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Pink Floyd - Atom Heart Mother CD (album) cover


Pink Floyd


Psychedelic/Space Rock

3.89 | 2214 ratings

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3 stars If only RON GEESIN had never been allowed in the studio! Otherwise I'm sure I would be giving this album a full 5 stars--but when a title track of that length is fouled up so badly, it costs an album pretty severely. All in all, even with that said, PINK FLOYD's members perform wonderfully, even on my least favorite, the title track. RICK WRIGHT begins to show hints of his more mature Hammond-playing style. Also, DAVID GILMOUR truly begins to come into his own as a guitarist. Unfortunately, the annoying intrusions of GEESIN's choir (and to some extent the horn section as well) greatly diminish the title track. There was potential there--if only they had gone it alone!

The other much-maligned longer suite, "Alan's Psychedelic Breakfast", is far more successful, and truly Floydian. Yes, the eating noises become really nasty at one point, but that's its only real drawback. Otherwise, APB has some bright, snappy band jams that make a very filling "meal" for the listeners. I'd like to make the point that this is not drug music contrary to what some think--this is of too high of a quality to have been thrown together under the influence.

ROGER WATERS' simple, heartfelt "If" I could go on all day about. Here, without any hint of the belligerence he built up over the years, WATERS tentatively, shyly lets the listener hear perhaps even more clearly than on The Final Cut or "Flickering Flame" who he really is. A young man, dealing with the numerous contradictions, insecurities, and aspirations within himself delivers his touching lyrics in an unusually soft, vulnerable, even "Wrightish" manner. For this, "If" is a truly precious gem. There are no barriers of anger that prevent me from making a full "connection" with what he sings of--of being someone who seeks companionship and understanding in a very confusing world. "If I were a good man, I'd understand the spaces between friends." But at this time...I feel he was still trying, and that's why I am able to empathize. People often confuse mere bluntness with honesty--unlike Animals and other venomous lyrics...this is true honesty.

The next track is equally stunning--RICK WRIGHT's "Summer '68". There's more substance to this than simply a song about cavorting with groupies. The character WRIGHT assumes actually has some interesting things to say. Perhaps inspired by watching the total abandon of the "Swinging 60's", this character of his finds the situation troubling and emotionally dissatisfying. His commentary isn't--at first glance biting or sarcastic in nature, but it's very obvious he feels a "cold", loveless relationship (one where he couldn't truly know the answer to his question "How do you feel?") is not for him. Despite the soft delivery, though, one look at the lyrics does reveal an uncharacteristically snide tone, where he seems to say to these loveless "lovers", "HEY, how about actually giving a damn for once?!" It's not WATERS' kind of in-your-face sarcasm...but it is there if you're willing to look. (On a related subject, note his 1996 solo masterpiece Broken China, where he demonstrates what he's willing to invest in a true bond of love.) Musically this is an absolutely infectious foot-tapper of a song with beautiful vocals, and naturally it would be WRIGHT who finds something truly useful for this album's horn section to do! Given his classical and jazz roots, it's no surprise he was able to pull it off.

"Fat Old Sun" is a pleasant DAVID GILMOUR guitar-based piece, which interestingly enough, is the first place we hear the bells that reappear in The Division Bell's "High Hopes". While nice to listen to, I must admit it doesn't quite stand out like APB, "Summer '68" and "If"...although when he croons, "Sing to me, sing to me..." I can't help feeling something in my heart. I would say AHM is rather underrated, at least...the band's contributions to it!

It's a shame GEESIN had to drag the overall product down so.

FloydWright | 3/5 |


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