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Pink Floyd - Obscured By Clouds CD (album) cover

OBSCURED BY CLOUDS

Pink Floyd

 

Psychedelic/Space Rock

3.36 | 1037 ratings

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Alitare
4 stars Pink Floyd - Obscured By Clouds - 1972

Humble, rugged, and energetic? This is supposed to be Pink Floyd?

Best Song : Wots....Uh, The Deal?

Damn right, this is Pink Floyd. And ya know what? This li'l soundtrack, here, is a lost gem. I have no problems saying that. It's a lost gem for so many reasons, I gotta go through them, one by one. First off, this ain't no ordinary soundtrack, in that, the film's plot has relatively little bearing, if any, on the songs, themselves. No, this stands out as a singular, disconnected Pink Floyd studio album, nestled neatly between the progressive soundtrack sprawl of Meddle, and the timeless atmospheric rock of Dark Side. One needs not have even so much as heard of the film to fully enjoy Obscured By Clouds. The only real connection with the movie I can see is the last track what has the chanting that goes on for too long, making it possibly the worst song on here.

Secondly, this is one of the only Pink Floyd albums after Meddle where the boys attack like a real, standard rock band. This, for what you might assume, has very little in the way of excess frills and gimmicky baggage. It's mostly humble, lush rock with that atmospheric edge, which makes the songs feel like a hardy workin' man's band, but retaining that signature Floyd style that we all love (or hate). So, in all, a real quirky find in their catalog. Some of the songs sound like studio outtakes from Meddle or Dark Side, while others feel like poppy B-sides to their Syd era, without the acid trips. So, it ends up being more diverse than what came after, even if some of the diversity is lent through a few less than engaging melodies or overlong musical approaches.

You'll still find the occasional trademarked Gilmour "screeching" solo, and Wright offers plenty of vast melody on piano. The word I can most correlate these tunes with is subtle. Nothing ever tries to break out to be more than what it was intended to be, like with certain aspects to Atom Heart Mother, or even Echoes, as much as I love that song. In fact, some of these songs, especially the modestly beautiful Wots...Uh, The Deal, are breathtaking. Mudmen is a lost Floyd classic in its own right, with the winding keyboard melodies leading into a furious guitar jam, straight from the soul of David's guitar, and it acts as a mighty precursor to a vast majority of work from everything Pink Floyd did afterward. It stands as possibly the second strongest track.

Not that they remain in one mood mindset, though. Some of the songs are pure rocking pop tunes, the likes of Free Four, which channels all the spirit from their past, and sets it to a jolly, almost throw-away rocker vibe, with quirky synth shots at the end of each verse. It's all good fun, I say, and it again, adds to the diversity of the record. The Gold It's In The... is another example of ear-catching, upbeat hard rocking. No, it might not have personality as distinct or memorable as say... Time, but it's a grand, energetic song.

As diverse, modest, energetic, and oft times, breathtaking as this album is, it does suffer from being a little too generic at times, and the atmosphere and personality is just not as memorable as these guys are capable of achieving. That, and the final song is just unnecessary. I mean, it's a capable enough closer until the chanting begins, then it just wrecks itself all sorts of awful. Still, regardless of the few flaws the album has, it's a classic Pink Floyd release, and needs to be heard by anyone with even a passing interest in the band's 1971-1979 output.

Rating: 12/15

Alitare | 4/5 |

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