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Pink Floyd - Animals CD (album) cover

ANIMALS

Pink Floyd

 

Psychedelic/Space Rock

4.52 | 2585 ratings

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Negoba
Prog Reviewer
4 stars Going Two Directions at Once

Pink Floyd's ANIMALS is the last of the major Floyd albums I digested. It is said to mark the beginning of the end for the band, and coincides with Roger Waters taking the reins. It marks a band in transition, a band both losing its identity but following a new muse. The result is perhaps the most coherent concept album the band would make, filled with Waters' nasty lyrics at their most razor sharp and David Gilmour's guitars at their most bold. But it also shows a tiredness I had never detected in a Floyd album before. Some of the retreads of old sounds aren't even thinly hidden, sections are extended to lengths the band must have known were overlong for record, and at least one song ("Sheep") has little identity on its own but is simply a prototype of the 70's Floyd sound.

There are some dazzling moments on this album. The opening build of "Dogs" and its great lines "Got to be able to pick out the easy meat" sung in odd rhythm is Floyd at its zenith. The song contains several of Gilmour's most signature leads, including a diminished harmony fall that is melodically out of character but perfect for the song. Still, the soloing gets a bit long, and the epic nature of the tune derives more from its endurance than from its sheer size a la Genesis, Yes, or even Opeth. The song had actually already been written for WYWH, as was "Sheep," and when the sounds of "Pigs (Three Different Ones)" come in eerily similar to "Have a Cigar" we find a band that is running on the fumes of its tank.

There are a few allusions from the glimmery new ideas that will appear on the subsequent THE WALL, itself another horrific vision of Waters sarcastic mind. While Floyd always had a sharp wit, there was also the sheer wonder of the psychedelic world it was creating. ANIMALS lacks this positive emotional aspect, and though the Animal Farm derived story line works quite well as a concept, the feel is overwhelmingly gloomy. Even the production is harsh, with each instrument sitting in such obvious isolation that you can envision the musicians doing their final takes on separate days while the others were out following their own whims.

In the time of the punk uprising, however, such nastiness must have made some sense. With other bands slowly catering to pop demands, Floyd made a harsh political commentary led by repetitions of "Oh, Charade you are." The songs are long, the solos indulgent, and unlike their contemporaries, the band is angry at the change of seasons. The authenticity of that negative energy makes this a powerful album. As a whole, it succeeds in its mission, probably more than its double disc follower. Certainly not a masterpiece, Animals, for this writer, does meet the standards for "excellent," as a piece of conceptual rock work ideal for the time it was written.

Negoba | 4/5 |

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