Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography
Pink Floyd - Relics CD (album) cover


Pink Floyd


Psychedelic/Space Rock

3.58 | 378 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

5 stars Five stars for a review of a compilation album? Surely you jest?

No, I'm quite serious. It's not often that one gets a history lesson as pleasurable as listening to an album like Relics, for starters. It is also a skeleton key, if one knows how use it, to see why Pink Floyd started out as a singles band and could not maintain their stature as a British Top of the Pops hit band.

For those unfamiliar, Relics, released in 1971, contains Floyd's two certified UK chart hits, Arnold Layne and See Emily Play. Both songs contained enough pop sensibility to scale the British charts in the era of psychedelia, while also ensuring a social critique or character study in Arnold Layne and See Emily Play, respectively. This was something that songwriter Syd Barrett would never duplicate in his career and that other members of Pink Floyd either failed to grasp or ignored until Roger Waters started spilling his guts on the Dark Side Of The Moon album that was released in 1973.

When Barrett became mentally defunct, keyboard player Rick Wright stepped into the breach and penned the truly wonderful Remember A Day and the fantastic pop tinged psych wonder Paintbox. Both of these songs delivered on what The Zombies were trying to produce on their Odyssey and Oracle album from the same year but only hinted at. Wright's vocals are sublime as are his understated but heavily treated keyboards, with the rest of the band taking up the slack and virtually carrying this material in Syds' mental absence. However, Remember A Day and Paintbox did not sound like Syd's pop ditties and did not have the lyrical connection that a song like Arnold Layne had with the public. We're all guilty, at times, of doing something that hurts no one and either having regretied it or having been punished for it. So we're all Arnold Layne. We are not all part of Rick Wright's psychedelic daydreams, however, so the British public didn't respond to Remember A Day or Paintbox. Next up in the songwriters box is Mr. Water's wonderfully moody Cirrus Minor and angry Nile Song, with the newly acquired Dave Gilmour showing off his wares to good effect with both excellent voice and guitar playing. Again, two stellar songs, while not intended as singles but certainly had the quality to be released as such, still went unnoticed from the OST from the 1969 movie titled More.

Where next? Another crack at a group instrumental, naturally, with the studio version of Careful With That Axe, Eugene that, while not being as good as the live version found on Ummagumma, is every bit the equal of Interstellar Overdrive which was also included on Relics, having been taken from the seminal Piper At The Gates of Dawn album from 1967. Relics also includes the previously unreleased blues and New Orleans' like brass band concoction, from 1971, titled Biding My Time, which is quite good and displays Water's ever growing lazy vocal style to great effect.

The Floyd still have melodic muscle and inventiveness and decided to go forward from there with their next album, the ambitious Atom Heart Mother. So everything sounds like it will go to plan until we come to the closing track on Relics, the clever endearing Bike, also from Piper At The Gates Of Dawn, that top's off Syd Barrett's great lyrical and vocal work with an astounding sound collage of clocks, bells and chimes which quickly reminds us, after the fading panning kazoo sounds, that the Floyd are in for a steep uphill climb from here until they reach The Dark Side of The Moon.

As I stated, these songs are not only sublime in themselves, they also have been meticulously tracked by the Floyd so as to flow seamlessly from one to another. They are also a most pleasurable history lesson.

SteveG | 5/5 |


As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

Share this PINK FLOYD review

Social review comments () BETA

Review related links

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: — jazz music reviews and archives | — metal music reviews and archives

Donate monthly and keep PA fast-loading and ad-free forever.