Pink Floyd took somewhat of a left turn here on this album. After the critical and somewhat commercially successful albums The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn and A Saucerful Of Secrets, Pink Floyd needed to find some consolidation and direction after the loss of their original bandleader Syd Barrett in 1968. Undeniably, this is no Dark Side Of The Moon, but it is still an interesting and historical listen from Pink Floyd. It is a film soundtrack as well, so it has some historical importance as well. Let’s take a listen to this album and hear where it takes us.
Cirrus Minor refers to clouds in the sky. It begins with chirping birds in the left channel, which shift to the right channel. It is a very beautiful sound, which continues on for some time. A really sweet sound, it is shortly followed by strummed acoustic guitars, interesting keyboard patches and some gentle singing from Roger Waters. Indeed, this is a beautiful and artistic musical piece that sounds wonderful. Roger’s vocals are drenched in reverb as soon as he mentions the Cirrus Minor phenomenon in this song, which is different. After he stops singing, there are most prominent keyboards for some time, which sound very Pink Floyd ish and really great. A wonderful tune, and although merely a mostly instrumental track, it does sound great. Pink Floyd didn’t make records, they made art. Good effort. It has a long fade out.
The Nile Song is loud, raw and uncompromising. It is also not very Pink Floyd, despite the fact that the music here is proto-Punk. It’s rather awful, actually. Pink Floyd was a bunch of artistic musicians, not Punk wannabes. In any case, it’s okay but definitely not the best. Fortunately, this piece is relatively short at around three and a half minutes long. It is lyrically a lusting after woman song, again, not very Pink Floyd. There is a blistering guitar solo in the second half, which sounds rather unoriginal, as though these guys were trying to copy Jimi Hendrix. Nonetheless, a different listen, but very ordinary and sub-par music here folks.
The Crying Song begins with a slowly faded intro that has some xylophone-like sounds going throughout. Soon enough, acoustic guitars enter and this is a good but not sensational Pink Floyd tune. In fact, much of this album, although very much appreciated, is so far not up to the really excellent standards of Pink Floyd. Still, a good piece of music that doesn’t sound depressing or deadbeat. A good tune nonetheless. There is a slide guitar solo towards the end which is pretty awful. Not a fantastic listen here.
Up The Khyber begins with a typical Nick Mason style drum shuffle that is interesting. Interesting keyboards follow, along with piano parts that are intermittent. This is a good and intriguing listen, just sounding top. A keyboard then enters with a pseudo-organ sound. This is more sonic and textural than a piece of music here, it is rather odd in that sense. It’s okay but hardly fantastic. It ends with tape trickery.
Green Is The Colour begins with some nice acoustic guitars that sound really pretty and gloriously good. There is some beautiful wind instrumentation in the background before Roger Waters sings really very beautifully on this piece. A really gentle and lovely listen with some additional piano in the background, it is a simple tune, but nonetheless a good one. A much better improvement on what came before it. Nice music to hear to lying in the grass outside on a warm spring day. Decent tune with some beautiful playing on it.
Cymbaline begins with some more acoustic guitars, bongos and piano. Roger Waters’s voice is distant sounding and heavily drenched in reverb. A good song, although this album and song seemingly lack the magic of previous (and future) Pink Floyd efforts. Still, this is a gentle and different tune that sits well in the collection of songs here. It sounds a little too sober and bland for Pink Floyd to be fair, it sounds like a poor effort in comparison to earlier Pink Floyd efforts. A good try though, it has some interesting keyboard in the second half to spice things up. Not bad, but certainly not hugely impressive, either. The keyboards and bongos continue until the fade-out concludes the track.
Party Sequence has a bunch of multitracked bongo drums that are actually very well played. A wind instrument enters in the background, and the whole thing sounds different. It’s only a minute long though.
Main Theme begins with a gong being rolled in the right channel, before being panned over into the left channel. This is really interesting and is followed by a minor key synth line. These sounds continue well for some time before some drums quickly enter. This piece sort of sounds like Pink Floyd, but does not reach the heights of The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn, nor A Saucerful Of Secrets. It just sounds bland and formless, which is very sad indeed. There are some additional musical touches, such as slide guitar and a bit of wah-wah guitar, but even so, this is lacking. Anyway, a standard effort by Pink Floyd, but in no way a phenomenal one. The barrage of sounds builds up towards the end somewhat, before this concludes with a load of gong banging. Interesting but lacking magic.
Ibiza Bar is a more concise sounding piece from Pink Floyd. Ibiza is nowadays the much-loved place off the coast of Spain that Ravers go to for a holiday to dance and pop ecstasy pills. It is a good tune here, but once again, it sounds formless and very much like a piece of music that is heavily routine and uninspired. Good thing that it is only three minutes long, but even so, this could have been bettered for sure. Just merely an exercise in musicality, this is not at all that good. A bore.
More Blues begins with some clean and different Fender guitar parts, before going into a fairly average piece of music. It is not well structured and sounds a bit like a lazy jam, to be frank. A good piece of music, but far from perfect. It’s okay but like the rest of the album, is fairly disappointing. In any case, it’s okay, just not fantastic.
Quicksilver is by far the longest piece on this album and begins this seven-minute journey with some freaky sounds. Soon after the freaky sounds conclude are some more excellent gong playing by Nick Mason, which floats in and out of the channels. It was the late 1960s, after all. This has some keyboard thrown into the mix for good measure. This is a very odd piece of music, without a doubt. In fact, it is an instrumental piece that is evocative of space travel. Some late 1960s organ then enters, and this piece gets even more spacey. A mixture of well-placed sounds then enters, transforming the musical landscape we are in. A decent piece of music that sounds really excellent, some nice cymbal crashes enter in the second half of the song. This is a relatively slow and fairly uninspired piece of music, it just doesn’t cut the mustard. Soon enough, some organ parts become the lone sound, transforming Pink Floyd in their journey from Psychedelic Rock to Progressive Rock. It sounds a little odd because it is supposed to be. This is rather long as a track, and fairly unappealing. It’s okay, but not worth a second listen, sadly. A super long fade out with processed sounds finishes this off. Uninspiring.
A Spanish Piece is a very short minute long song. It has acoustic Spanish guitars and some random talking over the top in the Spanish language. It’s a rather weird listen, but nonetheless, a good listen at that. Some frenetic playing is here, and it is over before you know it.
Dramatic Theme is thankfully the last piece on this bland album. It has unusual percussion, deep basslines and some slide guitar as well. There are some awful overdubs on this tune that just sound plain lazy. Sadly, it is easy to hear this as such. It’s just a spacey jam with delayed guitars, and nothing else noteworthy about it all, really. It ends with the delayed guitars, and thankfully, this ends here.
This is a very unimpressive album that has little to no remarkable quality musically on it. It sadly is like that, Pink Floyd obviously was struggling in the wake of losing Syd Barrett and a music scene that was changing in terms of trends. Thankfully, the album after it and others to come were much better. Only really recommended if you are a huge fan of Pink Floyd. Otherwise, avoid.
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