Pink Floyd
The Piper at the Gates of Dawn



by manuscriptreplica USER (18 Reviews)
January 14th, 2005 | 1246 replies

Release Date: 1967 | Tracklist

Listening to this album, I am still shocked how much Pink Floyd have changed. It amazes me that the same band, with only one changed band member, put out The Piper at the Gates of Dawn and only six years later released Dark Side of the Moon. People purchasing this album expecting the progressive rock style will be greatly disappointed, and wondering if they didn't mix up the CD at the record shop.

This was Pink Floyd's first studio album. The band released several singles before this, notable ones include Arnold Layne, which is about a transvestite, and See Emily Play, both composed by Barrett. These songs were just a teaser for what the album would be, The Piper at the Gates of Dawn, heavily influenced by the recently released Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club.

Syd Barrett was a music genius. Whilst listening to the record, behind all the LSD they were some great music moments in it. Take Astronomy Domine for example, the opening track. At around the 1:15 mark, the descending guitar is a masterpiece. Most songs, true to the psychedelic style, are not in traditional 4/4 time signature, with odd ones like 6/4, and 11/8, or, like Bike, there are multiple time signature changes throughout. Unfortunately, Syd Barrett was fired from the band after overdosing on LSD. He would become catatonic on stage, sometimes playing a few simple chords for the whole show, or sometimes, simply play nothing. David Gilmour was hired to replace him, in thought that Gilmour would play live, and Barrett was to continue writing songs in the studio. This was not to be, and Barrett was fired, to which he had a somewhat successful solo career, and is now living somewhere in England.

Astronomy Domine (4:12)
The beginning of this album, uh, begins with simple guitar chords, over some person talking on a microphone. This is one of the pop songs of the album; it's not really that true to the psychedelic genre, even with the unusual time signatures. And it has that beautiful bridge part (1:15) which I cannot get enough of. Wright explores a bit in this song with his organ, the same to be said about the brilliant Barrett on his guitar. The middle two minutes of this song is basically a big psychedelic jam session, which I have grown to love. It ends with some lyrics, and it has the bridge part again at 3:28... it's so beautiful.

Lucifer Sam (3:07)
This song immediately gets you thinking about the Batman theme, they are remarkably alike. This song's form is similar to Astronomy Domine, lyrics, and a jam session in the middle and it ends with the lyrics out. A great song, although rather boring in parts. Not up to the standard of the previous song.

Matilda Mother (3:08)
This song is probably the first song that really explores the psychedelic nature of the album. It begins with a simple organ intro, and it has quite simple lyrics, with an amazing bassline. Lyrics are fiddled with, sometimes normal, other times saturated with echo, and often backed with choir sounding vocals. The guitar, sounding like the Arabic snake charmers, is brilliantly soloed over a hi-hat and someone breathing rather heavily. A highlight of the album for me.

Flaming (2:46)
This song starts of rather melancholy-ish, a low motor-like rumble is accompanied by various sounds, like a kettle (at least I think that's what it is!). This song sounds like it has been directly taken off the Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club album and been put on this one. The lyrics are given to us in an airy, childish way, with a repetitive snare drum. Lyrics such as:

Alone in the clouds all blue
Lying on an eiderdown.
Yippee! You can't see me
But I can you,
further illustrate the childish nature of the song. This song is pure experimental. It is actually quite hard to listen to in my opinion. The guitar is quite intrusive in parts. The bass is HEAVILY synthesised and is often sounding like it is droning (unless you have huge subs). Wright is very experimental in this song, his odd and clever organ work is a highlight. This song has quite a number of sound effects; a clicking sound has a sort of solo (1:30) and some type of kitchen appliance is used a lot, either spoons or glasses.

Pow R. Toc H. (4:26) (instrumental)
This... is a very weird song, even for an album of this magnitude. It mocks a drum beat; it starts off with a sort of bongo as a bass drum, and someone going che-che (ha) as a snare. A duck (?) or something comes in then. Then it descends into madness. A whole load of different sounds come out to play. A simple piano solo (no synth, unbelievably) follows. This solo is quite relaxing, and it is reminiscent of early jazz (NOT ragtime). A simple guitar line follows, with a whole bunch of sounds, which sounds similar to an Indian (the ones with feathers). Sort of. I'm not going to explain anymore, as it is really too hard to do. You will have to listen to it to fully appreciate it. A great freak-out song nonetheless.

