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Pink Floyd - The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn CD (album) cover

THE PIPER AT THE GATES OF DAWN

Pink Floyd

 

Psychedelic/Space Rock

3.90 | 1380 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

friso
Prog Reviewer
4 stars Pink Floyd - The Piper at the Gates of Dawn (1967)

A very likable and psychedelic early debut. Only Soft Machine managed to start in such a fashion.

I dislike Dark Side of the Moon, I get bored of Wish you where Here, Animals is ok and The wall has it's moments. Yeah I can say I liked most albums from the debut to Live at Pompeii, so I'm an first halve Pink Floyd fan. On the Piper at the gates of Dawn we hear an extremely naive but inventive Pink Floyd let by founding member Syd Barrett. His vocals, lyrics and compositional style is the main ingredient throughout the album.

The album features two main styles. The first is the dirty instrumental progressive/psychedelic rock with rock'n roll and surf (sort of) influences. The spacey and truly progressive opener Astronomy Domine is an essential song for progressive music. An other examples of this side of the record is the lengthy (for the time of release) Interstellar Overdrive that has an almost acid feel at times and a lot of improvisations. Most of the songs feature elements of this style, but the main focus lies on the psychedelic songwriting of Barrett which is the second style to be found on this album.

The songwriting of Barrett on this album gave him the status of cult-hero and has given momentum for the 'what-if'-debate since his departure of the band between in '68 (if I'm correct). The songs of Barrett are somewhat unpredictable and have an innocent (sometimes almost childish) feel and bizarre but inventive lyrics. His vocals sound very artistic with that confused way of bringing his story. The songs are diverse but always recognizable Barrettish.

The keys of Richard Wright are great on the opening track, but the songs leave little space for him. Later on his part in the Pink Floyd effect would become more important. Roger Waters plays functional bass-lines and the drums of Nick Mason are still simplistic on this album. Later on the remaining band-members would become true master of their instruments (except for Mason who's drumming skills would drastically decline during the Dark Side period).

Now comes the main part of this review in which I will raise an important question. How important is still album today anno 2010 (43 years after it's release)? It's historical significance is not to be denied, but does it still work?

The recording of the album is quite good for '67 and is very likable for fans of early rock music but it might be a problem for the modern prog generation. The compositions still sound fresh and inspired, but the combination of psychedelic songs and progressive tracks might not be rewarding for people who have a hard time liking the song parts. The lyrics are of great importance here (Waters even stated that it's the only element of the album he still likes). As a conclusion of this part I would like to say that the styles of Pink Floyd that made this album so great had disappeared completely during the Meddle period, never to return. If you only like albums after this period you've got no guarantee that you'll this album.

Conclusion. Historically very significant and perhaps the most progressive album of '67 (Zappa being the only other Progressive band who released an album this year). I myself like the album very much. It's full of sympathetic ideas and it shows Barrett at the top of his game. If you want to begin on this album I'd recommend to first watch the Pink Floyd and Syd Barrett story to understand the context of the music. As a rating I will give four stars, not yet a masterpiece but still essential for every serious progressive collection, but...

Listen to it while understanding it's historical context!

friso | 4/5 |

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