A Saucerful of Secrets

4 October 2012. Filed under category Music - General.

My second foray into early Floyd: A Saucerful of Secrets, is a mixed bag.  On the whole I think it is more unique than the predecessor, The Piper at the Gates of Dawn, and starts to define a new sound.  It is as if Roger Waters channelled the diminishing spirit of Syd Barrett to take control of the Pink Floyd machine and, controversially, perfect it?  Mind you, it is worth clarifying that Richard Wright also had songwriting credits, just not as many as Waters.

Some background for the sessions can be found here.

The album is notable for the fact that all five recognised members of Pink Floyd contributed to the album in various ways including lead vocals. To be honest, after having listened ten times or so, I can barely distinguish between the different singing voices of the band members, except perhaps Barrett who was most prominant and therefore recognisable from the first album.

This second album has a great introductory couple of songs and the vibe continues all the way through.  The only low point, in my opinion, is the meandering psychodelic mess that is the title track “A Saucerful of Secrets”.  It just does not have much to recommend it as a filler between otherwise good experimental rock songs.  I doubt that particular composition will grow on me….to the extent that for the first time in living memory I find myself skipping over a track.  Believe me I do not take that act lightly as I am often heard to complain “fast forwarding” or even not finishing an album listening session to the end is somehow an insult to the artist.  Perhaps I should listen with headphones and experience it differently.

So the story goes, Barrett was ousted towards the end of the recording sessions to be completely replaced on guitar by David Gilmour who had already joined a few months earlier as a second guitarist.  It is fitting that the last track on the album “Jugband Blues” is Barrett’s only songwriting credit and seems to say “farewell”, almost literally, as he spiralled into acid oblivion.

Conclusion? Well worth a listen.  There are musical themes first appearing here that were further developed and refined as Pink Floyd moved forward.  But I guess this is it at its purest.

 

My next stop on the journey is a film soundtrack called “More”.  I had considered skipping releases that aren’t strictly ‘proper’ studio albums ….but I am intrigued by what I have read so far.  So…worth a shot.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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