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Pink Floyd - Obscured By Clouds CD (album) cover

OBSCURED BY CLOUDS

Pink Floyd

 

Psychedelic/Space Rock

3.37 | 1059 ratings

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James Lee
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Deservedly unappreciated, this obscure corner of the PINK FLOYD discography nevertheless displays some surprisingly different sonic directions and belongs more to the future than the past of the band. Starting with the synth on the opening track (a very minimalist "Dogs of War" sound) and a newfound spiky aggression in the second instrumental, almost every song on the album has something in common with future releases. "Mudmen", especially, is a pretty clear precursor to the sound of later works. Only briefly does the past tradition of the band's loose acoustic-based works appear, in the sleepy but pleasant "Burning Bridges" and the deceptively comfortable-sounding "Wot's... Uh the Deal" (sort of an early stab at the concept behind "Dogs"). The lyrics throughout the album are notably more pointed and protesting, although frequently still abstract or general in scope. "Free Four" is the one truly memorable song in this collection, with a bouncy drive and the most direct Waters vocals so far- he addresses warfare, fame, aging, time, death...all in four minutes. "Gold It's in the..." is a stylistic left-turn, a straight- ahead rocker that some other band could well be proud of, but it's just not very FLOYD- sounding- or all that impressive, except for its uniqueness among the band's work. "Childhood's End" features some of the same funky brittle guitars that "Pigs" will put to better use. "Stay" is quite mediocre, with Wright simply rehashing the lyric idea behind his previous "Summer '68" with a less adventurous arrangement- although the "Stir it Up"- type guitar solo is nice. Finally, the initally interesting "Absolutely Curtains" has a little "Shine On You Crazy Diamond" in it, and even a bit of "Fearless" in the sampled conclusion...possibly this bit makes more sense to those who have seen the film.

Okay, this ranks pretty low on the must-hear PINK FLOYD album list. If you've absolutely got to have everything they did, there are a few worthwhile moments here. It's also quite interesting to see what the band did when there was less pressure to compose a cohesive work- this is rather like a B-sides compilation in that regard. I'd like to give this album three stars- it's PINK FLOYD, after all, and "Free Four" and "Wot's... Uh the Deal" are better songs than (for instance) "San Tropez" and "Seamus", but ultimately it is less a truly good album than a collection of curiosities.

James Lee | 2/5 |

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