Review Summary: This band was something I can't explain...
Pink Floyd in this era were just a bunch of lads who liked to experiment with their sound and seemed to really enjoy doing it. In just two years, they'd managed to create some hype around them with the release of "See Emily Play" as a single before hand, and this hype combined with the band and their will to create many a musical experiment ultimately lead to the release of one of the most interesting albums of this time period:The Piper at the Gates of Dawn
Being the only album that original vocalist Syd Barett had ever fronted, he had done a pretty good job just singing what he wanted to regardless, but it was his lyrical prowess that makes for a rather interesting and it is very tasty treat indeed. These lyrics, albeit very childish and strange, leaves one with an impression that even the simplest and most unintelligible of lyrics can make one want to sing and dance and express every emotion they did as a child. We find ourselves faced with the horn-riddled tune that is Flaming
, a song which appears to be about Barrett and his fantasies about seeing and hearing an individual that cannot see or hear him. This song is paticularly strange because of its tendancy to become louder after the second line of every verse is sung with the exception of the repeat of the first verse. About seventeen minutes later, I hear about poor old "Grimble Grrromble" The Gnome
and his tendancy to hide in his home untl one day when he apparently had "a big adventure" while wearing his "scarlet tunic" and blue-green hood" which eventually ends with him "playing in the grass". Syd sings in his child-like manner while an instrument of unknown origin taps and an acoustic guitar plays behind him.
While Syd does his job in an excellent fashion, he couldn't have done it without the rest of his camadarie: Roger Waters, Nick Mason and Richard Wright. They have their own part to play on this record with a simple but effective two-tone beat that Richard offers and the almost-falsetto backing vocals of Nick and Roger along with the latters' musical talent: he plays organ, a Farfisa, piano and a celeste and puts all of this into one, 360 degree package! The best example of their musical talent can be derived from the song that most people recognise, Bike
, a song about Barett attempting to please a female which, as the lyrics suggest, caught his eye. After all the singing ends is where the musical tidal-wave hits you: an assortment of all the aforementioned instruments crammed into fifty seconds of pure bliss, but that isn't to say the rest of the song is lacking.
There is, however, one huge issue I have with this record, and it rears its ugly head in the form of Take Up Thy Stethescope
, a song which would have been better left off of this record. It is the only song on the album which seems to be out of place lyrically (This being the only song on the record written solely by another band member, Roger Waters) and Roger's attempt at operatic vocals at the end of the track sound like the scratching of a chalkboard. The redeeming factor of this track is the melody being put behind it, which experiments like its aforementioned step-children.
Piper at the Gates of Dawn
isn't a record that everybody can get into nor is it the album of 1967, but it does leave its black mark on our souls with the almost improvised vibe it gives off and the lyrics, which are cute and tell us that not everyone loses their inner child. This record was one of the important records of the 1960's, I will say that.