Take Up Thy Stethoscope and Walk (3:05)
At the Drive-in, surprisingly enough, did quite a good cover on this song, it almost (yes, almost) rivals the original, and I would heartily recommend hearing it (in my total unbiased opinion, I think Omar is a better guitarist than Syd {pay no attention to my 1. username 2. avatar or 3. location}). This wonderfully titled track is remarkably similar to the first track once again, with lyrics to start and finish the epic, and a mad jam session in the middle of it. This jam session OWNS Astronomy Domine, musically, technically, and aurally. Don't forget, Astronomy Domine's jam bit is very impressive. In Stethoscope's solo however, there is a mad bassline, which once again is quite droning. The guitar and keyboard (synthed.... ahh) try to outdo each other, which ends up 1. a huge screeching sound and 2. a musical masterpiece. Listen to this song, love it.

Interstellar Overdrive (9:41)
A song in 4/4 timing? I don't believe it. Probably the best drug song of all time. Again, it is so excellent that I will not do a review on it, please just listen to it. Oh... and listen to it through headphones... it's so much better and you get the multi-track experience.

The Gnome (2:13)
This song is so unbelievably cool. Seriously. It has a great intro, possibly the best on the album. It sounds like a weird metronome. Simple yet hilarious lyrics:

I want to tell you a story
About a little man
If I can.
Whilst not that weird, you will find yourself cracking up with laughter time and time again over the lyrics - they are so good and effective. It gets a bit psychedelic in the middle of the song, there's little music, and Syd's voice gets all airy. A childish song about a garden gnome - only Barrett could make that popular.

Chapter 24 (3:42)
I found this song quite boring. No album is perfect, right? The whole song is just really Syd singing over some synth and drums, it has no humour in it at all, and is rather boring. It has cool basslines though.

The Scarecrow (2:11)
This song starts of incredibly simple (yet, Barrett has taught us throughout the album that simple can mean better) a simple clicking sound followed by an organ riff, which happens to be cool. Barrett's humourous lyrics again are a highlight, and the organ riff is a masterstroke.

Bike (3:21)
Bike. So incredibly simple, yet so effective. This epic begins in the simplest of fashions; two rings of a bicycle's bell. Then, what follows, is simply the oddest lyrics in a song I've ever heard. And I listen to Cedric Bixler a lot. It's a song about a boy who likes a girl and tries to get her to like him by giving her things:

I've got a bike, you can ride it if you like
It's got a basket, a bell that rings and things to make it look good
I'd give it to you if I could, but I borrowed it.
The chorus re-enforces that fact:

You're the kind of girl that fits in with my world
I'll give you anything, everything if you want things.
The song tends to again descent into madness that is LSD. Other strange lyrics include:

I know a mouse, and he hasn't got a house I don't know why I call him Gerald
He's getting rather old, but he's a good mouse.
I've got a clan of gingerbread men
Here a man, there a man, lots of gingerbread men
Take a couple if you wish they're on the dish.
This song, well, is a masterpiece. Listening to it for the first time, you will no doubt think "what the hell?" (Don't worry I thought that too) but analyse it and listen to it many times and you will discover it is an absolute gem. With time signatures changing many, many, many several times, it's not a toe tapper, but is extremely fun to listen to. Syd's bland sort of singing also add to the childish effect - like a child singing about his bike. It also finishes very Sgt. Pepper-esque with a huge experimentation of sorts. My favourite track on the album.

Rating - I don't want to really rate this album. In my opinion it is definitely a 5/5, in the psychedelic genre. I have listened to Sgt. Peppers, and I prefer this one by miles. However, many many people have become accustomed to the Pink Floyd such as the Wall, and Dark Side of the Moon, and will be very disappointed by it. But if you want to try it out, go ahead, it is possibly the best psychedelic album out there.

Screw it - My Rating: 5/5.

Recent reviews by this author
Coroner GrinNecrophagist Onset of Putrefaction
Lykathea Aflame ElvenefrisJaco Pastorius Jaco Pastorius
Robert Prince Doom II SoundtrackDarkthrone Transilvanian Hunger
user ratings (2808)
other reviews of this album
1 of

Comments:Add a Comment 
December 9th 2003


Nice review.
Love this album. Best Pink Floyd by far, but I wouldn't even call it Pink Floyd... leauge of it's own, one of my favorite albums.

Once again, excellent review.



December 9th 2003


Good review minus the fact that you called 6/4 an odd time signature.

