Russia in Ukraine. And it’s to lift funds for humanitarian aid for victims of Moscow’s aggression that Pink Floyd guitarist David Gilmour has put the band again collectively. Or, at the least, put it partly again collectively. Because Hey Hey Rise Up is formally credited to “Pink Floyd with Andriy Khlyvnyuk of Boombox” – and is as a lot his track as theirs.

Khlyvnyuk is a Ukrainian musician with whom Gilmour had performed at a 2015 profit gig in London. Gilmour, who has a Ukrainian daughter-in-law and grandchildren, was understandably shocked to see current footage on social media of Khlyvnyuk in army fatigues exterior St Sophia’s Cathedral in Kyiv singing the previous Ukrainian conflict track, Oh, the Red Viburnum within the Meadow. This is a battle that has turned musicians into troopers.

Feeling it’s obligation to do one thing, Gilmour has taken that efficiency – delivered in a conflict zone by a person who had returned to struggle for his nation – and constructed an epic Floyd chugger round it.

He isn’t performing alone, having recruited Floyd drummer Nick Mason, keyboardist Nitin Sawhney and long-time Floyd bassist Guy Pratt. Recorded at velocity in London final week, the observe understandably feels barely bolted collectively – there’s the Khlyvnyuk vocal and, then, just like the flood gates in rock heaven crumbling, there comes a type of Biblical Gilmour Solos – the “rock god” bit, as he described it to the Guardian lately.

One absence is Roger Waters, who stays kind of completely estranged from his previous bandmates and who has been accused of prevaricating concerning the Russian invasion.

Every week earlier than Putin’s tanks rolled into Ukraine, Waters described the hypothesis of imminent aggression from Moscow as “bulls**t … anybody with an IQ above room temperature knows [it] is nonsense”, although he has since condemned the conflict as “the act of a gangster”.

Hey, Hey, Rise Up! – the English translation of the ultimate line of Oh, the Red Viburnum – isn’t any Floyd basic. But neither is it a shame to the legacy of the group who reinvented rock’n roll although the Nineteen Seventies as a form of noodler’s paradise. On and on Gilmour’s solo goes, a form of mutant offspring of his phase in the midst of Shine On You Crazy Diamond and the fade-out from Comfortably Numb.

David Gilmour, Nick Mason, Roger Waters and Rick Wright of Pink Floyd play London in 2005. Photograph: Brian Rasic/Getty Images
David Gilmour, Nick Mason, Roger Waters and Rick Wright of Pink Floyd play London in 2005. Photograph: Brian Rasic/Getty Images

As an addendum to Pink Floyd – and given the worthiness of the trigger – it’s exhausting to be cynical about. And if it’s a little bit of a lumbering Frankenstein of a observe, there isn’t any quibbling with the sincerity of Khlyvnyuk’s singing. As with all his finest Floyd work, it rumbles on longer than all of the Lord of the Rings novels set end-to-end (together with appendices) however nonetheless feels over far too quickly.

It is a disgrace that it took a conflict for Gilmour to mud down the Pink Floyd model (he and Mason did reunite in 2014 to patch collectively the ambient assortment The Endless River from previous outtakes). And but, as a press release of inventive outrage within the face of evil, it glimmers with indeniable ferocity.

All proceeds from Hey, Hey, Rise Up! go to the UN’s Ukraine Humanitarian Fund.

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