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


Pink Floyd


Psychedelic/Space Rock

3.88 | 1902 ratings

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Sean Trane
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk
3 stars Totally unrepresentative of the real Floyd

Many Floyd detractors are usually giving the good nod only to this album, because they are fans of Syd Barrett's silly ditties and discard the rest of the group as mere support cast. This is of course immensely unfair, because the other three members, while no virtuosos, where definitely the musical backbone of the group, as cold be then seen or heard in concert way back then. Indeed, their live appearances were about lengthy and improvised tracks that featured way more than Barrett's twee songwriting, no matter how popular it was on the radio airwaves.

To be quite honest, Barrett's so-called genius is not quite as evident as some would have you to believe on this Gates Of Dawn album, as there are no songs that equal the potential of their previous two singles "Emily" and "Arnold". There are indeed a bunch of short songs that were about weird British/English weirdness, but it's nothing that The Beatles had done a few months before with Sgt? Pepper or Magical Mystery Tour and the Fab Four did that much better. Sooooo those thinking these short tracks are pure genius are forgetting this album post-dates Sgt Pepper by three months (June and Sept 67) and you can find the same kind of madness in albums that came out that same fall, namely Procol Harum's debut (Mabel, Garden Fence etc..), Traffic's Mr Fantasy (the non-album singles like Paper Sun & Hole In My Shoe and Berkshire Poppies, Coloured Rain ) and The Nice's Thoughts Of Emerlist (Flower King, Bonnie K, Maggie), although the latter two came out in December that same year, so Floyd might have been influential on these.

Where Floyd does the difference is in the more obscure and longer tracks, thus giving us another facet of their crafts, the live one. While the album-opening Astronomy Domine might appear as another poppish track, the three other musicians do marvels and it's little wonder it will be the only track that will survive in concert past Barrett's replacement and all the way until the release of Ummagumma. Another track is the gigantic Interstellar Overdrive, le lengthy track that sets the tone to Space Rock. Another weirdie is Pow R Toc H, where the whole group plays abstract and often dissonant music, thus showing enough depth to grab the serious music punters' attention. Roger Waters' sole penned track is a relatively instrumental, since there is only one verse (not that good), the rest featuring them playing and soloing.

Sooo discarding the other three acolytes to magnify the ephemeral genius of Barrett is unjust. In this album, the producer clearly chose to go with the Barrett facet, and as such, it was a good commercial choice. I would not hate to see this album reissued with the Emily and Arnold and their B-sides as added bonus! They'd blend in well with the album's madness and would therefore make Syd's Floyd-contribution complete in one disc. Hard to say this album is not essential (historically, anyway), but at least I can say that it's only moderately good.

Sean Trane | 3/5 |


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