|Issue 2 - February 1972|
|Meddle - Pink Floyd|
is a surprise - a beautiful one, well worth waiting a year for. If you
want to take off into another dimension, just dive beneath that mysterious
cover (a vast ear covered in water) and turn on to the Floyd's old magic.
Here's a track by track run through of the best yet from 'Pink Floyd'.
Side one opens with 'One of These Days' which begins with a strange, howling wind effect that made me feel quite cold! Then in comes Roger Waters with a mad staccato bass line leading to Pow! A soaring, swooping, repetitive organ phrase that rushes from speaker to speaker but quickly fades out to drums and Dave Gilmour's spacey bottleneck guitar then back to Waters with a tremolo bass solo interspersed with Floydian whoops and howls. Suddenly he breaks out in a Geordie (?) accent "One of these days I'm going to cut you up into little pieces"! which brings back the beginning of bottleneck organ whoops and wind.
Track two - 'A Pillow of Winds' - reminded me a bit of Cymbeline. Beautiful poetry in the lyrics and superb acoustic guitar work laced with quiet bottleneck electric (although I detected one or two prominent mistakes). On the whole this track sets the mood for the rest of side 1 - gentle, peaceful acoustic numbers guaranteed to get even the most smashed heads together! (I know from experience.)
Track three - For me the best track on this side is 'Fearless', an acoustic / electric guitar finger picking duet - with a slightly Indian feel - then the best lyrics from the pen of Waters "You say you'd like to see me climb the hill / climbing / you say you'd like to see me try climbing / but I'll climb the hill in my own way just wait another day / and when I climb above the tree line and the clouds I'll look down at the sounds of the things you say today". Then more acoustic / electric duet (but maybe the drumming was too heavy) leading to a verse about an idiot confronted by a Court who smiles in the face of the law, ending in an excellent recording of the Everton football crowd (!!!) - try and trip to this one then!
Track four - 'San Tropez'. Pink Floyd play at T Rex - very Bolanesque delivery of a little jazz number about lazing and loving in San Trop. Beautiful drumming - the best on the LP, while guitar and piano meander in and out of pure 30s jazz licks.
Last track is a side-splitter - a good number to roll up for! 'Sheamus' - a little blues about Roger Water's dog crying outside his back door. This track's got it all, Delta bottleneck, barrel house piano and werewolf howls from Sheamus.
'Echoes' - in my opinion the best single track the Floyd have ever recorded - takes up all of side two. I'm very tempted to sum this track up in one word - perfection.
From that beginning of sonar bleeps it develops into symphonic proportions, embodying some beautifully textured vocals and instrumentation. For instance, the first vocal break - the guitar and organ reach their peak, and in come Gilmour and Waters to complement them with lovely lyrics about independence and freedom of expression - "And no-one makes me close my eyes / no-one".
But the middle of this track stuns me - a howling wind laced with the most original guitar playing I have ever heard. In fact it reminded me of some unknown species of prehistoric bird (even more so when actual recordings of rooks follow it up) then some ingenious vocals - "Echo" repeated over and over again weaving in and out of floating guitar and staccato bass, ending in an organ fanfare.
I've attempted to describe the best moments of 'Echoes', but if you want to enjoy this masterwork, take a walk to your nearest record shop and buy this LP (worth £2.40 for 'Echoes' alone).
YA WON'T REGRET IT!