Syd Barrett and his musical life is a surreal mystery to many out there in the world of music. Somewhat like a shooting star, he had a brilliant musical career that merely spanned a few years before he spent much of the rest of his life in seclusion, away from the media and the music industry that clearly missed him. Although this album is somewhat an odd compilation of pieces of music that he recorded after agreeing to leave Pink Floyd, this does need to be heard regardless of what happened to him, so let’s do so.
We begin with the title track Opel which is a sort of acoustic blues piece. It’s six minutes long, but is an excellent piece of music done nicely by Syd Barrett. The lyrics here are very surreal and psychedelic, and this song is a beautiful and enjoyable piece of music. A great story tale sort of artistry, this is wonderfully brilliant. It’s just Syd and his acoustic guitar jangling along nicely, but is totally listenable and enjoyable. The madcap that was Syd Barrett left us with some real musical treasures, and this is one of them. It has a lengthy section in the middle with just the guitar playing, before Syd sings wonderfully again. This is a timeless treasure of musical talent that has sadly been largely forgotten in history, but is great to listen to from start to finish. “I’m trying…” sings Syd, and his efforts here are better than simply trying, he succeeds. Nice piece of music.
Next is Clowns and Jugglers which is a much shorter piece with clean electric guitar playing and drums. It’s basically a redo of one of his earlier tunes, but sounds wonderful, whimsical and awesome all the same. A very good piece of Pop/Rock creation, this is a really good listen. There are keyboards and other assorted sounds here, which are different. There is also a discordant sort of guitar solo here, too. Very good to hear, and totally different to a lot of music out there today. Great effort.
Rats is a return to the acoustic wonder that Syd could pull off easily, with or without Pink Floyd. This is really simple and lovely sounding music that is extremely impressive, especially in retrospect. Perhaps Syd Barrett was totally aware of his situation within and without Pink Floyd? He does a great job here, going from singing to borderline screaming here with the most random lyrics out there. Quite humourous and witty too, Syd excels very well here. Good job man.
Golden Hair is a re-adaptation of an earlier Syd Barrett song, but it sounds lovely and marvelous. A tale of dreaming about a blonde princess (Rapunzel?), it is a short and calm sounding listen. Very short, but sweet. Great effort here, and worth hearing.
Next along is Dolly Rocker begins with a spoken word conversation about the name of the song, before Syd goes ahead with a fantastic job of a song that is really awesome and cool. Syd Barrett sings about a girl he is in love with, and this is a rather strange yet lovely melodic song here. Another decent and memorable effort from Syd Barrett, truly an underrated performer. Another good song to hear.
Following is Word Song which begins with some random chords, before Syd begins to do his thing on acoustic guitar and singing calmly here. This piece isn’t really a proper song in a normal sense, but is really awesome and beautiful here. It comes across as rather random, but loveable music all the same. Another wonderful gem, it is a weird and wonderful piece of music. Good effort nonetheless. Very conceptual song.
Wined and Dined is a more straightforward song by Syd Barrett. A really excellent and lovely piece of music, this is a genuinely good piece of music that sounds awesome, even in the postmodern world of RnB on the radio. Syd’s music has a real quality of childlike innocence to it, and he does a great job here. A very simple, lovely and melodic piece of acoustic based music, this is really fine art. Brilliant stuff.
Swan Lee (Silas Lang) begins with an eerie guitar melody before entering into a very dark sounding song, musically speaking. Rather surreal and psychedelic, this is a different listen from Syd and it seems really strange and odd to hear. There are some rather 1960s Fender guitar styled sounds here, along with some rather unusual playing. Very good regardless, even though it is largely nonsensical. Great all the same.
Next along is Birdie Hop which begins with a basic acoustic guitar melody and some rather pitchy singing from Syd. This song is one of the better pieces from this album, and it sounds really awesome. Although we may never really know what happened to Syd Barrett in the long run, he gave us these wonderful songs to hear. Good piece of iconic music. Intelligent lyrics are here, too, great song.
Following is Let’s Split which begins with some studio chatter about the title of the song, before Syd begins strumming and singing about troubled emotions here. Still, it comes across as bright and cheery regardless. Midway through the song, you hear Syd stopping to change the pages of chords and lyrics, which is different to polished, professional pieces of music. Still, it’s enjoyable, with Syd Barrett whistling away towards the end. Very cool.
Lanky, Pt. 1 is a longer piece that begins with bongo beats that are pretty random listening, along with some other backing instrumentation, and some Fender guitar style chugging. This is a good instrumental sort of piece that is pretty out there. A weird and unusual sort of piece, this is a nice effort, complete with xylophone. Some very good guitar playing is here, and just goes to show how good Syd really was as a musician. A very much semi-psychedelic experience, this is a rare gem hidden away from the past. Sounding really cool, this is very enjoyable. A really out there piece, but cool from start to finish. Great to hear, a decent job by all involved.
Wouldn’t You Miss Me (Dark Globe) is a take on the original song on The Madcap Laughs. It’s a good take of the original song, and is rather dark and emotional sounding. This is a somewhat more distressed sounding take of this song, but once again, is brilliant. Decent listening experience, and very, very good. Nice to hear.
Following is Milky Way is another hidden gem in Syd Barrett’s musical career. This sounds interesting and is very lovely sounding, comparing a lover to the galaxy that we live in. Very good to listen to, this is more consistent musically than some of the other songs on this album. Quite good to hear, Syd could deliver well if required. A very great and wonderful musical listen.
Next is Golden Hair – Take 1 which begins with a xylophone intro, followed by some neat violining played on guitar. It certainly sounds beautiful and different, and sounds very good. Nice as a brief instrumental piece of music.
Gigolo Aunt – Take 9 takes a little bit to begin, but Syd begins playing guitar and we are underway. This is very good to listen to, even in the world of autotuned vocals and electronic sounds of this postmodern world we live in. Syd and the backing musicians do a great job here, this is quirky, yet superb. Clever and witty lyrics are here, and Syd Barrett does a great job here. It gradually finishes up nicely at the end, a great listening experience. Good interpretation of the original.
It Is Obvious – Take 3 begins slowly, before some nice bluesy guitar enters one’s ears and sounds awesome. This is a very different sounding piece, Syd does not sound very enthusiastic with his singing here, but his guitar playing is nice and chugging along here. A different piece of music listening, this is a difficult listen this song, but essential regardless.
Following is It Is Obvious – Take 5 is a much more enlightened sounding take of this song. It sounds very lovely and pleasant listening compared to Take 3. Still quintessential Syd Barrett music, and he sounds much more upbeat and enjoyable here. Good effort, once again, nobody could make music quite like this but Syd Barrett, an underrated genius.
After that is Clowns and Jugglers – Take 1 which takes a while to get started, but before long, gets underway. It is another decent interpretation of this song, but sounding a little discordant with the guitar playing here. A good effort here regardless, there are some pseudo-beatboxing bits here towards the end, although this piece wears out its welcome by that point.
Late Night – Take 2 begins with some neat guitar sounds, including slide guitar here. This is a much better listen here, and it sounds really good. No singing is present throughout this one, it is purely an instrumental. Excellent listening for that late night experience, this is a pleasant sounding jam. Good effort, once again.
Effervescing Elephant – Take 2 is last here. It is very short, but a good listenable piece to conclude this album with. A good way to finish off this album with, great stuff. Very humourous.
This album isn’t a perfect collection of songs, but need it be? It is a glimpse into the distant past and the genius of Syd Barrett as a musician. Great effort to hear, and sounds just as promising as this music did many years ago. Great to hear all the same.
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