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Syd Barrett - The Madcap Laughs CD (album) cover


Syd Barrett


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3.65 | 189 ratings

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Cluster One
Prog Reviewer
4 stars "And I borrowed a page, from the leopard's cage, and I prowled in the evening sun's glaze..." - 'Long Gone'

I thought long about awarding this album a 4-star review, wondering if people will actually 'like' this album. In the end I feel it deserves this rating. I realised it is ultimately extremely creative and more a psychedelic collection of dreams than anything overtly 'progressive'.It DOES belong in progressive musical collections however, particular as an historical document, a stark example of what might have been.

Syd's music is not for everyone. His guitar style is straight rhythm after his US Blues heroes. His music is remarkably simple, yet lyrically dense. Syd Barrett is more of a poet/lyricist in the vein of Lennon or Dylan, than that of a Gabriel or even Waters for that matter. He had a rich singing voice, and a charisma lacking in too many of today's musican frontmen.

"The Madcap Laughs", Syd's first solo album after being unceremoniously disposed of by the FLOYD, is an attempt by his three producers (Malcolm Jones, Dave Gilmour and Roger Waters) to harvest what genius Syd had left in him. The result is naked beauty, in all its imperfections. David Bowie counts "Madcap" as one of his inspirations.

Many of the tunes present are works of marvel. Psychedelic adventures of a turtle ('Terrapin') fit right alongside lilting, almost ragtime, English 60's pop ('Love You'). Many of the songs present could have found a home on FLOYD's "Piper At The Gates of Dawn" as they have a lot in common with the likes of 'Lucifer Sam' and 'Flaming'.

Syd is at his absolute creative best on songs like 'Octopus', 'Long Gone', 'Dark Globe' and 'Late Night' and any who appreciate the wild, whimsical, yet haunting work of Syd from PATGOD will truly appreciate these works. With 'Octopus' being just as excellent as 'See Emilly Play' or 'Arnold Layne'.

This album is not without its blemishes however. Certain songs are truly painful to hear, as it is clear that Syd is starting to lose his battle with mental illness / reality.

Neil Young once wrote "it's better to burn out, than to fade away." This is the album where Syd begins to burn away, his music literally consuming him from within. 4/5 stars, a must for any FLOYD fan.

Cluster One | 4/5 |


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