December 9th 2003


Originally posted by BirdsOfFires
excellent review.


Originally posted by Led_Zep_Bonham
Good review minus the fact that you called 6/4 an odd time signature.

haha... now that I think about it, 6/4 timing is pretty normal for the type of music isnt it?

December 10th 2003


I've been wanting this...based on your review, I take it it's worth the cash?

Animals is my favorite Floyd album that I've heard

December 11th 2003


^^^ its def. worth it, but like i said, dont expect Animals.

December 17th 2003


that was an awesoome review. its true, this album is completely in its own league in comparison to later floyd things which were more concept and arrangement driven, but this album you can tell was all just a strange array of thoughts spilling out of barretts mind.
have you heard the barrett solo albums?
and is anyone going to be brave enough to attempt to review post roger floyd?

December 17th 2003


i havent heard his solo albums
and i may do momentary lapse of reason, if i am bored enough

December 28th 2003


Just got it yesterday...BRILLIANT album, the only thing I disagree with is that I absolutely HATE Take up thy Stethoscope....Not a good song IMO.


December 28th 2003


After reading your review, i just bought this with my x-mas money. Excellent review of an excellent album.

December 28th 2003


[QUOTE=Kaden]Just got it yesterday...BRILLIANT album, the only thing I disagree with is that I absolutely HATE Take up thy Stethoscope....Not a good song IMO.


hehehe... it's the only song on the album that Barrett didn't write, so that's probably why you don't like it!

December 28th 2003


[QUOTE=manuscriptreplica]hehehe... it's the only song on the album that Barrett didn't write, so that's probably why you don't like it![/QUOTE]
Yeah, it's weird because I absolutely love Floyd under Waters direction too....I guess this one just didn't work.

June 30th 2004


i have heard this is one of the most psychedelic albums ever. I bought it, and from all the good things ive heard, it kinda disappionted me. Chapter 24, is pretty boring. Gnome was stupid IMO, besides for the part when there was two voice dubbing. Scarecrow, was very plain. Flaming's vocals were too loud. Ive heard this song live, when i downloaded it. It sounded great. But in the recording the vocals were just too loud. But the rest of the album is great. I give it a 4/5.

June 30th 2004


Excellent review of a strong debut album by one of the most innovative and creative bands ever to create amazing music, but correct me if im wrong in the fact that Pink Floyd did choose to get replace Syd Barrett but then after that he did not live out his life normally, but eventually suffered a severe decline in mental health, to the point of insanity. I believe that is what happened to him and that is why Wish You Were Here, another amazing album, is dedicated to Syd Barrett, in songs such as Shine on You Crazy Diamond, and Wish you were here.

loose cannon
June 30th 2004


There are great moments on this album like Astronomy Domine and Bike but otherwise it is flawed. Pink Floyd did not reach their full potential until Meddle. Chapter 24 is not that bad. Students of religion understand the apocalyptic references made in the song.

July 1st 2004


Great album 5/5.
I don't call this album pink floyd. I call it syd barret. Cause that's what it is.

July 1st 2004


awseome review dude, and i love the album

July 28th 2004


Band: Pink Floyd
Album: Piper at the Gates of Dawn
Year: 1967
Members: Syd Barrett (vocals/guitar), Roger Waters (vocals/bass), Rick Wright (piano/organ), Nick Mason (percussion)
Reviewer: Jay Angus

The album kicks off with Astronomy Domine, the song that defined Pink Floyd’s early space rock sound. With lyrics about outer space, it gave Pink Floyd a space image, which they later eagerly wanted to shake off. Nick Mason’s drums really stand out in this one. This is one of Pink Floyd’s early classics. It’s a fair way to start the album.

We are then lead into Lucifer Sam, a good tune about a Siamese cat. The bass line is fantastic here. It reminds me of another song, but I can’t pinpoint it. This is a song is unique. In my opinion, Pink Floyd never made another song that sounded like this. I can’t think of anything else to say about it.

The album progresses into Matilda Mother. It seems to be about a mother reading to her child. The lyrics don’t quite make sense. I’m not sure but it seems as though his mother is having trouble reading or something. The part where it says “Why'd'ya have to leave me there, hanging in my infant air, waiting?? sounds great. Roger Waters’ bass really stands out at that part, harmonizing with Syd Barrett’s vocals. In the early days of Pink Floyd, Rick Wright’s keyboard playing, such as in this song, was a lot more important than it was later. As we get closer to the end, Syd’s guitar drives the song to a close.

