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Pink Floyd - Animals CD (album) cover

ANIMALS

Pink Floyd

 

Psychedelic/Space Rock

4.52 | 2476 ratings

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TGM: Orb
Prog Reviewer
3 stars Review why?, Animals, Pink Floyd, 1977 (IIRC)

StarStarStar

For some, Animals is the Pink Floyd album. This is entirely understandable. The lyrics are top notch and absolutely venomous. It has a higher RAWK! percentage than its predecessors. It's fairly heavily polished, and the pieces are long and just about as complex as anything Floyd ever did. Furthermore, Waters and Gilmour are both working (relatively :p) overtime as instrumentalists on the first couple of pieces. It's not at all their best album for me, certainly, but I like it. Unfortunately, Dogs is a bit messier than I like, and both it and Sheep have noticeable weak sections. Anyway, introduction: Good album (especially Pigs), but not on the level with the great Floyd albums. Knocks the stuffing out of 90% of The Wall.

The two Pigs On The Wing sections basically act as bookends for the album's three long pieces. They're nice little understated acoustic pieces, with a good set of lyrics, and, as a pair, they work (even with a typically nasal Waters vocal).

Dogs, the album's big piece, opens with a little insistent Gilmour acoustic hook and Wright's rather eerie keys. Even Mason provides some rather drumming touches every now and then while he and Waters keep the background of the piece together. Wright and Gilmour wander between incredibly emotive and well connected solos and backgrounds and rather isolated little lines that don't really go anywhere or fit into anywhere. The howling dogs sound effect is used particularly well, though the 'stone' repeat is a cause for serious annoyance. The main melodies are strong and frequently recalled in new ways. The song's most striking instrumental moment is probably the guitar solo-with electric piano underneath about six minutes in and subsequent brief vocal bit, though all sorts of chipping guitar parts provide brief fascination throughout. Wright's extended atmospheric keyboard solo is more than a little uncomfortable, and while it holds bursts of neatness, and the awkwardness is perhaps an intentional element, the overall sensation is simply one of mild discomfort rather than real directed fear or panic or pain. Another Gilmour solo is slipped in between the last real 'verse' and the final section of lyrics, and though it doesn't really seem to link into the preceding bit, it is exceptional. The concluding section of the song, with all the instruments combined into one acidic, desperate Floyd entity, comes together fantastically, with Waters' gripping lyrics, vocal overdubs and classy guitar. Strong from the lyrics and vocals side, but I find it's let down by the band's occasional non sequiturs and rather loose grip of mood.

Pigs is a bit more solid, and while Gilmour is just as prominent as a guitarist, it's far more tailored to the piece. His little jibs and almost ironic chugs perfectly fit into the whole reprimanding, aggressive vibe of the song. Wright, though a little less omnipresent, is also much sharper on this one, adding in suitably silly pig effects and a whole range of little synth and piano ideas as well as a simple, but effective, organ theme. Though it's a strong song throughout, the instrumental sections are the definite ups, with Gilmour's fantastic WEBBEH! talk box moments and a lot of subtlety and depth, with a tendency to slip in guitar, synth and bass flourishes quietly enough to skip the attention one time, but importantly enough to catch hold of it another. The conclusion is pure brilliance, with a wandering Waters bassline, multiple simultaneous kicking Gilmour solos and Mason holding the fort by reiterating the percussion from the vocal bits. Another great one in terms of the lyrics.

Sheep is also good, even if Waters' bass is very much One Of These Days lite and the silly bleating effect introduction wanders on without really doing a lot (much as Wright's solo is perfectly nice, I'd appreciate the effort to give me a bit of contrast without such an annoying bass groove). Gilmour is again on top form, with surprisingly edgy and discordant guitar parts, and the way the vocal fades into a choppy organ or synth part is extremely cool. Wright seems re-energised, with generally thicker and more dynamic organ and synth tones, drawing on those of Wish You Were Here and Dark Side Of The Moon. The mid-section of the song perhaps drags a bit, with that hideous bass groove over an initially amusing (but soon ends up feeling a bit gimmicky) parody of psalm 23, but the full-on spacey-madness-among-these-dark-Satanic-mills burst immediately following it is apologetically entertaining. Now, this'd be a perfectly good piece if the bass sound wasn't simply insufferable, and even as it is it has a lot of merits, but I don't really enjoy listening to it just because of that ubiquitous Waters groove. Another bookend Pigs On The Wing section rounds off the album rather neatly.

Anyway, short review, that, but the point is made. Animals is a cool, fun rock album, with one exemplary track (Pigs), two OK ones (Dogs and Sheep) with a couple of particularly weak sections between them and two bookends. Unfortunately, it doesn't really stray beyond that. There's no doubt that Gilmour is a real standout here, and anyone who likes his solos needs to have this one, even if he's not quite as subtle as on some of the earlier albums. Equally, Waters' lyrics are brilliant throughout, with a clear idea of where they're going, wordplay, wit and a healthy dose of truth (and the delivery is to match, though I've basically ignored the vocals in the review). Three stars might seem a bit harsh, but I put this album on for the moments of brilliance, not for the merely OK whole.

Rating: Three Stars, but a high three stars. If you're a Floyd fan, it probably won't disappoint.

Favourite Track: Pigs (Three Different Ones)

A quick note: according to the might of Wikipedia, Gilmour's handling bass in Pigs and Sheep, and Waters is taking a few rhythm guitar parts. Musician references may well be wrong.

TGM: Orb | 3/5 |

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