The next song, Flaming, is one of my favorite songs on this album. It appears to be about a stalker. The whole sound is awesome. Syd’s voice is great here, and it mixes with the backing vocals very well. I can’t help but tap my foot when I listen to this song. Syd’s lyrics in this song are obviously acid-influenced. Strange noises play all over this track. It’s still a great one.

Now we are at the most interesting song on the album, Pow R. Toc H. It opens with Syd “beat-boxing? and leads into the strange high pitched sound Roger can make, later heard in Careful with that Axe, Eugene. A somewhat humorous frenzy of sounds builds up and quickly drops off into a piano solo. After a minute or so of piano, the weird sounds return. They make the song sound very intense. The sounds grow into a huge swirl of sounds that sound like a dying animal. This one is certainly worth a listen.

Track six, Take up thy Stethoscope and Walk, is probably the worst song on the album. It’s also Roger Waters’ most upbeat-sounding song. The lyrics, about pain, seem to be the main thing Roger Waters wrote about throughout his career, but in later years, the songs don’t sound so upbeat. In the end it goes to show that music is the cure to your problems. I don’t like the song.

The next song is a Pink Floyd fan favorite, Interstellar Overdrive. It’s one of Pink Floyd’s earliest songs. I don’t have any evidence to prove it, but I believe it evolved from the guys just getting together and jamming out. It’s an instrumental, and there’s not much else you can say about it. It’s a good listen.

“The Gnome? is a very happy song about a gnome named Grimble Crumble. The gnome had a big adventure. I don’t know where we went, don’t ask me. Like a lot of other Pink Floyd songs, whenever there are two voices harmonizing, it sounds really good. This isn’t a great song, but it’s not bad. It’s worth listening to.

According to “Chapter 24,? all movement is accomplished in six stages. I don’t know what this song is about. It’s is pretty much based on the vocals, and a little on the keyboard. I like this song a lot, but there isn’t much to say about it.

“The Scarecrow? opens up with a catchy mix of percussion instruments. Then the keyboards slowly crescendo in and the song officially begins. This song is very relaxing. It’s a very nice ode to a scarecrow. It’s also one of my favorite songs on the album. The guitar stands out a little bit more than most of the other songs on the album, aside from Interstellar Overdrive. This is a good “chill? song.

If you chilled too much, you will be quickly un-chilled (thawed?) when this song starts. This song sounds like something you might hear at a circus. It doesn’t make a bit of sense to me. It’s about thing’s some guy has that he’s willing to give to his girlfriend if she wants them. After several unusual verses, the song appears to be over. (Un)Fortunately it’s not. The guy and his lady first must go into another room to make some “musical tunes? work. Footsteps walk us into a loud jumble a bangs and noises, brought to an end by a sort of frightening noise. And that concludes the album.

Piper at the Gates of Dawn was released in 1967. During this time, their leader, Syd Barrett, had begun to become schizophrenic from drugs and pressure. After this album was released, he and his music had gotten a little too insane, and he was kicked out of the band. Many consider Syd Barrett a legend. Chances are, if he hadn’t gone insane, Pink Floyd would probably forever remain a cult band. We would never have had such masterpieces as Dark Side of the Moon or the Wall.

This album is one of Pink Floyd’s greatest. They didn’t release another album that came close to being as good as this one until 1971 (Meddle). This whole album is completely different from anything Pink Floyd released in later years. This album was based more on the vocals than it was on the instruments, which is almost the opposite of later albums. I guess I will conclude this review by saying it was a wonderful debut. 3.9/5

I'm not satisfied with my review.

By the way:
The Piper at the Gates of Dawn, heavily influenced by the recently released Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club[/QUOTE]

It wasnt influenced by Sgt Pepper because Sgt Pepper wasnt released yet. The Beatles were recording Sgt Pepper at the same time as Piper.

September 3rd 2004


My dad has this on LP in mint condition.

Good first review.

September 3rd 2004


Very good review(s), and it's nice to see someone giving a really detailed other perspective on an album. I don't own this yet, and was planning to get it in my next bulk order, but it's just moved for sure onto my list. I've got 4 of their albums. Thanks for the reviews.

September 3rd 2004


Great review:thumb:

Im gonna buy Animals next and then I'll buy this.


You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile


Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Site Copyright 2005-2022 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy