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Pink Floyd

Psychedelic/Space Rock

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4 stars The Pink Floyd as a brief 5-member band was unique as they were in transition and the album reflects this. Each song was written by a different member of the group (except for Nick Mason), a taste to come for what they accomplished on the studio side of Ummagumma two years later. Each track unique to the others. They were still searching for the now famous Pink Floyd sound at this point. Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun most resembles what we think of The Pink Floyd today.
Report this review (#8194)
Posted Monday, December 22, 2003 | Review Permalink
4 stars With Gilmour replacing the erratic Syd Barrett, the Pink Floyd walks into epic and mesmerizing long songs but focusing in the whole experience. As an induced drug trance, the Floyd sound take control of the mind listeners. Just Set the Controls....
Report this review (#8197)
Posted Friday, January 2, 2004 | Review Permalink
Sean Trane
Prog Folk
3 stars A Secretful Of Saucers

After the departure of Barrett, first helped out by The Nice's David O'List, then by David Gilmour, most everyone would not bet on the group's survival, including the group's management who dropped them (in favour of Barrett, what a mistake!!), and conscious that their record label would follow, Floyd issued their second album Saucerful, less than one year after Piper and definitely kept the short Barrett song format as a majority of the album. This album came with one of the first and superbly psychedelic artwork of Hypgnosis.

Wright and Waters picked up the songwriting task, with Wright penning two, the ambitious mellotron-filled See-Saw and Remember A Day (a holdover from Piper), while Waters writes the rest of the album, except for the collegial title track. Then, of course, there is the awful but anti-militarist Corporal Clegg, (sung by Mason (!) and Gilmour), the horrible Jugband Blues, both quite sub-par and least but not last, the album-opening Be More Light, with its promising intro?

Among the major highlights of this album (and setting the group's future musical direction) is Controls To The Heart Of The Sun (dating from pre-Piper days), one that continues in the line of Interstellar Overdrive, but despite its title, Waters' slow and soft recitation (his only vocal intervention in the present album) of some Asian poetry, it is not space/sci-fi related. This track is an invitation to a psych travel or trip with its Indian modal inprovs, this track will remain in the live sets until DSOTM days. The other highlight is the 12-mins four-part title track, the first really ambitious Floyd oeuvre. The smooth opening movement soon transforms into an oppressive atmosphere, leading to the more-difficult second movement where Mason's repeated drums rolls are the centre of the other three colleagues' gradually more cacophonous crescendoing improvisations. The return to calm is gloomy with Wright's sombre organ taking over, alone at first, but soon joined by mellotrons and heavenly choirs, leading to a grandiose celestial finale.

Aside a minimal Barrett input (Jugband Blues) into this second album, Saucerful is definitely a transitional album, where Floyd measured their talents at writing pop songs ala Barrett and decided to fly on their own uncertain wings for an uncertain voyage and an undetermined destination. While Saucerful is really uneven, prefer it to Piper, mainly because it is a decisive step to their future endeavours

Report this review (#8208)
Posted Tuesday, February 3, 2004 | Review Permalink
3 stars Non-Floyd fans need not apply. This albums merits are mostly historical. With Syd Barret gone the Floyd needed to totally change the core of their sound. In this effort Roger tenatively takes the lead with a few mildly interesting space-rock pop songs and a Syd insanity clone in the coolest track Corperal Clegg. But the efforts to expand their musical bounderies with the title track and Set the Controls are not up to the quality of their latter work. The title track is at best interesting but mostly annoying. Set the Controls starts you on a journey as Floyd's best does but never gets anywhere. Overall the album is a nice look at a growing band but not a good pure listen.
Report this review (#8213)
Posted Sunday, February 15, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars Floyd's beginning to sound complex, after their psychedelic effort, this one is the first step on experimentation of the band, and that's what I like Floyd's first works...there's lot of mystery. Is their first album that really sounds like space rock...something that they had experimented in their first album in songs like Astronomy Domine and Interestellar Overdrive, here we have their first three tracks and their longest and title track...See-Saw is one of my favorites, for me is one of the most beautiful psychedelic ballads I've ever heard. It's not so bad, the only thing that I don't realliy like on this album is the sound quality, it's probably the only album that hasn't been remastered as the others form their catalogue...It's an album that deserves a good remasterization so you can enjoy the sound of every track. It's not fair really.
Report this review (#8203)
Posted Monday, March 29, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars i dont know what it is about this album but its probably my favourite of the floyd and a real wonder. 1968 arrived. and pink floyd had to figure out how to make an album that can be as good as piper at the gates of dawn even though they lost key member syd barrett. the answer... david gilmour.

This album experiments with mellower tracks like see saw and remember a day, solo written pieces by each band member, a syd barrett track jugband blues which is amazing, and progressive songs with experiments in guitar, drum and keyboard sounds. the title track is a trippy and scary extensive piece that literally sounds like an alien and futuristic noise. the changes between guitar effects, drum pieces and gong bashing are extraordinary.

The opener "let there be more light" is an absolute gem that kicks you in the teeth with the fast paced opening riff and spacey feel to the song. the classic "set the controls to the heart of the sun" shows rogers great songwriting skills and it is musically flawless. One other trippy song which is reminiscent of piper is "corporal clegg" this is a prelude to the wall as the lyrics are clearly about the death of rogers father dying in the war but this is not revisited until the wall. extremely underrated.

Report this review (#8204)
Posted Tuesday, May 18, 2004 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars PINK FLOYD fans are not going to like what I have to say about this album, which sounds to me like THE BEATLES meets HAWKWIND meet BONZO DOG DOO-DAH BAND. In my teens this album sounded wierd and hip, now it sounds dated, simplistic and almost thrown together.

The bass riff at the beginning of 'Let There Be More Light' sounds very promising but the remainder of the song does not deliver, although there are clear indications in this track of better things to come in later albums. The dated "Lucy in the sky" reference at one point and the music itself reinforce an image of someone getting stoned in a Marrakech kasbah.

'Remember A Day' also sounds very 1960s-ish. I quite like it, probably for nostalgic reasons rather than the music itself, which is a pleasant enough, somewhat dreary tune and nothing special.

'Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun' is another pot smoker's hymn, with its hypnotic, Tantric-sounding chant. Very hippie-ish and dated, but quite pleasant and relaxing. Nothing special though.

'Corporal Clegg' is another very 1960s-ish song. It seems like a poor imitation of THE BEATLES' "Sgt. Pepper's" style. It reminds me a bit (especially the part with the kazoo, or whatever it is) of the BONZO DOG DOO-DAH BAND. I don't know whether the track is supposed to be cynical, but nevertheless it does nothing for me.

The album's title track is psychedelic space music full of random sounds made with the instruments, slightly reminiscent of HAWKWIND's live interludes. Think tinkling wind charms, noises like night birds - that sort of thing. It sounds like the soundtrack of a thriller or horror movie - the part where the psychopath is stalking the victim in a dark warehouse. The organ at the end is quite nice, though - almost church-like.

'See-Saw' sounds like some 3rd rate imitation of a BEATLES song from "Sgt. Pepper's". It has facile lyrics, is boring and again sounds very dated.

'Jugband Blues' again sounds like a 3rd rate rip-off of THE BEATLES' "Sgt. Pepper's". It's not anything special.

Overall, this is one of the least interesting of PINK FLOYD's albums in my opinion. Perhaps of interest to collectors in order to follow the history and evolution of the band, but musically less interesting than much of their other work.

Report this review (#8216)
Posted Tuesday, June 15, 2004 | Review Permalink
The Prognaut
5 stars Undoubtedly, if I could've lived through that belle époque of the early 70's, instead of been born in the late ones; to witness not only the birth of prog rock but the rise of determinant albums like this altogether, I certainly will sustain a whole different point of view concerning this almost completely written piece by youngster Roger WATERS. Far from giving a complete explanation of why psychedelic rock is retaking a considerable spot among the prog community these days, I rather talk about how come I consider this album and its predecessor, "The Piper at the Gates of Dawn", as the implosions that gave birth to prog rock.

Firstly, back then in 1967, the band's first production was catalogued of incorrigibly strident and senseless, which truth be told, was the watermark of prog rock. In the same year, the band composed and arranged three of the seven pieces contained in "A Saucerful of Secrets", which weren't included in "The Piper at the Gates of Dawn" due the inconveniences and financial impossibilities the record labels where suffering those days. Due those dry patches the record companies where going through, PINK FLOYD recorded their singles partly and unevenly with different musical seals, in that order they recorded "Remember a Day", "Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun" and "Jugband Blues" with Westminster Music Ltd. and the rest of the record with Lupus Music Ltd. in 1968. Eventually, the band gave the music industry "A Saucerful of Secrets", occupying the empty seat of the "see-saw" to lift "The Piper at the Gates of Dawn" off the ground. The record companies gave the band fair recognition and fought over which would be the first one to get the quartet to sign a new record deal.

Secondly, and beyond the interminable discussions regarding "which was the first prog band ever?", I'm just gonna limit myself to setting the basis of why I consider them the fathers of prog rock. Maybe in 1966, some bands appealed to prog rock released a single before PINK FLOYD did, but that didn't mean those bands were assumed to be blanketed underneath the progressive rock trend wing and contemplate them as precursors. PINK FLOYD set the basis and the parameters from where rock was going to be considered as progressive or not, and they still do, no matter if it's been over ten years from their last studio release. The band commanded in the very beginning by Syd BARRET, then by Roger WATERS during the providential stage of the band and by David GILMOUR afterwards the inevitable split up, started to stand up somewhere in between the prominent musicians of that time like Bob DYLAN, Frank ZAPPA or THE BEATLES, by proposing and establishing new musical trends. The PINK FLOYD albums proceeding "A Saucerful of Secrets" contain the pure essence of the band and the key parts for the creation of masterpieces such as "Meddle", "The Dark Side of the Moon", "Wish You Were Here", "Animals". all crafted under the initial psychedelic rock alignments the English band was founded on.

"A Saucerful of Secrets" is a very underestimated album. Pieces like "Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun" still have reminiscences not only in our minds when relating PINK FLOYD to a specific stage of their successful career, but in the compilation, live, remastered albums, proving they have prevailed no matter how many years they carry on they shoulders. Excellent album that certainly was way to many steps ahead the nowadays musical achievements and an incomparable piece of work. Masterfully interpreted, irremediably a point of departure to many incoming bands, a must definitely. PINK FLOYD at its best.

Report this review (#8217)
Posted Tuesday, July 6, 2004 | Review Permalink
James Lee
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars At this point, Barrett's inceasingly unpredictable and bizarre behavior could no longer be denied; David Gilmour, an old friend to both Barret and Waters, was brought on to replace him on stage- it was briefly thought that Syd could be a non-performing member, like Brian Wilson of the BEACH BOYS. As a result, we have the first of many transitional PINK FLOYD albums which are characterized by an inconsistent style- the result of four songwriters in an already wildly popular band simultaneously learning their craft. The Lewis Carroll whimsy of "Piper" is mostly absent, with the more extended, improvisational 'space rock' elements filling in. And there is quite a bit of filler; this album could have been even shorter had all the extraneous solos and weird sounds been trimmed (but then it wouldn't have been a PINK FLOYD album!).

"Let There Be More Light" begins with an uninspired bass riff and some organ noodling; eventually we get to the song itself, where Waters' limp lyrics contributing plodding verses and over-dramatic choruses padded out with more noodling and plenty of cymbal crashes. "Remember a Day" is better, with a melancholy but unsettling Wright-penned lyric and otherworldly backing. "Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun" is a classic, eerie and droning but with a great sense of buildup. Waters' lyrics benefit from their ambiguity here. "Corporal Clegg" is Waters' attempt at a Barrett writing style, a portrait of british eccentricity rather than a precursor to later criticisms of warfare (the military motif giving conspiracy-minded lyric-spotters a red herring). The chorus is interestingly compressed and distorted, but the song is rather unremarkable- too much like those on "Piper" but less fun. "See Saw" is Wright's version of Barrett, again capturing the weirdness but not the buoyant dark whimsy. To the song's credit, it establishes a dreamy ambience and sense of loss in the lyrics. Going by this album alone, one could have thought that Wright would emerge as the dominant songwriter in the band...

The title track is the first long piece the band recorded for an album. Conceived and arranged by the band with a series of visual patterns (a compositional process more often used by avant-garde musicians like John Cage), it forms the blueprint for later works. Like "Heart of the Sun", a better live version can be found on "Ummagumma", but it is still interesting to hear how the band is experimenting with sound manipulation in the studio (and not just any studio...right down the hall from the Beatles). The final organ-based movement is pretty powerful, reflecting the more dramatic classical influence that eventually replaces the orginal whimsical acid-pop sound altogether.

The only Barrett contribution to this collection is "Jugband Blues", a perfect bridge between the psychedelic "Piper" and his later solo works. Especially poignant in retrospect, the song is an intermittent lysergic sound-poem bookended by lyrics worth all the other words on the album put together.

This album is not as unique or enjoyable as "Piper", but more similar to the albums that would follow and full of great moments for FLOYD fans and space rock connoisseurs. Barrett's regrettable departure nevertheless allowed the band to become the one we know and love today, and these sometimes unsure first steps are definitely worth a listen.

Report this review (#8218)
Posted Sunday, July 25, 2004 | Review Permalink
3 stars After the ingenuity of the first album this a disapointment and a very disjointed affair showing that at this point without Barretts leadership they seemed...well, leader less!

Still, it's got "Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun" but its a tame enough version and over all a sterile enough sounding album. "Corporal Clegg" at best sounds unfinished to me and that kazoo is just annoying! Stable effort.

Report this review (#8219)
Posted Sunday, August 29, 2004 | Review Permalink
Chris S
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars OK IMO not up there with Piper at the gates of Dawn but still a good album. I do think Barrett's deterioration was beginning to show which for me makes saucerful of secrets somewhat disjointed. It is still a very good album as I say and the highlights include ' Jugband Blues' ' Remember a day' and the eerie ' Set your controls....'. This last piece is excellently reproduced at the pompeii gig for those interested.
Report this review (#8220)
Posted Thursday, September 2, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars Hard to believe but this is the only record to be featured as a quintet, a very "space" record, filled with a lot of ambient sounds (except of course with last song), the hand of Syd Barrett is still avery strong infuence in the band, and at the same time an annoying force that is fading into the unknown, perhaps the most talked about songs from this record are the masterpiece SET THE CONTROLS TO THE HEART OF THE SUN and the underrated A SAUCERFUL OF SECRETS. Actually beacuse of this two songs worth the risk buying this record, and i'm not denying the opening cut LET THERE BE MORE LIGHT but is obvious that they had their key moments. Belive in this record as a failed task or as a transitional record, that led into greater things. an unnamed classic
Report this review (#8221)
Posted Thursday, September 2, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars This is one of the Floyds most underrated and interesting albums. Recorded during the diparture of Syd Barrett and the only album to feature both Gilmour and Barrett. Often and wrongly seen as the useless album that came after Piper. That statement couldn´t be more wrong, actually the album is a huge step forward for the band. Waters' songs on this album are all nice and contains great medoly and harmony. "Let there be more light" with it´s spacey lyrics and cool chorus, "Set the controls.." with it´s classic bass-rhytm and "Corporal Clegg", which is the first song to feature Waters anti-war paranoia he later developed into absurdum with the tremendously overblown "The Wall".

BUt the true highlights of this album are the two songs written by the often tremendeously underrated organist Rick Wright. "Remember a Day" and "See Saw" seems to float in the air, filled with smoke of some jolly-good dope. The lyrics of both, which Wright is quite embarassed about today, has a theme of childhood and happiness. Nice little lyrics that he shouldn´t be embarrassed of at ALL! Wrights singing on the songs are absolutely fantastic and BEAUTYFULL.

The title track written by all the group members (except Syd) is a hint of coming instrumental masterpieces (Atom Heart Mother, Sysyphus and so on). In this studio version "A Saucerful of Secrets" is not AS good as on the live versions of "Ummagumma" or "Live at Pompeii", but the end is magical anyway.

The album ends with Barretts last contribution to the Floyd: "Jugband Blues", a scary statement by a soul fallen to pieces. It has a strange rhytm and a very sad and touching melody. The song fits the role as the album ender perfectly.

"A Saucerful of Secrets" is an album that every fan of arty psychedlia and prog should own. It´s nice listening to and is absolutely one of the Floyds "all-time top 5" albums.

Report this review (#8222)
Posted Friday, September 24, 2004 | Review Permalink
2 stars I fail to see any direction in this album, the music wanders aimlessly and directionless. It looks like the loss of Syd Barret as main writer has forced the band to come up with a substitute for his style of writing instead of remaining closer to their own identity as songwriters. Or maybe Roger Waters and consorts are still in the proces of becoming real songwriters. Anyway this is not a good follow-up to their debut. Let there be more light, set the controls. and jugband blues are somewhat amusing, and from A saucerful of secrets there's a great live version available on Ummagumma. But this album does nothing for me. And I can't rate it any higher than two stars.
Report this review (#8224)
Posted Wednesday, November 17, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars It's almost unbelivable that an album which is actually disjointed proves to be a masterpiece, in spite of tracks like See-saw or Jugband blues that don't really live up the reputation of early Pink Floyd. Majestic and darkly beautiful compositions like Let there be more light, Set the controls, A saucerful of secrets and sweet psych-pop songs like Remember a day make this album one of my desert island favourites.
Report this review (#8176)
Posted Wednesday, November 17, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars a great follow up after piper at the gates of dawn. alot of good tracks here including let there be more light, coporal clegg, the title track and jugband blues. i aslo like the song see saw, but thats just personal intrest. many people hate this song because of its so called boring characteristics. still this album is IMO better than piper at the gates of dawn. it is also the only album with pink floyd as a five peice band. i would give this a higher scor if the album was longer, but it still deserves the score given
Report this review (#8177)
Posted Thursday, December 16, 2004 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Could have been so much better if a couple of the tracks here were cut. "Jugband Blues" for example is a song I never really enjoyed, and it seems heavily out of place on this album. It may be Syd Barret's last song recorded with PF, still I can't find anything truly enjoyable with it. "Corporal Clegg" and "See Saw" are two decent songs, but the rest is top-notch stuff. Remarkably the title track, which is an avant-garde favorite of mine. It's the albums climax, in my opinion, and easily one of PF's best tracks. The album suffers from horrible production though, sounding very sloppy and amateur-ish, which drags on this album very much, meriting only 3 stars to me. It would have received much higher rating from me if it had better production and a couple of better songs, preferly in the album's title track vein.
Report this review (#8178)
Posted Wednesday, December 22, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars Pink Floyd's second album is basically the same line of its predecessor. Comparatively, we have psychedelic arrangements as well but a little more diluted in favour of melody. Spacey motives have been almost reduced to the creepy title track which, by the way, is the album's finest: it has 3 parts; the first starts with a scaring crescendo noise (sounding like a ship coming our way), followed by twinkling objects by wind giving a sensation of loneliness and fear, psycho strong piano, strange sounds exploring stereo. sudden they vanished and the second part brings a crescendo drumming leading to more terrifying sounds. The ending part is quite different, with melancholic slow church organ playing followed by mellow chorus.

Other highlights include the tracks until the title track, the main riffs and melodies of Let There be More Light and Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun, this last with some spacey ideas as well; and the sad nostalgia of Remember a Day. These and the title track song have constituted very influential songs over the next decades. The other tracks are basically pleasant songs, which show more again (like in the debut album) strong BEATLES influence, particularly from one of their most experimental (and best) works "St. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club".

Resuming: more diluted psychedelic ideas but also more catchy melodies and one incredible ambience 3 part suite. We can even smell a start of the transition that would transfigure the next albums.

My rate: 8/10

Report this review (#8179)
Posted Tuesday, December 28, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars Nobody believed they could do it--not even their original management, who abandoned them in favor of Syd BARRETT, who now found it impossible to function within the band due to problems that included drugs. "Jugband Blues" definitely captures the state he was in, as well as (I think) awareness of his being phased out. Although I personally don't like this song, it certainly sets the stage for the rest of the album, which aside from one amazing and unique feature, forecasts PINK FLOYD's later directions with great accuracy.

I feel that PINK FLOYD's survival after this blow is owed not to one person, but TWO, who could hardly be more opposite: Richard WRIGHT and Roger WATERS. One might even (if you allow me a bit of poetic license with my usage of the terms) call them "yin" and "yang" respectively. With new guitarist David GILMOUR still trying to find his place in the band, having not yet developed an independent style, quiet-natured Richard WRIGHT brought his already-established Eastern-tinged and innovative musical talents to the table. Even Roger WATERS' "Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun" owes a heavy debt to his keyboarding. WRIGHT also makes extensive songwriting contributions, including the gorgeous, haunting "Remember a Day" and the relaxing "See-Saw", both of which he wrote on his own. Also remarkable is his vocal contribution. The remaining half of the excellent Barrett-Wright vocal duo very nearly made his soft, melodic, and unique voice THE voice of PINK FLOYD here. In fact, to my ear, he made it onto every track except "Jugband Blues", although the title track is arguable (duet, GILMOUR, or WRIGHT?) and "Set the Controls" is hard to tell. All I can say on the latter is, compare the faint "aaaahh" bit to the same place on Live at Pompeii where GILMOUR is clearly doing it, or Ummagumma (Live), where WATERS does it, to the "aaaahh" at the beginning of "Far from the Harbour Wall" on Rick WRIGHT's Broken China, and tell me which the studio version sounds more like.

PINK FLOYD's "yang" force, the outspoken Roger WATERS, brought his lyrical skills to the table with lyrics to "Corporal Clegg" (shades of The Wall?), "Set the Controls" ("Will he remember the lesson of giving?"), and I think also "Let There Be More Light". However, WATERS seems, oddly enough, the more tentative of the opposite RW's on this album, perhaps because he was still working on finding his voice. On A Saucerful of Secrets he relies heavily on outside influences such as Syd BARRETT and Chinese poetry. That said, however, his is a worthy contribution.

Nick MASON fans get a rare chance to hear him in full Eastern-psychedelic glory in the studio setting, most notably on "Set the Controls" and the apparent forerunner of "Echoes" (far more so than "Atom Heart Mother"), "A Saucerful of Secrets". Lyrically, all three writers are turning away from the Piper-era whimsy towards nostalgia (in WRIGHT's case) and madness (in WATERS' and BARRETT's cases), although some of the psychedelic, free-form style remains.

Those of you who have not heard Piper or Relics may be shocked to hear the severe recording-equipment limitations the Floyd suffered from in their early days--this is down to their label, in my opinion, which underfunded them. This, along with my dislike of "Jugband Blues" are why I dock the rating of this album half a star. But as both are due to difficult, uncontrollable circumstances, and the band DOES come through them well, I must give them their due credit. Overall, this album is a must-have for any PINK FLOYD fan's collection. It was truly a unique moment in their history--never again would yin and yang experience such synergy with both virtually in "command".

Report this review (#8180)
Posted Friday, January 7, 2005 | Review Permalink
2 stars Pink Floyd fans only. I wouldn't really recommend this unless you love the Floyd and want to have all the albums. It starts out rather eerily with Let There Be More Light, Remember A Day and the scary Set The Controls for the Heart of the Sun. Then in comes Corporal Clegg, which is very obviously Roger trying to duplicate Syd's success with strange songs. The title track is another druggie anthem, See-Saw is a nice, peaceful, layed back Rick Wright track. Jugband Blues, Syd's last stand as a member of the group, is a nice poppy way for him to leave even though many people wish he didn't. The band didn't do exceptionally well, it was the late 60's and their "sound" was just forming. It's not really a great album, but it's progress, and it influenced their sound for the future. Not really worth the money you spend on a CD when for the same money you could get Obscured By Clouds. If you like Atom Heart Mother, you'll probably like this.
Report this review (#8181)
Posted Sunday, January 9, 2005 | Review Permalink
Marc Baum
4 stars Any fan of psychedelic rock must know the first two records of Pink Floyd. "The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn" was up-spaced too, but with "A Saucerful Of Secrets" they redefineed the genre of psychedelia. More music from far away dimensions and the music got an new character with the second lead guitar by David Gilmour.

Songs like "Let There Be More Light", "Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun" or the romantic "See-Saw" are definitive chill-out-pieces, but don't only work under the influence of marijuana or harder drugs. They can take you on a trip of undiscovered mental feelings and mind conclusions. This trippy side of Pink Floyd won't be loved by some people, specially by the mainstream-audience may find it annoying, but it deserves attention as essential part of the band history. Syd Barret was the hero of the psychedelic movement in the late 60's and he will always be missed by fans of this era. Schizophrenia was the reason for, that he left the band after that record. All the best Syd, you crazy diamond!

Simply put, if you've liked the debut album, don't hesitate to get A Saucerful of Secrets as well. It may be an aquired taste, since it's light-years away from the direction of Pink Floyd's big era, but it's undeniably a worthy addition to the collection of any prog listener. Even if you are mainly into Symphonic prog or Jazz rock or RIO/Avant-prog or...

album rating: 7.5/10 points = 76 % on MPV scale = 4/5 stars

point-system: 0 - 3 points = 1 star / 3.5 - 5.5 points = 2 stars / 6 - 7 points = 3 stars / 7.5 - 8.5 points = 4 stars / 9 - 10 points = 5 stars

Report this review (#8185)
Posted Thursday, February 10, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars The second PF album, A Saucerful of Secrets, is quite different to the debuting album of the band, Piper at the Gate of the Dawn. Where Piper is a quite happy album with a lot of songs about childhood and things like that, A Saucerful is an album that sets the dark mood for the following albums. Of course this change is caused by the line-up chanche: as most people know, Singer, guitarist and songwriter Syd Barret, the genius of the band, was replaced for David Gilmour. Now most of the songwriting was by Roger Waters and Rick Wright.

It's a great album I think, my favourites on the album are the arabian "Set the Controls for the Heart of the Son", the great, but rather unknown song "Corporal Clegg", where can be seen the influence of the loss of Water's father in the war for his songwriting, and the well-known experimental title-track.

The last song, Jugband Blues, is the only song on the album written by Syd Barret. In my opinion it is the weakest song on the album, but it's still a pretty song.

I like this song very much, it's not as sparkling as Piper at the Gates of the Dawn, but it's more mysterious and I like it very much and I recommend it to all Pink Floyd and Psychedelic Rock fans.

Report this review (#8187)
Posted Tuesday, February 15, 2005 | Review Permalink
Cluster One
3 stars The importance of the loss of Syd Barrett on the PINK FLOYD sound can not be overemphasized. It was infinitely more serious than their later loss of Waters in the 1980's. After all, to their fans at the time Syd was PINK FLOYD!

Whereas 'Piper' was entirely Syd-dominated with slight glimpses of Rick and Roger's vocal and writing influences, 'A Saucerfulof Secrets' (ASoS) is a hodge podge of: 4 different vocalists (everyone but Nick Mason sings), multiple lyricists/song writers (Waters is credited with 3 songs, Wright with 2, and Barrett with 1) and a very unnecessary and indulgent percussive experiment on the eponymous track ('ASoS'). In actuality, much better (live) versions of the song 'ASoS' appear on 'Ummagumma' and 'Live at Pompeii' with Gilmour's rendition of 'Celestial Voices' sounding absolutely "heavenly".

These factors make this album distracting at times (is that Dr. Strange on the album cover?) and more a collection of different musical visions, rather than a cohesive work. I mean, there is space rock, psychedelia, whimsical tunes, blatant prog, Mason's over-indulgent drum solo and even the proverbial brass band in 'Jugband Blues' on this album. Add to all this, a very hesitant (for good reason) replacement in Dave Gilmour and well, it takes its toll.

This album does have its strong points though:

1) Space Rock. 'Let There Be More Light', 'Remember a Day', and 'Set the Controls For the Heart of the Sun' are definitive offerings of what was to be become PINK FLOYD's early signature sound, progressive space rock.

2) Rick Wright. FLOYD in later years would come to be dominated and synonymous with Dave Gilmour and Roger Waters. But in the early days, Rick Wright was a full participating member of the band and easily as influential a songwriter as Waters. He writes a strong piece of music in 'Remember A Day', arguably his best.

3) Syd's Swan Song. It is not on 'Wish You Were Here's' melancholic 'Shine On You Crazy Diamond' where we sense Syd's ghost the most, but rather in his own fittingly haunting lyrics of this album's 'Jugband Blues' : "It's awfully considerate of you to think of me here and I'm almost obliged to you for making it clear that I'm not here"

'ASoS' is good prog, and a great (the best?) example of the 'space rock' genre. It is however extremely disjointed compared to its predecessor 'Piper at the Gates of Dawn', and is very unapproachable for the average listener. If you are not a fan of prog or space rock, this album should be devalued even further to 2/5 stars.

Report this review (#8188)
Posted Thursday, February 17, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars An excellent piece of psychedelic rock. Every song has its strengths and no weaknesses. First the opener, "Let There Be More Light". A terrific bass riff, with excellent spacey effects and vocals. "Remember A Day" is one of Rick Wright's best songs, good effects in that one. "Set The Controls for the Heart of the Sun" is an ultimate classic. Everything about it is extraordinary. "Corporal Clegg" is yet another one of the Floyd's best war songs. The effects are strong in that too. The title song, "A Saucerful of Secrets" is a 100% awesome listen for those who crave creepy, psychic songs. A 12 minute instrumental with everything you'd like. Ghostly sounds, guitar effects, and the charming last part, "Celestial Voices". Hearing that feels like you're in heaven. Finally, Rick Wright's "See-Saw" is another good listen for the psychic listeners as is "Jugband Blues". It pretty much sums up Syd Barrett's fall into oblivion, with haunting lyrics such as..."I'm much obiliged for making it clear that I'm not here". Overall, if you are one who seeks psychedelia at it's best, pick this up immediately. It's an ultimate masterpiece.
Report this review (#8225)
Posted Thursday, March 10, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars "Far Far Away" opens the adventuress and psychedelically charmed masterpiece from early Barrett influenced FLOYD. "A Saucerful Of Secrets" was I suppose a bit of a transition album bridging Syd's psychedelia influenced music with new member David Gilmour's and his slightly more progressive leanings. I love the early FLOYD psychedelic experience and IMHO "A Saucerful Of Secrets" represents one of the key albums that helped shape both the progressive rock era as well as the generation readiness for the prog explosion. This album also manages to cover a good chunk of ground from the dreamy membrane of Wright's "Remember A Day" to the socially poignant and surface humor of "Corporal Clegg" to the pure progressive magic of "Set The Control For The Heart Of The Sun". The end result is a tremendous little album full of dark and psychedelic influenced exploratory progressive rock.
Report this review (#8211)
Posted Friday, March 25, 2005 | Review Permalink
Tony Fisher
2 stars The only really good things about this album are that it is marginally more listenable than its predecessor and that it marks the end of Syd Barrett in the band. Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun and See Saw give glimpses of what was to come, but suffice it to say that I've had this album for 35 years and have only played it half a dozen times. I tried to listen to it for this review but just couldn't face it all and gave up halfway through. How did they ever survive such awful debut albums to become the geniuses they later were?
Report this review (#8212)
Posted Saturday, March 26, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars it is much better than the previous one, which i could not stand at all (too little music, too much smoke). But this one is much better, introducing the hallmarks of their later music (long slow developments, experiments with sounds and harmonies). It was also the beginning of the unique period when the eclipse by SB was away and the eclipse by RoW was not total yet. Thus, the two best musicians within PF :DG and RiW could realized more. Remember the day is really a song to remember.
Report this review (#8227)
Posted Wednesday, April 20, 2005 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars The title is also great!

Im not going to tell you about Pink Floyd`s history, only remark things that you already know, A Saucerful of Secrets was the second album that Pink Floyd released, but the difference is that here Syd Barrett put his last collaboration before being kicked away by the band, so that`s a special taste about this for that reason, what is next to the Barret`s psychedelia, what`s left of the Barret`s insanity , i dont know, but what im sure is that this album made differenc in the history of music, and in the hearts of Floyd lovers.

A difference to their debut album, here a new touch was led to the album, David Gilmour on guitars joined the band to create a rockish and more experimental sound, which we wont appreciate yet in this album, because it has yet the psychedelic and acid LSD Barrettesque sound, but anyway we can notice a new mind and a new prescence here.

Seven are the tracks which were placed in this great album to delight and please music lovers, starting with a great atmospheric and acid song called "Let There Be More Light", which is recognizable for it`s guitar sound at the beggining of the song, then it starts to fade down and vocals appears, a great song to start the album, i personally enjoy this song very much, i wont review all the songs, but i will tell you about some of them.

"Remember a Day" is the track which was composed by Richard Wright (when non Waters - Gilmour big ego guys could create compositions) and believe it or not it has his particular touch, besides his vocals, it has yet the early peace and love organ sound.

"Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun", who considered Pink Floyd fan doesn`t know this classic, great song with pretty nice lyrics and a superb atmosphere during it, this time a Waters hymn, but chek out the drums.

"A Saucerful of Secrets" is maybe the lloniest or craziest of them all , instrumental, only with Gilmour`s voice and screams at the end of the song, it could be an improvisation, i dont know, but great.

And the last song is also the last Syd Barret`s touch and composition during his time in Pink Floyd, "Jugband Blues" with his very own style, giving us a song alike to thos Relics songs, not the best, but also nice.

So far this is not my favorite album, but i really love it, you can have a great time while listening to it, no matter if you are a Floyd or better said an early Floyd fan, i suggest it to you all.

Report this review (#8226)
Posted Tuesday, April 26, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars OKKKK This is much better album than the last one. SACUERFUAL OF SECRETS is the most beautiful album pink floyd ever made .Syd barret contribution is immense . HE is the one who named pink floyd and i think he is genious in writing music. Set the controls for the heart of the sun,remember a day, saucerfual of secrets and ofcourse jugband blues thelast song written by syd barret is the most imagiantive song ive ever heard the song challenges the legality of dreams in last lines"and the sea isnt green, and i love the queen , what exactly is a dream and what exactly is a joke" perferct end to an album and it was last of syd barret with pink floyd guitar playin on this album is amazing gilmour and barret done a great job and kind of sound was made by both of them AMAZING.
Report this review (#8229)
Posted Thursday, May 12, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Pink Floyd didn't release many albums that had the entire band's talent being expressed in a solo manner. The second one, "Saucerrful" is a tranisition into the work of Dave Gilmour and away from the erratic Syd Barrett. Both have enourmous strengths but Barrett should not have been on drugs. Anyway...each member did an excellent job producing this album particuluary Roger Waters and Rick Wright. For you good Floyd fans, 5/5. It's deserved.
Report this review (#8231)
Posted Friday, May 20, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars For me, five stars is very rare.

The most accomplished psychedelic-space music that Pink Floyd has ever made. I have heard this album a thousand times (!) and it keeps the same taste (I think you know what I mean).

There is no mistake, no bad songs... it's pure and natural (maybe too symbolic but I have no other words to explain that). No complex rhythms, but very rich in mysterious atmosphere sounds (scattered and various percussions, well-used organ and guitars).

The tracks' order is perfect. The simple, but excellent, bass line of Let there be more light presents instantly the mysterious atmosphere of the album. Remember a day (Wright's composition, wow) and Set the control... stay beautifully in the same mood. Corporal Clegg follows with its funny-demence structure (surprising). A Saucerful of Secrets is a treasure for who likes instrumental-experimental music (the chorus in the last "mouvement" is a must) See-Saw and Jugband blues (Barrett's touch) close the project in a better way than you can imagine.

Notice that A Saucerful of Secrets (First and Only Space-Product done by the five Floyd symbiose) is completely different than The Piper at the Gates of Dawn (more Barrett's psychedelic period).

Personnally, I like Pink Floyd from The Piper to A Momentary Lapse of Reason but I highly prefer the Saucerful-Meddle period. More AUTHENTIC and underground. I recommend this Floyd period to all CAN fans. A Saucerful is less accessible than Dark Side and The Wall (more commercial) but it's better that way. Sometimes, prog masterpieces have to live hidden...

Report this review (#8232)
Posted Sunday, May 29, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars This is another excellent early record by The Floyd, slightly different to their debut, as it shows the beginning in places of the lengthier pieces they were to develop later on. 'Set The Controls' is the sort of thing that was to be reinvented by bands such as 'The Orb' many years later. Repetitive and hypnotic, it is particularly effective through the headphones. The opener, 'Let There Be More Light' is another fine piece, with superbly contrasting vocals in places. My personal favourite though, has to be the romantic 'See- Saw' with simple but evocative piano from Richard Wright. The whole album is suffused with atmosphere, and sounds quite modern considering its age. Both Barrett and Gilmour are influencial here, and it was a fascinating period, with, for a brief time, a five piece line- up. For me, they weren't to do an album anywhere near as good again until the classic 'Meddle', three years later. Superb cover too.
Report this review (#35225)
Posted Saturday, June 4, 2005 | Review Permalink
Eetu Pellonpaa
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars This album was a huge disappointment to me personally, though I realize the influence it had as pioneer to both soon emerging post-psychedelic musical scene and the acid rock oriented krautrock acts. I had high hopes about the LP when I had just started to find the material of early Pink Floyd. The stunning album covers made promises of a highly aesthetic voyage to the inner realms, this expectation forced with heard live versions of the album compositions and its high appraisals. The major flaws here are in my opinion the following: The shorter tracks are not good as compositions, and the good long tracks have been ruined with sterile studio sounds. I believe there are much better versions of "Set The Controls for The Heart of The Sun" and "A Saucerful of Secrets" on the recordings from their live performances. Even the "Jugband Blues" with late Syd Barrett sounds quite silly, unlike his later solo works at their best. On a whole, I have found the discography of Pink Floyd very unbalanced, reaching sometimes unbelievable heights, then other occasions getting lost either to unpolished psychedelic abstractions or over produced bluesy boredom.
Report this review (#36772)
Posted Friday, June 17, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars This album marked the departure of Former frontman Syd Barret, who have a composition here, the beautiful Jugband Blues. This album was made in the purest tradition of the psychedelia era, with long acid trips ( Sauceful of secrets), some short moving songs ( Jugband Blues, Remember a day), and original things from wich Pink Floyd would construct (Mainly Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun) The first step into Space Rock were aready made, and even though this is not a masterpiece, it is still a plesant album to listen to, mostly withou a bad song. The first side is definitely stronger, but even the second side has its strenghts. 4.5/5
Report this review (#37055)
Posted Monday, June 20, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars This album is the first Prog Rock Album of Pink Floyd. And, it is the last album by which Syd Barrett participated in production.The style of Pink Floyd was established by this album. Especially, "A saucerful of secrets" and "Set the controls for the heart of the sun" are wonderful masterpieces.
Report this review (#37973)
Posted Wednesday, June 29, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars It looks like i'm one of the few people who consider this a masterpiece from start to end...*gets shocked*

Anyway, this is the last album with Syd's presence. I really love this one, in my opinion it is much better than "Piper", "More" and "Ummagumma", making this the best FLOYD work from the 60's era. What we have here is awesome and complex psychedelic music.

Opening with the memorable intro chords of "Let There Be More Light", the cosmic tour begins leading to the great Rick Wright's piece "Remember A Day", showing how important this keyboardist's contributions were to the band. The first song has some very insane lyrics mentioning even Lucy, from that famous BEATLES' song. The latter is one of my fav Wright's works, that leads to the amazing "Set the controls..." that is even better live. I have a profound passion for this song and consider it one of the most underrated ones of the FLOYD catalogue. "Corporal Clegg" is very Waters-ish and the worst track from the album - but i like it as well! It can get a bit annoying if you are still not used to the FLOYDIAN psychedelia, but then we have the title epic to put the album back to its pedestal. "Storm Signals" and "Celestial Voices" are pure heaven, being the previous parts not bad either. The whole epic according to Waters is about a battle being "Celestial Voices" the cry of the dead ones. Of course the live version from Ummagumma is much better, but i love this studio one a lot too. Then the album goes very dreamy with "See Saw", another Wright's contribution leading to Syd's farewell on the disturbing and moving at the same time "Jugband Blues".

In my opinion this album is the first real important FLOYD one. It is the best side of pure Space Rock made by this band, and soon they would get into a more complex and crafted progressive sound on Atom Heart Mother. We have two weaker albums until then, though: "More" and "Ummagumma". But those aren't bad and do have some great songs within them. The FLOYD is only begining to show the world why they are here for, and slowly growing and discovering their true sound.

Report this review (#40668)
Posted Thursday, July 28, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars It's not a prog album, it's closer to psychedelic rock. There are some good songs like "Let There Be More Light", "Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun" and "Jugband Blues". But rest of the songs are not that good. "Corporal Clegg" is similar to The Beatles songs, but not that impressive and melodic. "A Saucerful Of Secrets" has boring moments and I prefer to listen "Celestial Voices" part from "Live At Pompeii". You can't feel David Gilmour's contrubution so much in the album. It is still good, but not a masterpiece.
Report this review (#43922)
Posted Tuesday, August 23, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars Some good pieces ("let there be more light", "Saucerful...", "Set the controls..."), but I really hate everything that was made or influenced by Barrett: songs like "Jugband Blues", reminding the first period of PF exemplifies what I do not like.

Not essential at all.

Report this review (#44325)
Posted Friday, August 26, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is one of the most beautiful scripted album in history of rock music it sounds reaaly deep and emotional at the same time."Jugband blues" is a very dreamy song and it and gives a perfect end to this album and one of the best song Syd barret wrote in his entire carrer.And is the most underatted album in carrer of pink floyd.When i heard this album it sounded reaaly spacey,imaginative and physidelic.One of my favt songs"remember a day",saucerful of secrets" bec of its celestal voice,"set the controls for the heart of the sun" written by roger waters and ofcourse" jugband blues".People may interpet they want but it is one of the best floyd album of all time and the art cover is amazing it shows how the album has a timeless quality and its music is made in a perfectionist as pink floyd will be always remembered an esential masterpiece in rock history.
Report this review (#45083)
Posted Wednesday, August 31, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars This album of Pink Floyd "first" generation is extremely interesting (historically). A particular tone at the level of the keyboards which is that of the end of the 70s. The band is rather homogeneous. Magnificent compositions (specially the first side of the album). A particular atmosphere which will evolve towards more accomplished albums. However I always find a certain coolness in "drafts".
Report this review (#45460)
Posted Sunday, September 4, 2005 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Psychedelia at its best!

The sophomore FLOYD album has been largely dismissed as a "transitional" Barrett to Gilmour album, where the band were "searching for their sound". Hell, the sound is already here and what a sound! Absolutely essential psychedelic album for any serious music listener. Wright provides his two excellent contributions, "Remember a Day" and "See-Saw", while Waters delivers his first masterpiece, "Set the Controls...". A big filler is a dull and never-ending title track, which however seemed to have paved the path for the early TANGERINE DREAM, although not the sound that I like very much. Recommended as PINK FLOYD at their most psychedelic moment.

Report this review (#45840)
Posted Tuesday, September 6, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars Oh man...

As much as I love Floyd, I hate this album. It's the middle ground, right between Barrety Goodness and THE REAL FLOYD. Some tracks are good, many bad. The album cover is good, at least.

Let there be more light: It's ok, but not that good. You can hear underlying Floydian elements that would be found later. The sound comes off as sort of Arabian Nights, don't ask me why. Gilmour has some guitar that sounds distinctly like him.

Remeber a Day: Well, it's a song that was compltely written by Wright. I love wright, i love his keyboarding, and the song's okay. The two songs in this by Wright give me the eery feeling he was in love with his sister! And not in the proper way! Wright makes some Syd-ish mouth noises.

Set the controls for the heart of the sun: One of Roger's song where he's like "I'm gonna make a long, boring song and you have to sit through it, damn it!" A similiar unvarying song can be found on Wish You Were Here, Welcome to the Machine. I can sit through it, but its sort of boring. Apparently he ripped off the lyrics from a fortune cookie.

Corporal Clegg: I like this one quite a bit. It's one of my favourites on the album. The Corporal thinks he's won a war but he's actually insane. The kazoo works well.

A Saucerful of Secrets: What is this? A long song that points to later long masterpeices but unfortunatley is even worse than Interstellar Overdrive. I can listen to it from time to time, mostly because the drum loop from Mason is sort of cool. But please guys, stop pulling these ridiculous songs from your arses and start getting to the real Floyd!

See-saw: Crap. I like the other Wright song better. But it's alright I guess.

Jugband Blues: Barret's final song comes off as very sad because he will soon fade into schizophrenia and dementia. His last exclamation point in a sad story of a sad ending. One part sounds a lot like a part of Atom Heart Mother.

So, if you are a big Floyd fan like me, by all means buy this. It's underwhelming but listenable. If, however, you are not a Floyd fan directly but want to try out their many and great albums start with something like Dark Side of the Moon and see if you like it. Continue from there.

Report this review (#46047)
Posted Thursday, September 8, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars Much better!! for my taste. They have started to developed their stuff! And, what will make PF unique in every sence in the Space Rock Genre.. There are real Gems in this album!! Recommended to any prog lover.
Report this review (#51633)
Posted Thursday, October 13, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars One of the least impressive Floyd albums from their earlier years, A Saucerful of Secrets is at times an absolute mess and at others absolutely brilliant. At most, this is a mediocre album by Floyd standards.

The album opens with a great bass line from new frontman Roger Waters on "Let There Be More Light" and the new lineup does not dissapoint. It goes from being a seemingly jam- oriented song to a slow, melodious chant about ships and the human race. Classic prog subject matter.

The album continues with Rick Wright's "Remember a Day", with brilliant piano work from Rick and sollid drumming from Nick Mason. Another solid, if forgettable, track.

The album then slows down even more, with the classic "Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun", which is basically a brilliant space rock jam session, with Roger's lyrics propelling you to interstellar heights. The song builds up and builds down almost seemlessly, causing you to wonder whether it was a song you just heard or something more...

The next song has got to be a low point in Floyd's career. I don't know why they decided to put "Corporal Clegg" on the album, but they simply sohuld have left it on the original tapes.

Ah but then they turn it around with a brilliant jam in the vein of "Interstellar Overdrive", the title track of the album, "A Saucerful of Secrets". Though mostly mindless hitting of instruments, the track ends with the beautiful "Celestial Voices" at the end, which makes it all worth it.

"See-Saw" is next, yet another forgettable track from Rock Wright, only not as good as "Remember a Day". Not as dicposable as "Corporal Clegg", but easily forgotten.

Finally the album ends with "Jugband Blues", Syd Barret's last hurrah with the band. Unfortunately it is also a forgettable tune, though it was put on the 'best of' set Echoes, probably just as a reminder to fans that Syd was in the band at one point.

So ends Saucerful of Secrets. An interesting Pink Floyd album, yet not one that can be listened to in any situation or setting. Not one you'd play for someone who's trying to understand Pink Floyd, yet good for fans.

Report this review (#54998)
Posted Sunday, November 6, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars Pink Floyd's second album,the only album to congregate all the ones that already had passed for the Pink Floyd marks the end of the age of Syd Barrett. A Saucerful of Secrets is more mysterious and really seems to showcase more of the qualities of the other band members, in particular Roger Waters and Rick Wright. Another interesting aspect of this disk is that we see (or rather hear) Syd Barrett contributing to Pink Floyd for the last time, while David Gilmour is now part of the band, replacing Syd.

1. Let there be more light - exciting piece of psychedelic space rock. Intelligent lyrics. Very good! 4/5

2. Remember a Day - Rick Wright's somber and nostalgic, while the soft piano part elicits the peaceful mood of childhood.... "Why can't we reach the sun?" 5/5

3. Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun - I absolutely love Waters' bass playing in this- it adds to a great atmosphere. Great! 4.5/5

4. Corporal Clegg - a good song. I don't think the two solo´s of kazoo completely ruined it but I'll admit that it seem like a bit of a fart in the face the first time I heard it.3.5/5

5. A Saucerful of Secrets - the title track, Saucerful of Secrets, is far from a collection of strange noises followed by mellow organ music. This track IS the concept. It begins with unorganized chaos, very ugly to listen to, very annoying and irritating. Then a transformation occurs. A metamorphasis if you will, into a mellow, beautiful soundscape which builds up to a point which lifts the soul upwards and away... This song is about the life of a butterfly. From destructive, ugly, caterpillar, to a beautiful butterfly. Once trapped on the ground, hated by all, now flies free upon the breeze, to be appreciated and admired by everyone. Now, listen again to the music, and enjoy. Excellent! 4/5

6. See-Saw - is a smooth, summer childhood fantasy, and the chaotic middle bridge.A fantastic work by Rick Wright. 5/5

7. Jugband blues - a song so hauntingly sad he almost makes you want to cry. I miss you Syd! Goodbye! 4.5/5

Final Note : Pink Floyd's second album is called a masterpiece by some and a total flop by others. Actually it's not either. It certainly isn't as coherant or as inspired as the debut. Instead it is a fascinating document of a band that is partly in disintergration and partly in rebirth. It definately contains some good songs and is a very promising pick-up-the-pieces job by the band. Recommended!

4+5+4.5+3.5+4+5+4.5 = 30,5

30,5 : 7 = 4.3

Excellent addition to any prog music collection

Curiosity: In "Jugband Blues", that Peter Jenner classified as "the auto-diagnose definition of a schizophrenia state", Syd Barrett laughs:" It's awfully considerate of you to think of me here/ And I'm much obliged to you for making it clear that I'm not here/And I'm wondering who could be writing this song..."

Report this review (#55651)
Posted Wednesday, November 9, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars Here we are...

This one kind of catches Floyd in an awkward moment: it's their first album with Gilmour and their last with Barrett, and as such it's unavoidably a bit uneven. Rick Wright (!) contributes two tunes here "Remember a Day" and "See-Saw" that continue the fairy-tale ambience of Piper, if without as much of the dark overtones. Those come roaring to the surface on Roger Water's eastern-sounding drone "Let There Be More Light", great song. More importantly, Waters turns in his best set of pre-Dark Side lyrics on the languidly trippy "Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun", and the decidedly bizarre "Corporal Clegg" summarizes the ideas behind The Wall a whole decade before that album was even concieved. The madness that threatened to throw Piper off balance has completely CONSUMED this album.

Floyd's musicianship has improved since Piper here too, Wright's keyboards are in full force (including a mellotron, a rare occurence on a Floyd record!) and we get our first taste of Gilmour's brilliant guitar playing although he doesn't really "solo" here.

The 12-minute "A Saucerful of Secrets" is their earliest attempt at a soundscape, the start of it creeps up slowly getting louder and just when it seems unbearable, a wind sound washes away everything but Nick Mason's drum loop, which propels us through the next section: while the others mindlessly slam on theiir instruments, Gilmour summons frightening UFO sounds from his guitar, I think by rapidly moving his slide bar back and forth on the strings. Eventually this all fades into a classically inspired coda that predicts later triumphs. On stage this piece took on a life of it's own and became a FULL BLOWN MONSTER. (listen to the Ummagumma version and you'll see what I mean)

And last but certainly not least, "Jugband Blues" -- Barrett's most schizophrenic track and a fitting epitaph for him. I mean, in light of his subsequent insanity, the insanity of the track is oddly prophetic and more than a little discomforting. Again, not everything here works 100%, but the high points of Saucerful are high enough for me to conclude that it'd be a fine addition to any prog music collection. Four stars.

Report this review (#55883)
Posted Thursday, November 10, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars This transitional lp is a mixed bag of sorts. It has some strong material and not so strong material. This is the album that signified Syd's end and there was a serious question mark as to whether the band could carry on without him. While not as strong as their 1st, Saucerful of Secrets gave proof that yes indeed they could carry on, surprising critics and fans alike.

It opens with Let There Be More Light, which I always felt was weak compared to the singles version. This one lacked the bite and overall intensity as I felt the band tried too hard to make this into a mind blowing opener. The instrumental ending is too lnog and carries on endlessly lulling the listener to sleep. They should have stuck with the singles version of it.

Remember a Day...Oh how I wished Richard Wright wrote more tunes. What a lovely psychedelic tune that was actually written during the Barrett heydays, which is perhaps why this one is on here in the 1st place. Kind of a fond farewell to those glory days.

Set The Controls To The Heart of The Sun....This is a song that I have always felt had so much potential and yet came up somewhat wanting in every incarnation I have ever heard. The eerie, ethereal sound creates a perfect atmosphere and Roger's lyrics are awesome....if you can hear them. The problem is he is almost inaudible and his muffled singing really drags this tune down. Shame.

Corporal Clegg has always baffled me. I love this tune and yet so many of you have expressed your hatred of this great song. To me, you get a precognitive glimpse into Roger's angst over war, the military and his father's death. The song drips with sarcasm and bitterness with lyrics such as Corporal Clegg...won his medal in a dream...from her majesty the Queen...his boots were very Clean.., this is sung with this psychedelic reverb effect on his voice to give it a demented quality to the whole thing and then it falls into the chorus....Mrs must be proud of him....Mrs Clegg...another drop of gin....amazing!!

A Saucerful of Secrets...This would become an incredible instrumental on the Live version on Uma Gumma as well as Pompeii, but this original incarnation misses the mark. The most notable difference is the ending which just seems to dies listlessly with this lame choir of voices oohing and aahing impetently soft as the music comes to a close...yuk.....the spirited ending on the live version with Gilmour on the vocals is far better.

See Saw....yawn...zzzzzzz....This is Richard Wright's low point. This song has no energy and just seems to cary on aimlessly forever. It feels like it is twice as long and I find myself patiently awaiting the finale to this lp...

The great Jugband Blues....Syd Barrett's swan song is just pure brilliance. Incredibly crazy with a touch of madness(go figure) that is catchy all at once. Classic Barrett at his best....this song, along with Corporal Clegg make this lp worth the money. The lyrics fit his state of mind and the bizarre orchestra in the middle going in all directions will bring a whacked out ecstasy to the listener, WOW!!

Report this review (#58571)
Posted Tuesday, November 29, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars 1. Let there be more light (5:38) The song that got me into this album. A great song with excellent vocals, one of my favorite Pink Floyd vocal performances. One of the best songs on this album 5/5

2. Remember a day (4:33) Another exceptional song, more upbeat than most of the album. Syd's influences are seen in this song. One of Rick Wright's best. 5/5

3. Set the controls for the heart of the sun (5:28) A heavily talked about song, very eerie and spacey, a great song, can be better depending on your mood. 4.5/5

4. Corporal Clegg (4:12) My favorite song on the album, very whimsical and strange. A great song by Roger Waters that reflects on his father dying in the war. A very absurd song with the kazoo orchestra. 5/5

5. A saucerful of secrets (11:57) An instrumental track, very experimental and strange. By far the longest track on the album, and most progressive. Very solid track. 4.5/5

6. See-saw (4:36) Another great track. Quirky harmonized vocals with a spacey eerie backing, reminds me of old cartoons. 4/5

7. Jugband blues (2:59) A great Syd Barrett song to end the album. The shortest song on the album and end's it perfectly. 5/5

5/5, excellent album, recommended to anyone who like Piper at the Gates of Dawn or Psycadelic Rock... Very different from later Floyd

Report this review (#59050)
Posted Saturday, December 3, 2005 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars A kind of transition album with Syd Barrett leaving and David Gilmour arriving and both present in the content. Even it is remarkable this does not turn ASoS into a spectacular work.

The feeling is that no step forward previous studio album ("The Piper...") was achieved which is clearly represented by a kind of distinctive sound repetition. Best points are the enjoyable opening track 'Let there be light' and the mantra-like psychedelic anthem 'Set the controls to the heart of the sun', recommended for all kinds of trips.

Other songs range from weak to average and are worthy to be heard when one is interested in listening to the album as a whole.

Average, stepping up to a good rating for being historically interesting. Total: 3.

Report this review (#61448)
Posted Friday, December 23, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars First of all, I have to say that this is a great album. And true Pink Floyd fans know these songs are all songs that were well advance for their time in the same era as the Beatles. Pink Floyd were one of the few who were willing to step out of the box with a collage of masterful sounds through out a stretch of one song, which varies to the simple verse-chorus-verse-chorus-solo-chorus structure to many of the songs of that day. I'd say many Pink Floyd die hards will not be disappointed. No doubt a 5 Star.

P.S. There's a great version of "Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun" and "Saucerful of Secrets" on the video Live At Pompeii.

Report this review (#63332)
Posted Thursday, January 5, 2006 | Review Permalink
2 stars This is one of Pink Floyd's weaker albums, if truth be told. Yet although the rating may look harsh, I think it is justified considering how much better the band would eventually become. "A Saucerful of Secrets" is the groups second effort, and something of a transitional album. The bands founder and leader Syd Barrett had so soon lost his spark, his mentality and focus had began to deteriorate due to excessive drug taking and was no longer fit to be part of the band.

Pink Floyd would later go on to be possibly the biggest band in the world, releasing some of the greatest records known to man, but here they had a few problems. Syd barretts departure had come as a huge blow,he had been Floyd's main songwriter, guitarist and singer and losing him had left the band in a struggle. Barrett was soon to be replaced by David Gilmour, who took over guitar and vocals. But although Gilmour was an excellent singer and his guitar playing would later prove to be iconic, he was no songwriter. And "A Saucerful of Secrets" does suffer from this.

Rick Wright contributed two songs for the album, "See-saw" and "Remember a day", while they are both dreamy, very sixties sounding tracks, they are both terribly weak and Wright would later admit "I cringe at some of my earlier songs such as Remember a day", Yet this was a sort of trial and error period for the band and it was necessary for them to try out different things. "Corporal Clegg" however is by far the worst track on the album, written (surprisingly perhaps) by Roger Waters.

There are better tracks on the album though, the opener "Let there be more light" starts with a great riff and Gilmour proves that he has potential to be a great singer, it is a straight forward rocker and one of the more enjoyable early Floyd tracks. The title track is ambitious, and although it has it's moments (particularly the ominous vocal outro) it was later improved live a good deal (check out live at pompeii). The greatest track on the album though is Waters' composition "Set the controls for the heart of the sun" wonderful lyrics, and a great theme. Although out of the band by this point,one Barrett composition still made it onto the album, the downbeat "Jugband blues", which although not a bad song, Barrett had done much better.

Pink Floyd losing Barrett may be a sad story, but if he had stayed with the band, they may never have become as breathtaking as they were on "Wish You Were Here" or "The Dark Side of the Moon" but it did take them a long time to reach that point.

Report this review (#63743)
Posted Sunday, January 8, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars Pink Floyd second release. Done after Syd left the band. They were thought to loose their creativity. But they defenced themselves very well. Album is not to cohesive because it contains material done with Syd (Jugband blues) and with Dave. It make a connection between early psychodelic Floyd and late mature style. There are some short and spatial songs and one longer, experimental, instrumental composition - A Saucerful Of Secrets. Very good album. Excellent addition to any Prog collection.
Report this review (#64721)
Posted Saturday, January 14, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars What a way to start an album! There is not a weak track on this album, making it one of my favourite Floyd albums, but they are not masterpieces. I prefer this to 'Piper', as it the perfect psychedelic level (apart from the title track, which is really quite haunting).

'Let there be More Light' really is a great way to start the album, as it is straight into the action, unlike other albums where you have to wait five minutes before anything happens. Great guitar work and brilliant lyrics. The piano on 'Remember a day' followed by that amazing drum makes it one my favourite prog songs, not mentioning the vocals, which add great melody. 'Corporal Clegg' is an outstanding song, which wakes you up from the quite uneventful 'Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun'. I have never heard a kazoo (or whatever it is) sound so good.

The title track sometimes gets a bit boring (when you're not way up in the sky), but is made up for by the enjoyable 'See-saw' with Richard Wrights quite simple but redolent piano work. Barrets 'Jugband Blues' is one of his best ever works, however short it may be. The trumpet adds great texture to the track. Barrets fading words are the perfect way to finish his last song with the other band members and top-off the album.

This is Floyd's best psychedelic moment and so is a better place to start your collection than 'Piper', although Floyd fans should miss neither.

Report this review (#64802)
Posted Sunday, January 15, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars This won't be as long as my review of "Piper at the Gates of Dawn"

Due to the decline of Syd Barret, Roger Waters took control of this album and is the first time David Gilmour is with the band. There can be, however, no better replacement

Let There Be More Light (5/5): This song is the coolest one on the album and has thier second-hardest bass riffs (after "Have a Cigar"). My personel favorite from this set of songs. The vocals are amazing too

Remember a Day (4/5): One of Rick Wirght's best sole credits. The lyrics are though provoking and the keyboarda are pretty cool

Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun (5/5): What failed conceptually in "Chapter 24" shines hear. The haunting riffs and drums and the mellow vocals make this one of the best early PF songs. The concert staple before "Echoes" took the title

Corporal Clegg (4/5): Have to love a kazoo solo

A Saucerful of Secrets (5/5): An excellent instrumental with some pretty cool drumming and vocals at the end, although I prefer the live versions where Gilmour did the vocals

See-Saw (2/5): The album's weakest song. Just not very good, comming from Rick Wright

Jugband Blues (3/5): The song famous for it being the last time Syd Barret would make a studio credit with PF under his name. While many consider it a great song, I find it disjointed and unorganized. Which perhaps make it more tragic than anything else. The effects drugs took on Syd's career are blatantly evident here

The album proves that Pink Floyd could go on without there founder and paved the way for Roger Waters to take the controls

Report this review (#78643)
Posted Thursday, May 18, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars Syd Barrett is deteriorating so Roger Waters and Richard write pretty much carry this album thru and prove they have come a long way in the songwriting department since Pintbox and Pick up thy Stethoscope, they succeed to a degree although this album is not Floyd's greatist its definately not their worst, mostly not bad is a adequite description, The real highlibghts of this album I my opinion is A Sourceful of Secrets, in particular the third part, See Saw and SydBarretts Jugband Blues.

Let there be more light is not band I especially enjoy the part sung by Syd, great psychedelic sounding keyboards by Wright, Interesting for Floyd fans but Remeber a Day is ok, some love it personally its a pretty average song not great but not terrible either some nice vocals by Richard Wright and some lovely piano moments a little cheesy in the lyric department "Why can't we play today?", but hey it was 1967 after all so the song is a little dated.

Set the Controls, is ok nothing great an early classic for Floyd fans though, they used it for many of their early concerts, and perhaps one of Waters first lead singing, or whispering, it has trance qualities that many krautrock bands would use and develop. It just doesn't grab me, perhaps because its very much dated to 60s psychedelia. Corporal Clegg is the albums silly song with funny noises but a through away track in my opinion, it sounds very Beatlesish, with what sounds like Roger Waters putting on a silly voice.

A Saucerful of Secrets is a three part mini epic showing that music at the time was going into that kind of direction. The first part builds up up with keyboards, percussion and weird noises it sounds sinister and has some interesting moment, part two has Nick Masons drumming building up to something with wierd spacy music I wonder if this part influenced Jacki Leizbect's drumming of Can, the final part is lovely and shows a glimpse of what Pink Floyd would be capable of in the future, with a nice lick by Gilmour. The first two parts of this also sound like they had an influence on Krautrock. See Saw in my opinion is a great track, I love it, it sounds very Alice in Wonderlandish, especially the trumpety part after Wright sings "...and shes down", I think it is an early classic of Wright.I think It is a very pleasant piece, I know that many Floyd fans find this boring but to me it has a certain charm to it, I also think it is quite creative, I like the use the percussion to it I also like the lyrics quite a bit To me it also signifys Floyds future the dreamlike music that would be found on Darkside of the Moon.So to me I think it is an underrated classic.

Jugband Blues, is Syd's swansong and my personal favourite by him, it has his mysterious and ghostly qualities and excentricity and really stands out as quite different from the other tracks on this album, perhaps why this song has survived the test of time is that it is so colourful,eccentric and quiet and gentle which is typical of Syd and also quite tragicomic.This piece is also quite transitional, half folk and half psychedelic, a farewell to his past and a nod to the future on his solo album,I have read in places that the lyrics were a self diagonses of Barrett's fragile mental state. I think that Barrett is still able to write coherently at this piont but you can tell he is losing it, the final line "...And what exactly is a Joke?" is both mysterious and haunting at the same time, and works as a fairwell both because of its ending but also because its the last song on the album.

This album would appeal to many fans of 1960s psychedelia, as well as Pink Floyd fans, it has some nice moments, but is also quite dated, and there would be stronger albums to follow. Still a good album but not essential

Report this review (#83102)
Posted Saturday, July 8, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars Very interesting Floyd album. Barrett was already out of the band before they even started writing this album. But the band was still highly influenced by syd's writing and style. This was the first time that Waters and Wright (especially) started writing. For the most part the songs are ok. The highlight of the album for me is Corporal Clegg which is a favorite in my PF library. Saucerful of secrets is a pretty interesting song that is in four different parts. Jugband Blues is obviously the only song with Syd on it and it's what people call his "farewell song". Besides that the songs are relatively good considering the fact that they never written songs before. But to think that in less then two years of this release that they would think up and record the Atom Heart Mother Suite is pretty unbelievable in my opinion.
Report this review (#84756)
Posted Tuesday, July 25, 2006 | Review Permalink
2 stars Pink Floyd – A Saucerful Of Secrets (1968)

‘A Saucerful Of Secrets’ was the first album to come out from the now classic Gilmour- Mason-Waters-Wright Pink Floyd line-up. After the departure of Floyd’s creative force, singer/guitarist and front man Syd Barrett, both singer/bassist Roger Waters and keybordists/singer Richard Wright tried their luck as songwriters, Waters offering three songs and Wright offering two for the new album. Addition to that the album contains one last song from Barret and one song from which all of the four members were credited for.

Unfortunately the result was not as good as everyone had hoped it to be. It is quite obvious, considering the circumstances that Pink Floyd was looking for its musical and overall direction at the time and it shows. It seems like the band was not sure if they should follow the psychedelic pop scene or stick with the direction Syd Barrett set or try to find their own different way. As a result ‘A Saucerful Of Secrets’ comes out as a rather confusing, chaotic and incomplete album.

The album kicks off with a tune written by Waters called ‘Let There Be More Light’. The song begins with psychedelic bass/guitar line that lasts a while before the song jumps in to the hypnotic and still psychedelic verse. The ‘hook’ of the song is the hypnotic rhythm pattern in the verse that makes the song somewhat unique and personal. The lyrics in the verse are just playing with words but in the chorus they are more awkward and strange lyrics can be heard. Some might say that the lyrics do not make much sense but personally I think they fit the rest of the song.

Tracks 2 and 6 are the two offerings from the Wright. Both ‘Remember A Day’ and ‘See- Saw’ are breezy and peaceful psychedelic ballads. They are both nothing special but I still like them quite much actually. The atmosphere these two song manage to create is hard to describe verbally but I see them as sad songs that still have this odd happy vibe in them at the same time. The psychedelic side in the music gives the songs extra little something while the lyrics are nicely poetic. The voice of Wright suites the songs more than perfectly.

The third track ‘Set The Controls With The Heart Of The Sun’ is actually the reason why I bought this record in the first place. I think that this song is one best songs Waters has ever written. The hypnotic bass and vocal lines create this remarkable atmosphere which ensures that the listeners go through this dream-like psychedelic trip. The haunting vocals of Waters and strangely fascinating poetic lyrics give the song the one last finishing touch to make a real gem. It is definitely the highlight of the album.

Unfortunately the best track of the album is followed by the worst. ‘Corporal Clegg’ is annoying psychedelic children’s song with a childish and foolish lyrics. The instrumentation of the song is so hilarious and cheery that it makes me want to puke. It is definitely one of the worst offerings from Waters ever.

The title track is an avant-garde instrumental, a real mind-blowing sonic experimentation of some sort and the most original tune on the album. Pink Floyd stretched their limits on this one and started to truly experiment in the studio. The song might be too much for some as it is cacophonic and has a lot of dissonance parts but I am really into that kind of stuff so the song is a real treat for me.

The closing track is the last song the band would complete with Barrett. A real sad psychedelic ballad that would be the ultimate farewell to Pink Floyd’s former mastermind. The lyrics are once again rather bizarre but it is those last two sad and poetic lines that bring the tear in to my eye. ‘And what exactly is a dream? And what exactly is a joke?’

Even though the songs were really nothing special in a sense and the album as a whole failed to conceive me, I found that the one thing that bothered me the most and made it hard to enjoy the album was surprisingly awful mixing and sound quality. I understand that when the sound moves stereophonically from a channel to another it should sound psychedelic and cool and it often does but not on this recording, I am afraid. The worst part was that this real stereophonic experience on ‘Saucerful Of Secrets’ made me first think that my headphones were broken. Later on I of course found out it was the record and I have been annoyed by it ever since.

With mediocre songs and poor mixing ‘Saucerful Of Secrets’ ended up being nothing special to me and I am a die-hard Floyd fan. Sure, the album has its good moments but they still do not save the rest of the album. I can only think ‘Set The Controls To The Heart Of The Sun’ as a good reason to buy this album. Either that or you must be a real hard Pink Floyd fan.

Report this review (#85396)
Posted Tuesday, August 1, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars 1.Let there be more light-defenetly a good song.I have heared it somwhere long time ago 3 1/2 points 2.Remember a day-Relaxing,nice song 3 3/4 points 3.Set the controls for the heart of the sun-very good.Love the organ 4 1/4 points 4.Corporal Clegg-Very Syd Barrett style song.Kazoo.Weird 2 1/2 points 5.Saucerful of the secrets-albums best song.Nice but live is much better. Gilmour should have singed end part like Live in Pompeii. 4 points 6.See saw- weird -2,5 points 7.Jugband blues. points 3,5

3,5+3,75+4,25+2,5+4+2,5+3,5 makes 24 24 / 7 is 3,5

Report this review (#94629)
Posted Sunday, October 15, 2006 | Review Permalink
Chris H
4 stars Hmmm. This was one of the most interesting albums I think I have ever heard. The good tracks definitely out-weigh the bad tracks, but trust me the bad tracks are still there. "Let There Be More Light" opens the album in a fine fashion, with a nice bass line that hooks you in until the song starts. One of my favorite Floyd songs, and probably the best off of this album. "Remeber A Day" is on both sides of the spectrum at the same time. It is incredibly psychedelic and has a dreamy atmosphere, but some of the lyrics are absolute paranoia ("Hide from your little brother's gun..."). Another one of my favorite songs however. "Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun" features some nice percussion but that's about it. The chanting is a little over the top if you ask me, and I usually skip over this song. "Corporal Clegg" is a fine song - at your first few listens. Once you start to hear this song again and again, it starts to seem a little dated, boring, and just annoying. The kazoo has to go. Ahhh, time for the title track now. The nice big long 11 minute "A Saucerful of Secrets". What to say about this? Well I can start off by saying it is A COMPLETE WASTE OF DISK SPACE! This is one of the most boring, rambling, get-stoned-and-jam-for11 minutes thing I have ever heard! I just skip this track, it is highly overrated and it ruined any chance of a 5-star rating. "See-Saw" is another prime example of those bad tracks I told you about at the beginning. It is pyschedelia at its rawest and most mind-shattering, but if you aren't stoned while listening to this then you realize that you are listening to complete gibberish over a repetetive chord. Worth a listen, but it is very dated. The album ends in a fine fashion however. Syd Barrett's last contribution to the Floyd is here as his final send-off. "Jugband Blues" tells the tale of Syd's insanity, disguised as a poppy pyschedelia song. Listen to the lyrics, and somebody tell me why they didn't get Syd to a doctor sooner.

4 stars. A really great pyschedelia album overall, but the title track kills the masterpiece appeal. Definitely worth your time though.

Report this review (#106385)
Posted Sunday, January 7, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars Maybe it's not their greatest album, but it's my favourite. IMO this record is the opus magnum of early Pink Floyd sound. From the start we have here great songs. Let There Be More Light - one of the best Waters songs. Great bass riff in the beginning, space sound... Wow. Remeber A Day is a Wright masterpiece (did you know that Nick is not playing drums on this one?). Gentle, psychedelic sound. Set The Controls... another space rock song. I think if it wasn't for this album, there wouldn't be no Hawkwind. Corporall Clegg is a funny tarck, with some fine riffs. Great guitar playing. A Saucerful Of Secrets is very chaotic, with lots of changes, and beautiful ending. See Saw is the weakest track on the album. Nothing special here. And the last track. Epitaph for Syd Barrett. Jugband Blues. Great song. Fine lyrics. The last Barrett song on oficiall Floyd album. A truely masterpiece of psychedelic and space rock music.
Report this review (#106395)
Posted Sunday, January 7, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars In my opinion, this album has to be evaluated under some conditions, like the conditions it's accomplished in. First of all, it's a psychedelic rock album and it's a very succesful one in its genre; there are not many songs in "set the controls ... sun" 's or "saucerful of secrets" 's calibre and the other songs are definitely not short of fulfilling the expectations of psychedelia. It may be true that the album lacks a concept; or let me rephrase it as maybe there should be more common points between the songs, but to me it kind of represents syd's disintegration period and therefore the absence of such a concept makes sense. Especially the last one on the album, "Jugband Blues" is a true stunner if you know about what Pink Floyd went through. To me, "A Saucerful Of Secrets" is a very influential album on Pink Floyd's forthcoming music, first because it marks the beginning of a transition period and second one can easily see that "Wish You Were Here", as a whole, is an answer to "Jugband Blues". Not only those, but it also contains two of their best works ever, set the controls and saucerful, also played frequently in Floyd's live performances. To sum up, it is a true masterpiece, both musically and historically, a must have for any psychedelic rock fan, especially for any Floydian.
Report this review (#107401)
Posted Saturday, January 13, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars From this album onwards, they dropped "The" from the band name to become "Pink Floyd". A major line-up change with this album with the arrival of David Gilmour. He used to replace Syd for their live gigs (in December 1967). Then he became a permanent member of the Floyd from then on. Although he will not sign a lot of songs on ASOS (only one, as co-author of the title track) his influence will be huge on the band. About Syd, David wil say : "We were friends first, then we picked up guitars later on. I was playing professionally in groups before Syd. He'd know something, I'd know something and we'd swap, as people do in back rooms everywhere."

About the way the band thought they still could work with Syd, he will say : "It was fairly obvious that I was brought in to take over from him, at least on stage. It was impossible to gauge his feelings about it. I don't think Syd has opinions as such. The first plan was that I would join and make it a five piece so it would make it easier so that Syd could still be strange but the band would still function. And then the next idea was that Syd would stay home and do writing and be the Brian Wilson elusive character that didn't actually perform with us and the third plan was that he would do nothing at all. And it quickly changed 'round, and it was was *obviously* impossible to carry on working that way."

In terms of composition, there is also a major difference. While "Piper" is almost Syd's album, this one contains only one song from him (Jugband Blues) which is the poorest of the album. Due to his addiction and slow way down to craziness, he was not able any longer to be the song-wrtiter he used to be, so the other members had to perform or ... disappear. Logically, there was an enormous pression on Roger's shoulders who had to write as many good tracks as he could. Their producer (Norman Smith former sound engineer of the Beatles till "Ruber Soul" ) wanted them to become the new Beatles !

Waters signed three songs (of which two are from the best one here) as sole composer :

"Let There Be More Light" is a great piece of psychedelic music : great bass work during the intro, some Oriental influence (more to come) and hypnotic vocal passages (with reference to Lucie in the Sky ...). A very good opener.

His next great track is "Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun". It could have come out of Syd's mind but Waters showed his ability in writing great psyche songs as well. The bass play has a major role, and the repetitive tempo is truely fascinating. Actually it is very similar to "Let There..." in the sense of the hypnoytical sound, Oriental influence. This one will be the one Floyd will choose as a highlight of their live sets instead. Very good. It is a great psychedelic trip. His third one is "Corporal Clegg" which is a combination of psyche and hallucinating moments, Beatles type vocals and a kind of stupid chorus. Poor.

Rick Wright ever said that they really did not how to write songs and that they were not quite happy with their results. I must agree for the two songs he wrote " "Remember A Day" : is a nice little tune with drums à la "Set The Controls ..." but not so powerful. A bit childish but not too bad. "See Saw" on the other hand is one of the poorest rack of ASOS and is not worth to be remembered. I quote Rick : "I don't think I've listened to them (Remember A Day, See Saw), ever since we recorded them. It was a learning process. The lyrics were appalling-terrible but so were a lot of lyrics in those days."

Another highlight of course is the title track "A Saucerfull of Secrets" : an almost twelve minutes piece of the craziest psychedelic stuff ever heard (on par with "Interstellar). During a concert in Forth Worth Roger introduced it saying : "The next song, if you may call it a song is A Saucerful of Secrets". I guess there is no better introduction to this piece of music. The lenght will be extended to 23'45" for this occasion.

Rick will say : "We all believed it was going to be one of the best things we'd ever put onto record." Then Rick again : "I did the title track and I remember Norman saying, 'You just can't do this, it's too long. You have to write three-minute songs'. We were pretty cocky by now and told him, If you don't wanna produce it, just go away. A good attitude I think. The same reason why we'd never play See Emily Play in concert."

Lenghtly and bizarre first section (almost four minutes). It is accordingly titled : "Something Else". It is a kind of rehearsal or fine tuning of the instruments before a concert. This part is more a "trip" to the outer world for which each listener can use his imagination to define his feelings.

In the second part : "Syncopated Pandemonium" Mason enters with nice drumming (again a bit à la "Set The Controls...) but it is unfortunately almost unheard in the background (he will be more proeminent during their live sets). It lasts for 3 minutes.

The third part is called "Storm Signal" and is a beautiful introduction to the grand finale called (again accordingly) : "Celestial Voices". The most beautiful vocals on an instrumental track (well, is this possible) ? It is my favorite part of the "song" : very melodious and cresendo building. What a great musical moment. IMHO this is the real start for Pink Floyd and contains three masterpieces of prog / pschedelic songs and announces already tracks like "Echoes" for instance.

The album will peak at Nr. 9 in the UK charts. In terms of touring, 1968 will be a quiter year for Floyd : around sixty concerts. Mostly in the UK but they will also tour in the US and on continental Europe (The Netherlands, Belgium and Switzerland). They won't play as opening act any longer. They will perform in some festivals together with bands like Santana, Steppenwolf and The Who. I rate this effort as a three star work.

Report this review (#107657)
Posted Tuesday, January 16, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Most of Pink Floyd's early albums were transitional in one way or another, and this was no exception as it marked the move away from Barrett's whimsy into a more experimental psych phase as Gilmour joined. It's a good album, as they search for new inspiration, with many songs demonstrating an embryonic form of the band's future direction with both Waters and Wright learning to write better songs. Remember A Day and Corporal Clegg are worthy efforts, but the album is most remembered for the studio versions of concert classics Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun and the title track, both developed into extended on-stage psych classics. Barrett's final songwriting credit for the band came in the form of the album finale Jugband Blues, a twisted and very poignant lyric allied to perverse arrangement. A fine way to go out, but not a wholely successful album.
Report this review (#107967)
Posted Friday, January 19, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars This album seems to be the apex of the pre-70s Floyd experimental rock, before they started releasing more "normal" music, found in Atom Heart Mother. Barrett had left, and his final curtain call had taken the form of "Jugland Blues", the final track on the album. Apart from that song, the rest of the album is just a cornacopia of experimentation, from the mellow "Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun", to the chaotic title track. It's definitely worth a listen if you're into some messed-up Floyd.
Report this review (#110935)
Posted Wednesday, February 7, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars This disc can respond many questions that without a doubt do not have a single answer, since this disc contains the step that I create was definitive so that PINK FLOYD was what is, since the entrance of David GILMOUR in spite of which it thinks was the first step so that the band became which after this it was, David GILMOUR was not a stranger of the band in fact was part of the frequent friendships of the members, the more and more unstable state made that the band now asked for the support of the famous guitarist, that we know clearly is a teacher of the passages that make us travel, ironically the one that is not so psicodélico gave the fame him of psicodélica to the band, in this disc as I said is possible to be listened the two bands, in which of to have followed with that style serious a band of very minimum cult hardly well-known in means, not being bad band but the sound that tapeworm previously is not apt for the masses that later the band would create that formulates that it caused that people listened to them, in this disc we can appreciate the two faces of the currency, intriguers songs full of a very noticeable psicodélico power and a progressive sound influenced clearly to the symphonic one to the majestic passages, is enough single to listen to the song "Saucerful of Secrets" that gives name to the disc to feel found emotions, without a doubt an angular difference and stone progressive marked in the beginning of super band PINK FLOYD
Report this review (#111576)
Posted Saturday, February 10, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Piper at the Gates of Dawn II

The pressure must have been on from Columbia - the band needed to get product out to the punters - and they'd sacked the ace up their sleeve.

From a record company's point of view, this meant get the product out fast to maintain momentum - hence the intermediary release between the debut and this less charismatic release.

Overall, the music lacks the innocent charm of "Piper", and even though there are some absolute belters on here that would go on to provide momentum for a certain burgeoning music scene in Germany, there is also much filler, and what seems to be an unsuccessful attempt to imitate Syd's inimitable style.

The outstanding tracks don't make this album a compulsory purchase, great as they undeniably are, as there are better (live) versions of these tracks on later releases - notably the outstanding "Live at Pompeii" video soudtrack, but also on "Ummagumma".

"Let There Be More Light" begins with a somewhat frenetic piece of psychedelia, somewhat aimless and noodly in places, but quickly segues into a Barrett-styled song more along the lines of "Chapter 24" than, say, "The Scarecrow". It is probably Wright's keyboards with majestic Hammond sweeps and harmonic minor embellishments that really save this piece from the cosmic dustbin - although the coda loses it more than a bit, Gilmour joining in the general fracas of mindless noodle.

"Remember a Day" is a clear attempt at Barratt-esque whimsy, and to some extent, it does work - Wright's vocal effects have Syd's signature all over them, albeit as a sad reflection of the great man's experimentation. The lyrics seem a little autobiographical on this point, and the melancholic feeling of this song is something that would remain with the Floyd for many years.

"Set the Controls" is the dynamic and dramatic close to side 1 - sadly, in terms of album composition, it's a bit lost in the melancholy mire, but it's the track with the most artistic attention to detail lavished on it - and it shows. Perfect ambience is built up with primaeval drums; Washes of ringing Vibraphone and haunting drifts of Mellotron and other keyboards create a texture that was unique at the time and is still perfectly identifiable back to Floyd to this day. The seagulls would later be re-used in "Echoes".

"Corporal Clegg" is an even more obvious attempt at maintaining the image of the band that once featured Syd, and is a bit of a mish-mash really - an over decorated (read over-produced) pop song with more than a feel of Sgt Pepper about it. Admittedly, there is considerably more darkness than the Beatles - and Hendrix style 11ths and 13ths crop up in all the verse riffs. A bit of an oddity, really.

The title track, which follows, is one of my all-time favourite Floyd pieces - and a four- part suite to boot.

The first part is called Something Else, and is essentially a sound collage that grows in intensity until Syncopated Pandemonium [3:57], another sound collage, led by Mason - but less intense, and more rhythm focussed, such that piano rhythms cross over drum rhythms wild keyboards scream and guitars squeal and wail over the top. This is beatifully shaped noise with all manner of suggestive gestures and a clear display of tight interplay between the band members - it seems random, and is probably supposed to, but indicates a very clear compositional structure.

At [7:16] comes Storm Signal, in which a sinister rumble is topped by slowly drifing, ominous keyboards and rattly percussion that suggests rain. Celestial Voices allegedly starts at [10:14], but there is a distinct change in the keyboard at [8:38] that more than hints strongly at things to come, by playing the Celestial Voices chord progression which acts as a kind of slow ostinato from here to the end of the piece.

The vocals themselves start at [10:14], as promised - a heavenly harmonised choir of angels that are too low in the mix for my tastes, although it's clear that the Floyd intended them as part of the texture rather than the focal point. This was later fixed :o)

Sound effects don't really fix the lazy, but mildly progressive pop song that is See-Saw - enjoyable enough for what it is, and a welcome break after the insanity of "Saucerful..".

But we round off the album with the only Barrett-penned and (I believe performed) number: "Jugband Blues". This, unfortunately (in terms of Progressive Rock), sounds like most of Barrett's solo material - quirky and imaginative songs that you could either think of as experimental, the product of a mind addled by drugs, or the most innocent and spontaneous expression of a song that it's possible to create.

It sports a kind of warped codetta that leads to a final verse section - but, unhappily for Barrett this is probably the worst swansong he could have had, and it's just as well he recorded "The Madcap Laughs".

In summary, then, a patchy album with some really good bits, some filler, and one most excellent we-are-not-worthy, carefully constructed work of art in "Saucerful of Secrets".

Which you can get superb performances of elsewhere.

Not essential - and only just manages to scrape out of the "Collectors/fans" bin by dint of "Let There Be More Light", and the genre-inspiring "Set the Controls..." (also available elsewhere :o).

Report this review (#117205)
Posted Tuesday, April 3, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Clearly among the best Pink Floyd albums in term of inventivity, excentricity and psychedelic "grandeur". This album is off course less impressive than German first essays in free form psych-electronic experimentations (Zodiak free art lab, Organisation...) but we can listen to some astonishing epic improvisations. The sonic potential of psychedelica is well exposed in "Set the controls for the heart of the sun" with its rolling dreams, fuzzing organ sequences and linear, floating atmosphere. The title track is maybe the best thing written by the band: immediate psychedelic nirvana for long, resonating church like organ chords, featuring an efficient immersive ambience. My favourite album with "Ummaguma". The rest of their discography is just mediocre and sometimes painful (despite some good "isolated" spacey rocking tracks as "Obscured by Clouds", "One of these days".) Sorry I can only give 3 stars because of some poppy, easy , childish songs as "Jugband blues", "Corporal Clegg"...
Report this review (#121894)
Posted Sunday, May 13, 2007 | Review Permalink

This was certainly the breaking point between the Barrett era and the Gilmour-Waters government. Maybe this is the weakest album by the British quartet. At the time Syd had yet some hard mental disease and it was time for the band to get another guitar player if they wanted to become something more than a flashy band that just couldn't stand the pressure. It was time to let Syd go and call Dave for joining the band, and the decision was simply perfect, this guy really got into the dynamic and the essence of the music they were trying to do.

As I said before, this was a transitory album that would combine styles, the early Floyd Years and the golden years. The contributions by Syd Barrett are short but substantial; the landmark he left would become very useful for the development of the Floydian Sound that made them rich and famous. Even when this is a single oriented and not as conceptual as their next releases, it has a great execution in song like "Remember a day", the stunning "Set the controls for the heart of the sun" and of course the title track "A Saucerful of Secrets".

Concluding, even when instrumentally there are so many lacks on this recording, this one is so meaningful for the band, because they were able to change slowly the course they were running into another direction to become what they are now, LEGENDS, so I'll give this one 3 stars for this big effort.

Report this review (#127103)
Posted Friday, June 29, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars This is a great psychedelic album but not prog.

"A Saucerful Of Secrets" is one of my favourite psychedelic albums. I consider it even better than the first one "The piper at the gates of dawn". In this album Syd Barret and David Gilmour are playing together. I think it is the one album where the quintet plays together. The album is full of hypnotic and creative sounds created with so soft tones and voices, psychedelic riffs and strange effects like in the song "A saucerful of secrets". This is my favourite song from the album. It goes from less to more and more. The closer you are to the end of the song the more progressive sound it has.

So I will give 4 stars to this album because it needs more to become a prog masterpiece although it is one of the greatest psychedelic albums.

Report this review (#129590)
Posted Saturday, July 21, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars It is very hard to make good psychedelic album without going into melancholic, or going into nostalgic areas. This time, Pink Floyd did not manage to make such album. I feel really sad while listening to this one, I can not explain why, but every time I hear Syd Barret's voice, I go sad. All songs in this record are made good, except title track, which is sonic experiment much before its time and much before birth of post rock, but early enough to influence birth of electronic progressive music. Lyrics of songs are not much serious and there are lot of guitar sound effects, anyway not enough for me to fully enjoy, and I am not fan of electric organ, more precisely I hate its sound in this record. This is transitional album and not masterpiece, good, but not essential, production is the worst, and I would like to hear if remixed version of this record is better.
Report this review (#131048)
Posted Wednesday, August 1, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars A Saucerful of Secrets was a transitional album for the band. Syd Barrett basically acidified his brain, no longer functioned like a typical human being, and was on his departure from Pink Floyd and reality. The talented David Gilmour joined on guitar duty taking their sound to even higher reaches of psychedelia. Although one might expect this to be a mixed bag, which it is, some signs of advanced compositional and musical skill emerged on this album. Most of the shorter pieces have a Barrett-like quality to them, but musically the band seems a little more cohesive. Waters and Wright do most of the vocals, and admittedly some Barrett fans are going to hate this, but I think it was an improvement. The lyrics are also an improvement (e.g. Corporal Clegg and Remember A Day). The production is still sloppy though.

The nearly 12-minute title track is probably the most interesting piece of music on the album. However, it takes some getting used to as parts of it just seem like noodling around. The non-noodling sections are quite interesting with some haunting atmospherics. Remember this is 1968, so Pink Floyd were already proving how "way ahead of their time" they were this far back.

I still quite enjoy this album after having listened to it for more than 20 years now. Although many consider their debut a groundbreaking album, I personally think this one should get those accolades. It's not perfect enough to merit a five-star rating, but is well deserving of four stars. Essential for Pink Floyd fans and highly recommended to all others.

Report this review (#131390)
Posted Thursday, August 2, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars This album is a good album in Pink Floyds past. While it isnt as good as some of the other albums of the time (Meddle Atom Heart Mother) it is still worth a listen. Corperol Clegg is a wonderful less psycodelic song and gives a breif pause in the acid trip. I can't find a song in this album that I don't like but nothing really stands out to me. One complaint I do have is Saucerful of Secrets (song) is a bit long and I get bored of it towards the end.
Report this review (#140648)
Posted Wednesday, September 26, 2007 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
4 stars 4.5 stars. After "Pipers At The Gates Of Dawn" Syd Barrett was displaying some really bizarre behaviour, so much so that they brought in a friend named David Gilmour to play guitar during concerts. Gilmour became a permanent member of the band taking part in this their second studio record. Again like "Pipers..." this was recorded at Abbey Road Studios and Norman Smith is again the producer. This is a transitional album of sorts with Barrett being phased out. He did write one song though that recalls their debut album and he takes part in three songs overall. I'm looking forward to Finnforest's review of this album because he knows much more than I do about what was going on behind the scenes at this point. Love the album cover done by another friend of the band, namely Storm Thorgersen.

"Let There Be More Light" is such a good tune. It opens with Waters great bass lines as drums and synths come in. I really like the first part of this song. The song then changes as we get more of a sixties sounding vibe with vocals leading the way. The instrument work is powerful for the last minute and a half. Gilmour and Wright share vocal duties on this one, the latter is heard on the verses. "Remember A Day" is a Wright tune that looks back on what it was like to be a child. Almost sad lyrics like "Why can't we play today ? Why can't we stay that way ?". This is a hazy and dreamy psychedelic tune. Great song. "Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun" is one of my two favourites on this album along with the title track. The vocals (Waters) on this one are almost whispered as synths, organ, drums and vibes are played. You can hear the seagulls at times. This is a classic FLOYD track written by Waters. "Corporal Clegg" is Waters' first anti-war track. The guitar is aggressive and sharp sounding. This one really sounds like THE BEATLES. It also has some silly moments that recall the first record.

"A Saucerful Of Secrets" reminds me of so much music I listen to. The dark, haunting and eerie atmosphere with organ drones, synths and mellotron and experimental sounds continue for 4 minutes. Then a change as drums roll in. Dissonant sounds come and go. Very freaky low rumbling sounds take over before the scary vibe is back. Organ, vocal melodies and mellotron to end it. "See- Saw" is another Wright tune. This is a dreamy, psychedelic tune with some mellotron. I like this one. It could have fit well on the future "Meddle" album. "Jugband Blues" is Barrett's last song with PINK FLOYD. As Finnforest mentioned to me, the lyrics are to be studied. The first two lines are poignant "It's awfully considerate of you to think of me here. And i'm almost obliged to you for making it clear that i'm not here." Sad actually. Acoustic guitar and vocals lead the way in this unmistakeable Syd song.

For me this is a step up from their debut. I know i'm in the minority with those feelings, but I love the variety and the direction they are now going. So while this may be a transitional album it's an important step for the band. Richard Wright certainly stepped up to the plate here along with Waters of course. I love this album.

Report this review (#148900)
Posted Sunday, November 4, 2007 | Review Permalink
2 stars An enormous come-down from their essential debut album, 'A Saucerful of Secrets' shows up each and every one of PINK FLOYD's inadequacies without the compensation of good music.

While 'Piper At The Gates of Dawn' featured concise and interesting psychedelic music that captured the spirit of the times, this album simply meanders without direction. The band's numerous critics claim that this characterises their entire post-BARRETT output, and to a degree one is forced to agree with them, no matter how much one personally loves their music, given this record as an example. 'Let There Be More Light' and 'Remember a Day' meander past without troubling the listener either with melody or dynamics. 'Set The Controls for the Heart of the Sun' is a marvellous title, but the music, though interesting, doesn't match up. The live version on 'Ummagumma' is far superior. 'Corporal Clegg' is the first of ROGER WATERS' interminable heavy-handed attempts to write about the war and, annoying as it is, it is easily his best effort - which doesn't say much for the stuff to come.

What a pity they didn't think to bolster this largely empty album with some of the better work they had done. 'Careful with that Axe, Eugene' would have worked well here, for example. The title track is a psychedelic freakout - think 'Mind Your Throats Please' from 'Atom Heart Mother' extended for twelve minutes. Unlike 'Interstellar Overdrive' it is totally unsupported by a riff or melody to give it any legitimacy. The average 'See-Saw' and 'Jugband Blues' are dispensable tracks in the PINK FLOYD canon but actually lift the album.

I find myself strangely receptive to Jim Miller's argument that "unfortunately a music of effects is a weak base for a rock group to rest its reputation on - but this is what THE PINK FLOYD have done" (Rolling Stone, 1968). There is certainly nothing on this album to contradict him, and the next two albums simply serve to reinforce his argument. I prefer enjoying an excellent song to trying to get excited about freaky noises. This album lacks the direction, the energy, the charm and the relevance of their debut, and is an album for collectors and fans only.

All this sounds like I don't like PINK FLOYD. Nothing could be further from the truth. They would go on to produce at least four or five true five-star albums, introducing compositional credibility to their array of sound effects and drawn-out, atmospheric noodling. This album simply goes to show (by its absence) that at the heart of music is the ability to write songs.

Report this review (#149609)
Posted Thursday, November 8, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars With A Saucerful of Secrets, the disintegrating mind of Syd Barrett necessitated the addition of David Gilmour, longtime friend of both Barrett and Waters. The initial idea was that of a five man Floyd where Syd would write and the other four would perform on stage. Clearly a good idea, but one that simply wasn't viable given Barrett's degree of mental incapacitation. As such, Barrett's contributions to this record are limited to Jugband Blues, the very lyrics of which, in psychotic but intuitive brilliance derides his bandmates and fans with the incisive "It's awfully considerate of you to think of me here, and I'm most obliged to you for making it clear that I'm not here." Then, later in the same song, providing us a bit more insight into his state of mind at the time he sings "and I wonder who could be writing this song...". Despite advancing psychosis, the song is brilliant and a fitting swansong to this exceptional talent. In their wisdom, the band and recording company chose to end the record with Jugband Blues--- it truly represented an end. The rest of this album primarily contains contributions of material by Rogers Waters and by Richard Wright. The Waters contributions of Let There Be More Light and Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun and the band's collaborative A Saucerful of Secrets title track began to take the band into the direction of long experimental jams and space prog. Wright's contributions, Remember a Day and See Saw are ballads with a psychedelic feel. Waters' writing, though still in its formative stages already shows an incisive edge as demonstrated in Corporal Clegg where his obsession with the effects war on soldiers and their family's is already brought to fore, only to resurface again in The Final Cut many years later. The eery organ play on Let There Be More Light , A Saucerful of Secrets and Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun and the spaceship effects on Saucerful of Secrets alone make the recording worth the price of admission. Interestingly, David Gilmour's guitar on most of this recording plays a subdued role. I still love the bass and cymbal intro on Let There Be More Light. Again, this album is probably better classified as psychedelic rather than as true progressive rock. It remains an excellent snapshot of this remarkable band in transition. A Saucerful of Secrets was very ahead of what most if not all contemporaries were doing at the time and I suppose from that perspective, this record could be considered "progressive". Individual tracks on this recording rate a 5 or close to it. However, as a collective effort, while important from an historical perspective, and excellent overall, it isn't quite a masterpiece.
Report this review (#150624)
Posted Wednesday, November 14, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars From the Gates of Dawn to the Saucerful.

1967 was one gigantic rainbow for Pink Floyd. They would start the year with a freshly inked record deal and end the year with a leader in shambles. The first official Piper session with producer Norman Smith took place the evening of February 21 and the first track recorded was "Matilda Mother." It was a magical time and the Piper album would be a phenomenal artistic success, a piece of genius that many fans would place great historical importance on. Sometime in late spring friends began to note changes in Syd. In early August Piper was released and the band began the first sessions for their second album. The next few months would see Barrett become disillusioned with the thought of having to repeat what they just did and deal with the increasing publicity. His drug use was both active and passive. Everyone knows Syd took legendary quantities of acid, what they may not realize is that he was also constantly being dosed by the people around him. These "hangers-on" around Barrett were taking advantage of him and helping fuel his destructive behaviour. I recall reading that they were dosing everything from the tap water to the afternoon tea so that Syd never came down from one trip before the next one started. The Floyd were unable to intervene and some admitted they really didn't try very hard, it was easier to look the other way according to Mason. One wonders if things could have been different had they called for a break and had an intervention to get Syd out of destructive living arrangements but instead they forged ahead. By the end of the year he had become largely useless to the aspirations of the other members. Conventional wisdom calls Syd an acid casualty or mentally ill and there is evidence that supports those assertions. But that is only one piece of the puzzle. The other piece of the puzzle that doesn't get mentioned (because the "acid casualty" angle sells more magazines) is that Barrett forced the end consciously because he hated the direction they wanted to take it. This was at least a part of the reason along with the other issues. But he was conflicted of course: Syd liked the idea of being in a band but he wanted it to stay low-key and underground, he wanted things to be ever weirder and more avant-garde in direction. The others naturally wanted success in the more conventional sense and this meant singles, albums, interviews, and TV. Syd wanted no part of this and so he began to "act up" in ways that were no doubt magnified by his drug use and mental condition. They also admit to putting relentless pressure on him to come up with new material (per manager Andrew King) and being nasty to him when he couldn't do it. I have read other accounts as well stating that the band were unnecessarily mean, not just indifferent, but mean to him in a sort of bullying, mocking way that could not have been helpful. Of course they were quite young too and under pressure so some slack has to be cut. By early '68 Gilmour had been brought aboard as the back-up plan and Syd knew his tenure was about finished. He actually knew earlier than that when the problems began to escalate in the fall of '67 and he began to butt heads with Waters regularly, the legendary "Have You Got It Yet?" story just being one example. (More on his farewell middle-finger to Roger later.) Syd would play his last date with the boys January 20th 1968 at Hastings Pier, the last of a handful of gigs that included both Barrett and Gilmour. Gilmour would sympathize with Waters' decision to sack Barrett as he would again concur with firing Wright about a dozen years later. I wanted to provide this account of the Barrett to Gilmour transition because I get tired of the simple, degrading accounts in magazines-if you dig deeper into the many accounts (in books) of Syd's closest friends, family, and management, you eventually discover his story is a little more complex than just "acid casualty" alone. Also, I am a fan and enjoy boring you all to tears with this :-)

While Syd's exit and the reasons can be debated there is little argument that a Syd-less Floyd was not ready for prime time initially, though they would recover quickly to their great credit. Roger Waters was left to assume control and was far from ready to be lead songwriter though he must be given huge credit for keeping the ship afloat through this difficult period. Saucerful is a big step down from Barrett's masterpiece of psychedelic whimsy and underground folklore. To reduce the reason for this down to the simplest bottom line, it just lacks the incredible spark that happened to be in Syd's grasp in those few months while Piper was being cut. It lacks the wide-eyed enthusiasm they had in their first months before things began to sour. Saucerful is not horrible though and within the tracks can be heard scraps of the band they would become in a few years. Gilmour's first recording session with the Floyd took place on January 10 of 1968. "Let There Be More Light" opens the album with Roger Water's new role as songwriter and it's not too bad, with different trippy sections that fit well together and a nice whisper effect on the vocals. This was also one of the first tracks the new line-up worked on together. Gilmour contributes a somewhat tentative solo towards the end as Wright's keys swirl around it all. "Remember a Day" is a nice psych-pop song by Wright that was a leftover from the Piper sessions: Syd can be heard doing the scrapes of slide guitar roughening up what is an otherwise very "pretty" song. I love the mood of the song which is so melancholic and the theme of wanting to remain in an earlier more pleasant phase of life. There are very nice piano parts by Wright here that contrast well with the slide. Apparently Mason couldn't manage his drum parts on this song and so they are played here by producer Norman Smith who also contributed some backing vocals. "Set the Controls" is an early example of space rock, a tag which would drive Waters crazy in the years to come as he attempted to write more about the human condition than abstract ideas like outer space. The song features prominent keyboard work by Wright and Mason's typical rolling drum variations along with various sound effects. There has long been controversy about Syd's contribution to this track. According to David Parker's excellent book "Random Precision," which documents every early recording session with actual studio records and handwritten notes off the EMI tape boxes, the version that appears on Saucerful is take 2 from the August 8, 1967 session and is Barrett on guitar, not Gilmour. While Gilmour claims that some of his overdubs were added later Parker says there is no written evidence in the record to support this and there is no question that the version used on the album is the August '67 take. In a 1993 interview Dave would confirm Syd plays a bit on Set the Controls but still maintains he also is on there via later overdubs. Parker says the records do not show this but admits records aren't always perfect! Either way, the song is dominated by the main riff and would again be much better on future live versions. "Corporal Clegg" is the closest the band would get to the Piper sound with its harmonies and kazoo parts but it clearly shows a different thought process happening lyrically. There is some fine guitar work here by Gilmour and a Beatle psychedelic feeling at the end with the effects. The title track "Saucerful" is the only composition here written by the entire new band and is a source of disagreement among fans. As the longest track at 12 minutes it either makes or breaks the album for you. It features spooky sounding dissonant weirdness for the majority of the song. Some see it as incredibly boring and uneventful; others find the progressions and the bit of melody late in the piece promising. Nick Mason believes the song is one of the "most coherent pieces" they ever did. He and Roger carefully planned the piece out on paper and there was a real spirit of cooperation and constructive work ethic in the studio. This makes complete sense because the band needed to prove themselves in a hurry-no one really thought they had a shot without Barrett. One person who wasn't that happy was Norman Smith. After Barrett's departure he figured the boys would settle down and make some music that was more conventional, instead he wound up working on Saucerful which he called "rubbish." But while Mason thinks this studio version is great I think most fans would probably say that future live versions are a big improvement as the band had time to develop it substantially. Rolling Stone agreed saying "the group and particularly Wright have achieved a complexity and depth, building nuances into the main line of the music, far beyond what is on the studio version or Ummagumma." Other members of the press were not so kind calling it long, boring, and uninventive. "See Saw" is another lovely psych pop moment by Wright which sounds incredibly corny and melodramatic but features nice harmonies and string arrangements. The working title of "See Saw" in the studio was "The Most Boring Song I've Ever Heard Bar 2" which likely means Rick was getting some good natured ribbing over this track. Around 1990 Wright said he considered his two songs "an embarrassment" with "appalling" lyrics and that he had not listened to them since recording them. I think he's being too hard on himself, they are decent enough flower-power pop songs even if out of line with where Waters and Gilmour were heading.

And then there is "Jugband Blues" the one track written by Barrett. It is surely far from Syd's best song but it is one in particular where the lyrics are more direct and biting than usual. It's an important song because it is almost a resignation letter, an open letter to the others indicating he was unhappy and that he knew quite well he was on the way out. Some of the more obvious lines have been quoted to death but to me two other parts are the most striking. First we have the line "And I'm grateful that you threw away my old shoes. And brought me here instead dressed in red" which I believe is sarcasm thanking the others for bailing on him (in advance) and for making him something he was clearly not. (also others have noted that red is a color that signifies human sacrifice for what that's worth.) I tend to think it's about the business making him act in a way that is uncomfortable for him. More biting is the sharp edge of the final two lines that tell me everything I need to know about Syd's departure from PF: "and what exactly is a dream. and what exactly is a joke." This is Syd's "middle finger salute" to Roger Waters in my opinion. There were two directions that PF could have taken. Syd's avant-garde, low-key, underground, counterculture band of artistic weirdness which he clearly wanted (the dream) or Roger's desire for big commercial success (the joke.) Any skepticism of this interpretation I had vanished by watching the video of the Jugband Blues performance on youtube, which hopefully will not been removed by the band. In it you'll see Syd singing and you'll note that Waters is just over his left shoulder. Syd is very still mouthing the words and staring straight ahead. At the end when he utters the last phrase "a joke" he turns to look right at Waters as the cameras fade. Pretty clever for someone who supposedly had no idea what was happening. Sure this is only my speculation but after all I have read on the subject it's certainly not a big stretch.

This is a unique sounding album because Gilmour had yet to assert himself much and Waters was mediocre at best in the musical sense. Wright had the most formal musical training and certainly he was needed here. If you'll notice when listening there are many parts of this album where Wright is actually the most active, impressive player. This is surely the most democratic band period the Floyd would manage, out from under Syd-control but not yet under Roger completely. The band would get the album finished and released by summer '68, while also touring extensively in Europe and the US throughout the period to introduce their new guitarist to the world. Watching some video of early Gilmour performances one can sense a certain relief in the band to be playing with a more dependable vocalist/guitarist. There were probably few bands as good at live gig crisis-management than early Floyd and the Doors, always having to be ready for whatever crisis Barrett and Morrison respectively would throw at them! The cover was the first of many Floyd album covers designed by Hipgnosis.

So how to rate Saucerful? An interesting and mostly good album that fans will surely want to own but not an essential album by any means. They would develop their sound and explore their most fiercely progressive directions over the next few albums before refining and moving to the next level in the 70s. Waters and Gilmour have both been dismissive at times of their pre-Meddle material but their fans know better. There is much there to enjoy despite the frustrations and dismissal of their creators

Report this review (#152410)
Posted Friday, November 23, 2007 | Review Permalink
Tom Ozric
5 stars This 1968 release by Pink Floyd, has, since around 1986 (of course, many reviewers have been familiar with 'Saucerful' since it appeared during the year of 1968...), been a fascination with me - I was 14 then, and I continue to listen to it on a regular basis, and it never fails to amaze me - cover art and all. True pioneers of a newfound style of musical expression, without question. From Roger Waters' opening Bass Guitar riff, through to dear Syd Barrett's acoustic strumming, the compositions on this record are truly wonderful. Striking Organ playing from Richard Wright (of course he's also utilised Piano and some effective Mellotron parts on some songs), Dave Gilmour's integration within the ranks (somewhat residual Barrett recordings are sparsely incorporated), and Mason's willingness to experiment percussively are in evidence throughout the tracks presented here. Maybe, the most annoying track could come in the form of 'Corporal Clegg', with its psychedelic Kazoo arrangements, and somewhat silly chord progression. Fun, but wears thin fairly quickly.

'Let There Be More Light', superb psych song with a great intro, catchy verses, and colourful outro serves as an excellent opener to the album. 'Remember a Day', a left-over from the debut album seems to fit perfectly on this album, and is quite a reflective, darkish tune with Barrett on guitar, and has a somewhat 'haunting' feel to it. 'Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun' is one of the HIGHLIGHT's of Floyd's career - live versions take this basic version to extreme heights, but remains a really inspired and mysterious, early sample of Space-Rock, might be the first. Said 'Corporal Clegg' is whimsical by name, whimsical by nature - flower- power tune which would be sacreligious to skip over.

Title track is an avant-garde tour-de-force, almost 12 minutes of experimental inspiration. Honestly, it needs to be heard to be 'mis'- understood. Very difficult to put this peice of prog history into words. 'See-Saw' is an underrated, soft, psychedelic tune, could remind one of the 'Beach Boys' from the same period (for some reason) but incorporates a lovely Mellotron-line in place of an authentic Strings-section. Closing song, 'Jugband Blues' is pure Syd Barrett. Amongst its dis-jointed structure, lies a sort of completeness, and the tune seems to represent Syd's state-of-mind during this period. The free-form section in the middle, complete with trippy (for want of a better word) organ playing and an improvisation from a local Salvation Army band couldn't befit the composition more precisely. 5 Stars.

Report this review (#154430)
Posted Thursday, December 6, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars After Barret Left, the Floyd were left to recruit a new guitarist and singer to work with them. They chose David Gilmour, a very talented guitarist, to complete their lineup. They then set out to record a follow up to Piper, a wonderful debut. Syd Barret did contribute one song here, Jugband Blues, and it is fairly good, with some interesting lyrics like "Im wondering who could be writing this song?". the rest of the songs are a split between Barret-esque fairy taleish tunes that are light and airy, and the spacey, instrumental dominated songs that they were getting interested in. Remember a Day is a beautiful song, looking as far into the future as dark side with its gorgeous melody. The title track is a long instrumental similar to interstellar overdrive, and let there be more light and set the controls follow this example, but mixing some chanting lyrics in as well. See Saw is a great mellotron dominated song with more of the switching-between-headphones madness. Again, amazing melody and thought provoking lyrics. Corporal Clegg is the only song that is somewhat mediocre, attempting to be a goofy hard rocking song, but ending up just a little too noisy.

Overall, another good effort from the Floyd, but they were soon to fall prey to movie soundtracks that would restrain their writing ability somewhat. Now Barret was gone completely, off to write his solo albums and go into rehab for his LSD problems.

Report this review (#154507)
Posted Thursday, December 6, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars Attempting to explain what's going on here is a hard task to perform. A SAUCERFUL OF SECRETS was recorded during a band member transition phase, and the music kind of gives that aura. It sounds like Pink Floyd was rather confused on a direction.

Be prepared for some avant-garde stuff. The title track sounds like just one sound collage attempting to describe an event (I think it's a war, but I'm not sure). The collage at least has a point to it unlike other collage pieces, say ''Revolution 9'' (different band). Traditional prog fans might find the last four minutes of the title track quite delightful as it is a choir-type thing revolving around an organ thing. ''Jugband Blues'' also has rather strange shifts in music including a spot where a brass band feels the need to play whatever the heck they want.

The other five songs have some sort of melodious ground, but it's really hit-or-miss in terms of how well each song grips you. Personally, I find ''Set the Controls...'' to get rather monotonous too fast; nothing special happens here. Nothing special happens in ''See-Saw'' either, at least for me. ''Let There Be More Light'' and ''Remember a Day'', on the other hand, have nice enough motives to keep me hanging around, particularly the former with the stellar guitar solo at the end.

''Corporal Clegg'' is something else, almost as if Pink Floyd had an excuse to goof off in the studio and that song is what came out of it. Goofy guitar riffs, Nick Mason singing, annoying falsetto vocals and kazoo solos are what to expect here. I actually like it as the song gives me a good laugh.

Not a particularly great Pink Floyd album by any means, but if you're bored of their classic stuff, give this one a try.

Report this review (#157097)
Posted Saturday, December 29, 2007 | Review Permalink
RIO/Avant/Zeuhl Team
5 stars Pink Floyd's sophomore effort is undoubtedly an album that polarises listeners' opinions, as the previous reviews show quite clearly. Some see it as dated, or lacking in cohesiveness, since it was released at a turning point for the band, when Syd Barrett, who was slowly descending into madness, was being gradually replaced by his friend David Gilmour - which meant a significant shift in the band's overall sound. In my personal opinion, though, it is one of PF's best albums bar none, and one of the great unsung masterpieces of progressive rock.

"A Saucerful of Secrets" can boast one of the strongest opening tracks ever, which is no mean feat for a band that specialised in killer openers thoughout their career. "Let There Be More Light" is the archetypal psyche/prog composition, with weird, mesmerising, Eastern-influenced sound effects, and vocals alternating between chant-like whispers and shouts. Together with the album's best-known song, the equally iconic "Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun" (whose definitive version is the one featured in the "Live at Pompeii" film), the track was written by Roger Waters, who was well on his way to becoming the band's true driving force. Those who maintain that Waters was a less gifted composer than David Gilmour should probably take a careful listen to both songs.

The mood changes almost abruptly with the following song, the Richard Wright-penned "Remember a Day". With soothing, wistful vocals that match the nostalgia-filled lyrics, it is a delicate, charming piece that is definitely easier on the ear in a musical sense, as is the the keyboard player's other composition, the lullaby-like "See Saw" (in my opinion, the weakest track on the album). On the other hand, the only two contributions by the departing Syd Barrett, "Corporal Clegg" and "Jugband Blues", hark back to the whimsy of much of PF's debut album, with endearingly zany vocals, odd noises and ironic, nonsense-filled lyrics. "Jugband Blues", which closes the album in stark contrast to the eerie soundscapes of the opener, can be seen as Barrett's testament, and feels particularly poignant nowadays, almost two years after Syd's untimely death.

An album's title-track often acts as its focal point, and this is particularly true of the schizophrenic masterpiece that is "A Saucerful of Secrets". Over 12 minutes long, the track is introduced by an uncontrolled chaos of weird noises and hypnotic percussive patterns, a sonic storm that suddenly abates and is replaced by a solemn, organ-driven section, featuring features vocals somewhat reminiscent of a church choir. In a way, ASOS reflects the nature of the album itself, and the circumstances in which it came into being.

For those who have come to know Pink Floyd through their milestone albums of the Seventies, this record may well turn out to be a disappointment, since it is in no way as accomplished, let alone as polished as regards production values. ASOS is a child of the late Sixties - raw, experimental, slightly incoherent - and as such captures the essence of an era in which creativity and envelope-pushing were rife. It also captures the full potential of the band just a few years before they took the leap that would lead them to conquer the world. An essential listen.

Report this review (#159333)
Posted Sunday, January 20, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars Probably my favorite from the Floyd. The one and only album from the great band on which the line-up include 5 members - Syd Barrett sing on Jugband Blues, and play guitar on Remember A Day and Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun - maybe on Corporal Clegg too...and there is also David Gilmour, of course, and for the first time in the band history. Too short (only 39 minutes, but for 7 tracks), with a very cheap production and sound - the worse on a Pink Floyd studio release), A Saucerful Of Secrets contains a lot of psychedelic rock anthems : the long, instrumental title track, Set The Controls..., Let There Be More Light...A strange atmosphere is on this album, almost oppressive. Very dark, very weird ambiance. All in all, this album, the second from the Floyd, is probably the one I consider as their best in their pre- Dark Side Of The Moon era. Quite underrated though.
Report this review (#162956)
Posted Saturday, March 1, 2008 | Review Permalink
Queen By-Tor
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars .And Gilmour said, "Let there be more light" and there was more light.

At the top of my review for Supertramp's Brother Where You Bound album I wrote a disclaimer: "Warning: adding Dave Gilmour to your album may make it awesome." This is where that disclaimer becomes especially true. This is the album were Pink Floyd was (even if for one track) a five piece as Gilmour swept in to take out insane genius Syd Barrett for Pink Floyd's second album.

This album was a giant step forward for the band. Where Piper At The Gates Of Dawn was a monumental album towards the birth of prog rock it was still mostly a psychedelic album which had a huge taste of what would later be labeled as "prog rock" in it. This album saw Pink Floyd pull away a bit from the psychedelic music that they started by making, but still sticking to those routes somewhat. The music on this album is much darker than that of Piper. with a few exceptions, and this time the album also has a much more consistent feel to it. Still with a psychedelic feel to it on tracks like See-Saw, Corporal Clegg and the Barrett written/ominously voiced Jugband Blues (''It's clear that I'm not here.''), this album starts to lean more towards the Pink Floyd that we know now.

Most of the tracks proceed slowly and with a great amount of precision. Let There Be More Light is an excellent sign of things to come from the band with Gilmour's chilling voice throughout while Remember A Day feels a bit more catchy but still along the same lines. The two biggest standouts of the album still have yet to come, though. One of Floyd's greatest masterpieces, Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun, is a cold sounding dark thriller which to this day doesn't sound dated as it takes the audience for a ride. The longest piece on the album is the instrumental A Saucerful Of Secrets which is a reflective space rock journey which doesn't quite measure up to Interstellar Overdrive but still manages to provide quite the trip.

While Piper. may have helped to open the progressive floodgates, this album certainly let Pink Floyd step through at the top of the pack. This is likely Pink Floyd's most accomplished album pre-Meddle, and certainly worth having in your progressive collection. 4 stars!

Report this review (#169016)
Posted Tuesday, April 29, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars Very interesting album, and sometimes even sounds like progressive! The title track is really effective, you must hear the soaring organ part. Corporal Clegg is the funniest Pink Floyd I've ever heard. All songs are excellent, maybe Set the controls is a bit flat, and Jugband Blues, a leftover from Syd Barrett, which has a funny march-like part with brasses playing different tunes. (See, it predicts the lyrics of Dark Side: And if the band starts playing different tunes, I see you on the dark side of the moon)
Report this review (#179492)
Posted Wednesday, August 13, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars 1968 was a year of change for Pink Floyd. Last year the band had released their debut album, The Piper at the Gates of Dawn and toured across Europe and North America. Unfortunately, any chance of success was stalled at the moment by frontman Syd Barrett. Barrett was starting to exhibit erratic behavior resulting from heavy drug use. From de-tuning his guitar onstage to simply standing there hitting one chord, his antics were starting to take a toll on the rest of the band. Joker's Wild guitarist David Gilmour was recruited to play Syd's parts onstage but eventually became a permanent replacement. Syd eventually left after the group's second album, A Saucerful of Secrets, was released.

A Saucerful of Secrets was a continuation of the band's cosmic space rock sound. Songs from their first album such as Interstellar Overdrive, Astronomy Domine, and Flaming would be echoed here on this new album with a new guitarist.

The first song, "Let There Be More Light" opens with a hypnotic bass riff from Roger Waters, alternating with quiet vocal parts and heavy distorted guitar passages while finishing with a sharp guitar solo closing the song. It's a very schizophrenic opening to a very bizarre album. "Remember A Day", the second song is a lovely song featuring keyboardist Rick Wright on lead vocals. The song is also notable for featuring some of Syd's last guitar work, which is heard through the slide guitar notes being played as well as featuring a guest drummer, producer Norman Smith.

The third song "Set the Controls For the Heart of the Sun" is perhaps one of the better known songs off the album. It became a live staple of the band and of Roger Waters's touring band. It opens with a down tempo guitar riff and tribal drumming before some spacey organ notes start floating over it all. The song eventually builds to a wild cataclysm during the middle portion with the organ going ballistic and the frenetic drumming. It's a strong contender for best song on the album.

The fourth song "Corporal Clegg" is one of the more humorous moments on the album and in Pink Floyd's history. Not only is it the sole Pink Floyd song to feature a Kazoo as a primary instrument but it is a rare instance of drummer Nick Mason handling vocal duties. The fifth song and title track "A Saucerful of Secrets" is what really draws the listener in though. Starting off with an eerie organ solo, it picks up steam with erratic drumming from Mason and psychotic slide guitar arrangements from David Gilmour. The guitar, drums, and keyboard all reach a crescendo with bassist Roger Waters banging on a gong until it settles with another organ solo before going into mournful vocal overdubs.

The seventh song "See-Saw" is a whimsical song sung by keyboardist Rick Wright that has a see saw type feel to it with the keyboards sliding all over the place throughout. The final song "Jugband Blues" is sung by former frontman and guitarist Syd Barrett. This would be Barrett's coda on leaving the band. Barrett's vocals sound distressed and apprehensive. They are soon drowned out by a Salvation Army marching band and bizarre chanting. The song and album ends with Barrett's voice accompanied by soft acoustic guitar with the lyrics And what exactly is a dream?/And what exactly is a joke?

Barrett left the band after this album was released and the group continued once more as a foursome with David Gilmour replacing him. The band's next album Ummagumma would be a double album, a first for the band, and they would continue the spacey progressive rock they experimented with on this album.

Report this review (#180521)
Posted Friday, August 22, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars A Saucerful Of Secrets is the only one album where this five great musicians are together. And it is unique with one more thing.This is the only Pink Floyd album where Richard Wright sings predominantly. It is also the last album with Syd Barrett. A Saucerful Of Secrets is a turning point in the history of Pink Floyd. It makes stylistic transition from pure psychedelic rock to more progressive direction and it's regarded as one of the first progressive rock albums. For me it contains one of the most typical Pink Floyd sound. With this far drums and dark suspense! Of course, most of the songs have sound that describe something from the reality. The album contains maybe the best song from extremely avantgarde style by Pink Floyd - A Saucerful of Secrets! Led There Be More Light is one of the most popular songs by Pink Floyd and it is landmark of band's sound! Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun is the most dramatic piece on the album. The half of the album is influenced by the melancholic style of Rick Wright! Interesting!
Report this review (#181792)
Posted Friday, September 5, 2008 | Review Permalink
Cesar Inca
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Having made such an impact during the brief yet relevant Syd Barrett-era, Pink Floyd was restlessly pushing itself to move forward not only because Barrett was losing rapidly his way into the ordinary world but also because the important standard of psychedelic rock stated in The Piper at the Gates of Dawn was in itself a catapult to new things on the brink of the British underground rock's development. The first statement of Pink Floyd was also their rocket engine for higher musical propulsions. Pink Floyd was eager to leave behind the connections with pop-beat that were still very present in the early repertoire, and luckily, Dave Gilmour was around to provide the proper touch of proficiency (he didn't still make compositional contributions, but it didn't take long before that), slowly yet convincingly making room for himself to contribute an important dose of sonic power in the band's global sound. His hard rock and blues backgrounds joined with ihs open mind to the experimental sign of the times allowed him to move comfortably (not comfortbaly numb, eh?) in the artistic situation assumed by PF in the writing and recording processes of A Saucerful of Secrets. I respect and enjoy the Syd-era, but definitely, in my opinion this is the first great PF album. The opener 'Let There be More Light' is a perfect example of how well PF managed to instill exotic Asian flavors to the melocies and rhythms of their most explicitly psychedelic pieces; another example is in this very album, 'Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun' (other ones? - 'The Embryo', performed live extensively by the band in the late 60s although never included in a Floyd album, and the second section of Gilmour's 'The Narrow Way' in Ummagumma Volume 2). 'Let There Be More Light' starts with a hypnotic jam that leads to a less frantic but more magical sung section, whose coda features an amazing lead by Gilmour (as if he were particularly interested in making himself noticed from the very beginning). A fantastic opener, indeed, that shows a band tighter than ever with its lightly refirbished line-up. 'Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun' comprises a more constant structure, with Wright's organ deliveries and Mason's pounding drumming stealing the show from the other instrumentalists. Caught between the two is the lyricially evocative 'Remember a Day', penned by Wright about the subject of nostalgia for lost innocence and childhood gone. Even though the main motif and arrangements are playful, the mood is genuinely melancholic. The same can be said about the other Wright-penned song, 'See-Saw': greyish nostalgia wrapped in a colorful paper. The song is slower but with a richer instrumentation: the use of tuned percussion adds nuances to the piano lines and mellotron layers, while the soft guitar phrases emphasize the song's dreamy nature. The title track is a PF staple in itself, long left behind in live setlists yet never forgotten. This studio version takes advantage of the controlled recording environment, with a clever utilization of volume processors, sound effects, overlapped keyboards and percussions, and of course, a celestial choir with an augmented use of Gilmour an Wright's vocalisations for the final section 'Celestial Voices'. The 'Syncopated Pandemonium' section is a prog classic i nitself, with its mixture of tribal madness and avant-garde alleatory weirdness. 'Corporal Clegg' is the closest to pop that PF gets in this album: this sounds to me like a mixture of Revolver- era Beatles, 'Matilda Mother' and a touch of Zappa humor. The subject of wounded survivors of war is treated with all the sarcasm it deserves, and countless times have men witnessed the downfall of unattended heroes who after a day of public glory are left behind in oblivion without any kind of support from the same Powers-that-be that sent them to the destructive insanity of war. The closer is the last Barret contrinution to the band: 'Jugband Blues' is a playful exercise on humoristic psychedelic rock, including a Salvation Army brass band's chaotic improvisaton. Barrett's lyrics are very touching: they can refer to either the mental alienation that was driving him apart from people or the distance that was separating him from his fellow PF members - my bet is for both issues, since one is connected to the other. Dadaistic humor in the music, sad ironic reflectiveness in the lyrics: wah ta way to bid farewell to the band, what a way to close this album. This is a great PF album, and as such, indispensable in any good rock collection (prog or not).
Report this review (#182778)
Posted Thursday, September 18, 2008 | Review Permalink
Symphonic Team
1 stars This album is so much of its time that it is almost unbelievable. This music is pure psychadelia with some very experimental moments. It has not aged well at all in my opinion and it sounds horribly dated today. But it really captures the essence (and the excesses) of British Psych music of the late 60's. As such it has nothing to do with the progressive rock of the 70's.

This second Pink Floyd album is not as groundbreaking as the debut album, and the songs are generally much weaker than on the debut. It would take Pink Floyd several more years before they found their direction.

The very experimental title track is basically just atonal noise for over 10 minutes with no structure at all. In describing the quality of this song I am tempted to use words I'm not supposed to use on Prog Archives, so I'll just leave it at that! I pose a question instead: Is this supposed to be adventurous and interesting music?

This is one of the worst albums I ever heard by a well respected band!

Report this review (#187125)
Posted Monday, October 27, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars This album is a very interesting mix of many different elements ranging from psychedelic, experimental, avant garde, and space rock. Upon my first listen, I was a bit confused with what I had heard, for there seemed to be no common "sound" among the songs that I heard. However, as I continued to listen, I realized that this was what gave this album its appeal, and the trend which would evolve across Pink Floyd's career in the albums to come. One of my favourite things about Pink Floyd has always been the ability for them to write soft acoustic ballads, hard rock and roll songs, long and intricate progressive epics, and experimental avant garde music all from the same band.

The first song, "Let There Be More Light" is a very space rock song. It begins with a cool sounding bass line with Richard Wright's spacey keyboards coming in, building up until the main theme of the song slides in stealthily behind the hissing of Nick Mason's cymbals. The song is an interesting one, with lyrics seeming to speak about extraterrestrial beings.

Remember a Day changes the atmosphere completely, with a folky psychedelic sound. It has an undeniably Richard Wright sound. Not surprisingly he was the one who wrote this song. Wright also sings on this track and it's a nice small tune.

Set The Controls for the Heart of the Sun is another Space Rock song but has less of the rock and roll elements than Let There be More Light had. This song is interesting in that it sounds very "ancient." The best part of this song is the drums, which begin simply and get more complex as the song progresses.

Corporal Clegg is not a song to be taken very seriously, but it's a nice tune. It completely turns the mood of Set the Controls 180 degrees. It's a goofy sounding psychedelic rock song featuring lyrics about war. An interesting part of this song is that it features Kazoo solos.

A Saucerful of Secrets is the gem on this album. It might be hard to take in at first but when on really listens to it without any bias, they can truly see that this song is a masterpiece. This song is the precursor to the bizarre avant garde experiments Pink Floyd would perform on their music throughout the rest of their career, especially on Ummagumma. Beginning with a build up of odd sounds with eerie keyboards and the sounds of windchimes and other ambient noises, it abruptly shifts to an experimental passage with a repeating drum loop and bizarre and random sounds arranged in a way that indicates chaos. Appropriately, the 2nd movement is titled "Syncopated Pandemonium." Following this part, it fades out to the eerie keyboards present in the first part and flows into a beautiful sounding finish filled with a beautiful keyboard melody and a choir of voices singing wordlessly. Overall this song is very important to identifying this album as a progressive rock album, and it's because of use of experimentation. This song treads bravely into territory never before explored, and makes use of new and innovative ways to surprise listeners with new sound. It is art... though bizarre, very beautiful.

See-Saw is another Richard Wright song with a folky psychedelic sound. If you enjoy Remember a Day, you'll enjoy See-Saw too. It's very peaceful and warm sounding, but ultimately not that important to this album's overall sound.

Jugband Blues is a Syd Barrett song, and many see it as his goodbye song before leaving Pink Floyd. This was the only album where all 5 members contributed. But in this song you won't find the Psychedelic rock sound that you heard on Piper... Instead it seems to be a precursor to what Barrett would eventually write for his solo records. It's a nice tune if you are a fan of Syd Barrett, albeit a bit sad sounding. The song is also oddly progressive as it moves across 3 minute beginning as a whimsical Barrett song and then including brass instruments and Syd's voice fading out into an odd jumble of bizarre keyboards and Brass instruments playing an odd tune before abruptly halting before a quiet acoustic outro.

Overall the progressiveness of this album comes from many ideas from each of the members coming together on individual songs... while this makes the album a bit unorganized, it certainly offers a great variety. You won't hear the same thing twice across this record, save for similarities of Remember a Day and See Saw. Overall this is an excellent addition to any progressive music collection. It may take a few listens to recognize the art in it, (especially the title track) but it's definitely worth it.

Report this review (#190004)
Posted Thursday, November 20, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars After listening to the live version of the A Sauceful of Secrets song in the Ummagumma album, for years I had the idea that this second album from Pink Floyd was as noisy as the live version included in Ummagumma. Fortunately, I was wrong, and this 1968 album is much better than I expected.

I still have not yet listened as a whole to their The Piper at the Gates of Dawn album because I don`t have it. But I read in several books and in the web that after their first album with Syd Barrett it really was going to be very hard for them to survive without him. But he still appears in some tracks in this second album (Remember a Day, Jugband Blues and one more which name I don`t remember now).

After Barrett`s departure, Waters and Wright became the main composers in the band, and in this album is clear for me that Wright was a good composer despite he underrated his own early songs in later years. He really was a creative force in the Pink Floyd Sound despite Waters underrated him in later years until Wright was forced to leave the band in 1979. So, I think that Wright`s songs are the best in this album: Remember a Day (with Barrett on slide guitar) and See Saw. Both songs have Pink Floyd`s psychedelic atmospheres more than Waters`songs in this album: Let There be More Light is also psychedelic with a very good bass riff; Corporal Clegg reflects Waters`obsession with military themes, but at least with a bit of humour in this song; and Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun is very interesting, dark and with very good atmospheres created by Waters, Mason, Wright and Gilmour.

The title track, A Saucerful of Secrets, is still very experimental, and it was the first song composed by Waters-Wright-Mason-Gilmour. This studio version is better than the live version included in Ummagumma.

Finally, the album includes Barrett`s last song recorded with Pink Floyd, called Jugband Blues, an experimental and psychedelic song with sad lyrics which for many reviewers are like Barret`s farewell because they think that with this song Barrett was aware of the changes in his mental health.

In conclusion, this album showed that Pink Floyd could really survive without Barrett and without composing and recording hit singles like they did in 1967 with Barrett. David Gilmour was still finding his place in the band, but his guitar playing was good. He really helped the band a lot to suvive without Barrett, and this album shows a bit the new sound for the band for their next albums.

Report this review (#196548)
Posted Wednesday, December 31, 2008 | Review Permalink
TGM: Orb
4 stars Review +1, A Saucerful Of Secrets, Pink Floyd


A Saucerful Of Secrets is an album that, as the title suggest, breeds mystery, thrives on mystery, on unshared insight, and, to an extent, both ensuring the listener is aware they are only an observer, but also initiating them into a musical/spiritual tradition. As such, the descriptive words are vague, and the music and atmosphere must speak for itself. It remains a peak of Floyd's early psychedelic career, and also a challenging, bold entity, and is compulsary listening for anyone interested in Pink Floyd, psychedelia, atmospheric or experimental music, with a sort of spiritual significance that goes beyond plain atmosphere. Not to be missed out on.

For a chap who'd heard only Meddle... onwards, Nick Mason's drumming, in particular, came as a revelation. On this album, a more impressively tasteful, distinctive and threatening drummer could not be found. Mason isn't just an, admittedly very valuable, cog in the Floyd emotional machine, here; he is a standout in any sense of the word. His classical-sounding fills and rhythms are one of the most interesting aspects of a none-too-shabby album. Barrett's performance, though brief, is comprehensively winning, and the three remaining members are perhaps at their best in the dark, brooding atmospheres of this album. Gilmour manages to pull off the most mislocated blues solo with verve and grip, Wright holds complete emotional clutches, and Waters' bass parts are all distinctive, though less obvious than the others. From a playing side, in my opinion, this is where Floyd were at their best.

A chugging rhythmic bass drags us headlong into the psychedelic grandeur of Let There Be More Light, an eerie number, providing a heady feeling of being surrounded by the music. Enigmatic, nervous and invocative whispering is alternated with a superb confident vocal line, trading off ambiguous, evocative, spaced out lyrics. Wright's organs and Mason's very 'psych' percussion, complete with ingenious fills, provide a feeling of unchartered depth, while the snarling bluesy presence of Gilmour adds in some distinct presence. One of Floyd's best pieces, in all respects, and the overwhelming menace and atmosphere of the final 'jam' needs to be heard.

Of the two Wright pieces, Remember A Day is probably the better, opening with an absolutely enthralling bit of hollow piano supplemented by an understated acoustic guitar, before moving, a bit abruptly, onto a 60s pop number, albeit with distinctive drumming, a screaming background guitar part, and the occasional interesting piano line. Certainly the haunting atmosphere, when Wright moves off the vocals onto the organs, does more than make up for the slightly twee main body of the song. A good effort, and certainly interesting, but I can't help feeling it could have been better.

Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun is one of the archetypal Floyd numbers, a moody, cold and dark piece, with some absolutely stunning presence from Mason (on a very classical set of percussion), a mechanical bass part from Waters and the reverent vocals holding up the stark, daring atmosphere while Wright and Gilmour, menacingly devoted to their effects pedals, remain bleak and mysterious throughout. Almost an incantation: secretive, haunting, and distinctly giving the feel that there is something you don't know, and shouldn't know, complete with a foreboding set of lyrics. Stunning, if you're willing to listen to music that makes you feel out of the loop.

Corporal Clegg is the comic relief of the album, though no less biting or experimental than any of the others, with some very sharp, punching guitar lines from Gilmour, vocal harmonies and madness of all sorts... conversation, theatrical hilarity, multiple voices, ironic lyrics (often going on at the same time), blip blip blip blip. The mocking bassline, curious tish-a-tish rhythm and absolutely hilarious kazoo solos and bulldozer sound effects just add to the general chaos. Cheerfully insane, and a great listen.

The title track, a twelve minute extravaganza, initially relies heavily on volume-shifting, trembling organs, mysterious percussion, coming in start-stop bursts with little explanation, or care, and the background intrusion of other instruments, whether screaming guitars, nervous, twittering harmonica (I think, could be guitar), and thunking, off-key piano chords. Blocks of noise, searching runs, nonsensical bleats, it all adds together to produce one effect: alienation. This drops to a close for the presence of a solid, repeated drum line and desperate, lower-end, vicious piano swipes, overlaid with some screamingly unforgettable guitar effects. The only real constant is a dead end... something that appears one day, and hangs around, and the manic chaos of the other parts gives you little to rest on, this descends into blank noise again, a thundering wall of drums, from under which a dissonant, cathedral-like organ creeps, whence a tingling presence of percussion emanates. Wright, left alone, takes a sudden control, a slow, soul-searching, knowing organ, forming out of the chaos of the rest of the piece a sudden all-grasping order. As choral calls and soothing mellotron emerge to join this framework of peace, the piece reaches its reverent conclusion. Absolutely incredible, and a necessary listen even for those who aren't fond of Floyd's more popular material.

See-Saw, the second Wright number, is a bit less memorable, but perhaps (ironically) a bit less unpredictable in quality, since it has a more interesting set of lyrics and a consistent progressive attitude, whether from Mason's absolutely fantastic, pattering drumming, the crazed production (I love crazed production), some deliberately jarring piano bits, or the plain sound innovation from Wright and Gilmour. Wright's voice is also great here, and the interest of the song is perhaps let down from the lack of verve behind it.

Jugband Blues, the Barrett finisher, is another highlight, going through as many distinct sections, carnival flare, little acoustic ditty, determined atmosphere, calm, off-beat pop chorus, complete silence as most epics in only a couple of minutes, all of them catchy, effective and moving in their own way. Syd's vocals and the harmonies are all great, often unusual bass throbs and a menacing Wright organ solo add colour and compositional oddity in a way I've never really heard elsewhere. The final words, the melancholy, 'and what exactly is a dream, and what exactly is a joke?' bring to an end the mystery, the intriguing secrets of the album, and also conclude a simply incredibly compact and interesting song.

So, there you have it. An album with tunes I'd want to go and see live, embryonic and developing, rather than a mercilessly perfected statuesque creature like Dark Side or Wish You Were Here. An enigma, and one of, in my view, the most interesting drumming albums I've heard. It helps that it contains what's possibly now my favourite Floyd tune, the incredible A Saucerful Of Secrets. The level of the five strong tracks, all of which are among Floyd's best is extremely high, and I can say the Wright numbers are weak only in that they aren't of the same calibre¸ not because they're bad songs. A must-have, and, a masterpiece of progressive psychedelic music, though not a flawless album.

Rating: 13/15, or Five Stars.

Favourite Track: A Saucerful Of Secrets.

Edit: Felt obliged to drop to four when I was tightening/shuffling ratings for a bit of consistency - only for the Wright tracks, but it's still an absolute must-have for any 'progger'.

Report this review (#209763)
Posted Wednesday, April 1, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars This is one of Pink Floyd's more experimental albums- while there is a definite similarity to their later work, this is very different, and may come as a surprise to fans of the Floyd's legendary 73-79 heyday. At this time, the band was just starting to deal with Barrett's departure, and searching for an identity in his wake. As a result of this, experimentation is rampant, and the album seems to mine deep into psychedelia while passing up the acid-soaked whimsy and silliness that characterized the Barrett era.

The album starts with a Waters creation- Let there Be More Light, an excellent space-rock song with a heavy sci-fi feel to it-very cosmic indeed. After that is a Wright song, Remember a Day- this song is marvelous, a nostalgic, sad song about the joyous, carefree times of youth, and how they can feel so distant- this song is very emotional, with great lyrics backed up by great instrumentation- an almost perfect song. Then comes the best song, and an old favorite of mine- Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun. The second that bassline hits my ears, I am taken into a spacy trance- the Chinese poetry lyrics fit the music oddly well, creating a mystical feel. Another astounding song. Then is Corporal Clegg, Waters' first dealing with the subject of war, and much, MUCH less morose than his later confrontations with the subject- the song has a distinctly non-serious, possibly even silly feel- not bad, but not one of the better songs. After this is the centerpiece, the 12-minute title track, a crazy, experimental epic- however, I think it's a tad overrated- a nice song, but it seems a bit overlong to me. Following this madness is another Wright song, See-Saw- another sad, nostalgic song, though not on the same level as Remember a Day. And then, Syd's farewell- Jugband Blues. It continues the tradition f Barrett's weird songwriting, though instead of abject silliness, we now see a song as schizophrenic as Barrett himself- cheery, random instrumentation, coupled with sad, depressed lyrics. I have given glowing praise to the album throughout, but I cannot bring myself to call this an essential masterpiece- mainly because this may be too experimental for many listeners, and it does not give a good idea of what the Floyd was all about- start with any of the 73-79 albums, and after those, go after Piper, and then this. However, A Saucerful of Secrets is an excellent addition to anybody's Floyd collection, thus a four star rating- recommended to fans of experimentation, weirdness, Pink Floyd, and even krautrock fans may get a kick out of this.

Report this review (#211670)
Posted Saturday, April 18, 2009 | Review Permalink
The T
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars An improvement over its predecessor, but still far from the PINK FLOYD that was to come.

This album continues in the psychedelic vein of "A Piper At the Gates At Dawn" though it starts to mnove in a different direction. The minimal input from Syd Barret and the arrival, though not yet in full force, of David Gilmour, help to make this a more coherent work, with strong contributions from Rick Wright, in an era where the band was much more democratic that it came to be.

There is one outstanding track, in my view: "Set the controls for the Heart of the Sun" is at the same time psychedelic but progressive, very obscure and haunting, dark, this Roger Waters' creation is the highlight of the album. Very percussive and atmosphere-rich, it stands out over lesser tracks like the more down-to-earth opener "Let there be more light" or the irrelevant "See-Saw".

There are two tracks that need mention. One, the title track, a psychedelia's fan's dream, full of effects and lacking any proper "song" qualities, can be either viewed as an accomplishment or as a disaster. I stand somewhere in the middle. Two, "Jugband Blues", Barrett's only contribution to this album, and without a doubt its weakest piece. there's no question his departure only helped the band in the long run, even if we reached that conclusion on hindsight. But this track surely shows that he no longer had anything to give to PINK FLOYD.

I'd give this album 2.5 stars if available. As I can't, i'll round off this time, as i think other works like "Atom Heart Mother" deserve that third star much more clearly, and have to be differentiated from this uneven disc, even if we have to use a star-rating to do it.

Report this review (#218831)
Posted Friday, May 29, 2009 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars "A Saucerful Of Secrets" is the 2nd full-length studio album by UK psychadelic/progressive rock act Pink Floyd. The album was released through EMI in June 1968. After the succes of their debut album "The Piper at the Gates of Dawn (1967)" the band started recording sessions for their sophomore release in August 1967. Unfortunately original guitarist/lead singer Syd Barrett became so mentally unstable during this period that the band brought in David Gilmour to replace him in January 1968. Initially as a second guitarist to fill in for Barrett, when he wasn´t able to perform. It wasn´t until March 1968 that Syd Barrett finally left the band. The recording sessions which took place at Abbey Road Studios in London ended in April 1968. "A Saucerful Of Secrets" features vocal contributions from all five members of the band (including Syd Barrett on three tracks). Most tracks were written by bassist Roger Waters and keyboard player Richard Wright while "Jugband Blues" is the only Syd Barrett penned track on the album.

Stylistically the music on the album is psychadelic rock. Spacey sound effects, stoned mellow vocals, and what at times sound like improvised psychadelic jams although most tracks feature recognisable vers/chorus structures. However stoned and out there the music sometimes is there´s always a focus on memorable melodies which is an important factor, that sets "A Saucerful Of Secrets" apart from some of the output by contemporary artists. While most tracks are pretty simple psycadelic rock tunes, the haunting "Set the controls for the heart of the sun" is an intense repetitive track which shows the more adventurous side of the band. The 11:57 minutes long title track is a long psychadelic jam which in those days was probably considered quite experimental and inventive.

The musicianship is on a high level and Pink Floyd proves to be innovative in both thought and playing style throughout the album. The album is packed with beautiful psychadelic organ from Richard Wright and great guitar parts too from David Gilmour (even though he is not as prominent here as he would be on later recordings). Great sedated vocals and harmonies, and a loose and organic playing rhythm section which suits the music perfectly. "A Saucerful Of Secrets" features a slightly muddy sound production and especially during some of the most intense jam part of the title track, it´s a bit hard to make out what´s happening, but the production generally suits the music well, and considering the time of release, the sound production is certainly decent.

Upon conclusion I will label "A Saucerful Of Secrets" an excellent psychadelic rock album. The music featured on the album is still far from the more sophisticated style of music that Pink Floyd would produce in the 70s but that doesn´t make it less enjoyable. To my ears "A Saucerful Of Secrets" is a seminal album in the genre and a 4 star (80%) rating is deserved.

Report this review (#224717)
Posted Monday, July 6, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars Most fans tend to prefer Piper to this one. Not me. Here we listen to David Gilmour's guitar for the first time - quite an improvement for the band's sound. His guitar work coupled perfectly with the band's (still) mainly psychedelic sound. And the album starts with a bang, Let There Be More Light, the first great song (music and lyrics) written by Roger Waters followed by an excelent guitar solo in Gilmour's already trademark style, fiery and melodic. It's interesting to notice the Eastern influence in both Let There Be More Light and Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun, this last still a part of Roger's live setlist. Unfortunately, the band didn't explore very much this vein eversince.

RIck Wright's contributions, Remember a Day and See Saw, have a particular feel, slower, with childhood lyrics (but not childish) and nice, melodic intrumental passages. The title track is another long instrumental piece, still much in the psychedelic vein, but already with some hints of the prog sound yet to come. Roger's sharp, ironic lyrics surface for the first time in Corporal Clegg, the story of a soldier who lost a leg in the war. It has a weird, yet very interesting sound, martial, but perfectly suited with the ironic lyrics. Jugband Blues, the only Barret song in the album, is a short piece divided in three parts. It has an interesting melody, but looks mostly like an unfinished song. It displays the decline of Barret's mind and creativity, and counts for the weakest song of the album.

In the end, this album is enjoyable in its entirety, and has no major flaws (unlike Piper, as I pointed in the review of that album), but with only two outstanding, classic tunes, Let There Be More Light and Set the Controls... Also, it is not a prog album. Therefore, it won't get the highest rate, but still deserves 4 resolute, solid stars.

Report this review (#225990)
Posted Saturday, July 11, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars Pink Floyd - A Saucerful of Secrets. 1968.

There was still so much progression to be made in the music industry. The Moody Blues has just invented how to use the Mellotron, Procol Harum invented the multi-part sidelong progressive song and Pink Floyd was busy installing the space/psychedelic scene. Where their debut was still a song driven album, referred to as psychopop, this a fully psychedelic album with very little commercial tendencies. Which is good in my opinion!

Let there me more Light is clearly a composition made by Roger Water intended to resemble the great Astronomy Domine. Though I still prefer the latter, this is a great Pink Floyd song. I wished they played material like this on their live dvd's! Spacey, vocals of Water and Gilmore and with a punching beat this is a great progressive achievement. Remember a Day is great song of Rick Wright. Beautiful chords and lyrics are the basis of this classic song. Set the Controls for the heart of the sun is a good example of Pink Floyd heading into psychedelic depth. The song became a live favourite by the fans. It was so played so often that the song grew to a masterpiece on the Live at Pompeii film (now on dvd!). The original is nice, but sounds still a bit incomplete. Corporal Clegg has been blamed for ruining the album, but I disagree. It has nice melodies and the stupid part in the middle is part of the psychedelic search. On side two A saucerful of secrets is the dark (no completely black) opener. Dark progressive soundscapes are introduced here by Pink Floyd. This is somehow the Pink Floyd I like most. The somehow spiritual vibe of psychedelia, the devotion of four man playing their instruments like they we're never used before. This ain't easy listening nor soothing, but it touches my very soul. Great! See-Saw and Jugband Blues are great songs ending the album with the last vocal lines of Syd Barrett. His presence has been unnoticed until this last song. I think it's better to place this record in the Water-Gilmour-Wright period then in the Barrett period.

A great ground-braking psychedelic record of the second classic Pink Floyd formation. Waters-Gilmour-Wright continued the songwriting duties Barrett had left and succeeded to make a worthy second record. Four Stars!

Report this review (#231342)
Posted Thursday, August 13, 2009 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Second Pink Floyd Album is similar in style to the debut.

It starts with very strong song ( in fact all the A-side is good enough), but slowly goes deeper and deeper in psychedelic visions.

"Let There Be More Light" and "..Controls.. " both are great.Whenever still a Barrett album, you can feel more Waters ( and other guys) in some songs. Some very first signs of future WYWH sound presented yet!

Record quality is good for it's time, still some interesting sound effects are presented. The same level, as debut one, and last really psychedelic PF album.

Report this review (#249261)
Posted Monday, November 9, 2009 | Review Permalink
Prog Metal Team
4 stars A Saucerful of Secrets is the first in a series of 6 uneven releases where Pink Floyd would find their own true voice after the rather mainstream debut. During that process, the mix of their strong personalities and originality would produce music of pure genius alternating with unfocussed and self-indulgent drivel.

Despite its obvious flaws I've always enjoyed this one a lot. It has a very dark and moody feel that flashes me right back to those rainy winter afternoons when I was 12 and playing this weird record on constant repeat together with Umma Gumma. Let There Be More Light, the title says it all. It's one of my favourite early Floyd tracks and a defining space-rock track: eastern tinged melodies, dark sound effects, pulsating bass, dazed vocal melodies and spacey guitars. What a departure from the debut. Welcome David Gilmour.

Remember a Day is a Richard Wright song featuring his known hesitant melancholic vocals. It has a very romantic mood, not as strong as the opener but still very charming. Next on is Set the Controls, the ultimate space-rock track, again with a very eastern melody and Nick Mason's invigorating percussion serving as an entrancing base for the sonic outbursts from Gilmour and Wright. Every live version of this track is better then the embryonic form that it still has here, but nevertheless it's a landmark moment, hugely influential on both kraut, progressive electronic and space-rock.

Corporal Clegg would have fitted better on the debut. It's still fun but it has none of the visionary power of the preceding tracks. The title track is the most experimental moment on the album, not as good as The Heart of the Sun but very powerful in its live version on Umma Gumma. See-Saw is the second Wright track but it's less captivating then the first. Jugband Blues is an enjoyable track from Barrett but it pales greatly against the ground-breaking music that preceded it. It's a tough conclusion, but I very much doubt if anyone of us would be marvelling at the Floyd right now if Syd had been able to stay in the band. Who knows.

It's sure not the most consistent album in music history, not by a long stretch. But this is from 1968 and back then, Pink Floyd was pretty much inventing everything they did while they were doing it, without any examples to emulate, without anyone to advise them but their own stubborn will to explore and create music history.

Report this review (#251814)
Posted Thursday, November 19, 2009 | Review Permalink
3 stars Freshly Minted Clichés With No Sell-by Date in Sight

Let There Be More Light - You have to take a step back on excavating this gaudy fossil after so many years to appreciate just how resilient early Floyd DNA truly was. Water's elastic and circular bass riff which allows Wright's overlying implied organ harmonies to move neurotically around it has been borrowed by everyone and their dog ever since. Similarly that particularly Floydian take on oriental tonality and eastern inflected phrasing, has come to represent our idea in the west of what Indian classical music might actually sound like. (It doesn't but that's not the point, ethnic forgeries fetch more than the originals in this marketplace) The lulling and sensual derangement of Barrett is never far from the surface and as to what his practical contribution to the album may or may not have been, his spirit nevertheless permeates every track here.

Remember a Day - Floyd revisit the softer poppier psychedelia of Piper on a song worthy of anything of a similar hue contained on the latter. They splice together very appropriately the childlike and the sinister elements that coexisted so effortlessly in Syd's oeuvre.

Why can't we stay that way?, climb your favourite apple tree Try to catch the sun,hide from your little brother's gun Dream Yourself away, why can't we reach the sun? why can't we blow the years away?

A song so dreamily trippy that every copy of Saucerful should have shipped with a complimentary set of finger cymbals.

Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun - Notwithstanding the hedonistic spacey abandon that this track celebrates, there is a nihilistic darkness at the heart of the Floyd critter as evidenced by the title and a somewhat ambiguous lyric:

Who is the man who arrives at the wall? making the shape of his questions at asking Thinking the sun will fall in the evening, will he remember the lesson of giving?

Waters clearly believes that the eternal cycle of sun nourished life would be much better off without the meddlesome questioning of any kind of sentient middleman.

Had Apocalypse Now had a European director and been set in the failing British Empire of India, you have in your paws a much better soundtrack than the otherwise excellent one provided by the Doors. (and arguably more consistent with the spirit of Joseph Conrad's novel on which Coppola's movie is based)

Corporal Clegg - The best song John Lennon didn't write. Surface amusing but thick with irony and a snarling critique of the exploitation of war heroes who lay their lives and mental health on the line for a patriotic idealism not shared by their lords and masters. Almost a sister song companion to I Am the Walrus:

He's never been the same, no-one is to blame Mrs Clegg you must be proud of him, Mrs Clegg another drop of gin?

Like so many innovative facets of this album, it is all too easy to forget that caustically bitter triumphant fanfares had their painful birth throes here. Ditto for the cackling distortion applied to the vocal to imbue same with an unnerving menace. If you wish some sort of litmus test for true originality, you might be well served to start with artists like these, who invented clichés.

A Saucerful of Secrets - Pink Floyd at their least cuddly i.e. a glacially drawn out and heavily padded exercise in how to fill space with yet more space. Perhaps even more tiresome than Interstellar Overdrive as this is shorn of even the mitigating uber riff of the former. Perfect opportunity to get some finger cymbal practice in though. Things do perk up significantly after 4 minutes (or has it been days?) with a rippling tom groove from Mason over which the BBC Radiophonic Workshop get to earn royalties for their vast but hitherto untapped library of Weird Random Shit Volumes 1 through 57. The emptiness is now full to overflowing. Circa nine minutes you will be rewarded for your industrial strength patience with a deliciously ethereal organ chord sequence that simply blows the likes of the heavily saturated 'Margarine' Dream out of the flotation tank.

See Saw - Mercifully, a welcome return to economy and melodic intent albeit on a rather convoluted 'Syd by Numbers' appropriation which proves if nothing else that Barrett's apparently whimsical creations had an unforgiving internal logic that his imitator's and wannabes sorely lack. It might just be me but I always detect a whiff of incest on this cryptic tale of a brother and sister?

Another time another day she'll be selling plastic flowers on a Sunday afternoon Picking up weeds she hasn't got the time to care all can see he's not there She grows up for another man and he's down.

Jugband Blues - Heart rending that it had come to this. A very fine and memorable song but one I find hard to listen to without being saddened by the demise it precipitated in its author. Perhaps this represents Syd's first disoriented steps beyond the cusp of 'wholeness' on a composition that you could be forgiven for thinking is the product of a bicameral mind. It's doubtful if Syd would even have remembered writing, performing or recording this number.

And I'm wondering who could be writing this song I don't care if the sun don't shine and I don't care if nothing is mine and I don't care if I'm nervous with you I'll do my loving in the winter and the sea isn't green and I love the queen and what exactly is a dream? and what exactly is a joke?

Despite the inexorable advance of Syd's deteriorating mental condition, he continued to be able to produce work that carries the indelible mark of true greatness on two solo albums before the muse, without turning its back, left silently and forever leaving the piper alone at the gates of delirium.

From this point onwards, Floyd's output was of very little interest to me. I don't consider what followed any less accomplished than the first two albums but for this rodent, Pink Floyd were a brilliant pop group with a song-writing genius on board. Once the latter had disembarked that vessel at the behest of a mutinous crew, they became just an incredibly talented and innovative rock band. Greedy? Not me.

Report this review (#261957)
Posted Friday, January 22, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars After a great debut album, what do you do? Make a better one of course.

This album seems to get a bit of criticism, due to its difference in sound, but I think this album was the perfect example of Pink Floyd making great songs and weird songs as well. This album was also made at quite difficult and confusing time during the bands career, with Syd being mental and all that. I thought this album was also good for showing Roger & Rick's songs, which to be honest, were better than Syds.

This album also the welcoming sight of an amazing guitarist and an phenomenal vocalist, David Gilmour. He doesn't contribute a lot on this album, but his skills will be shown in the next few.

1. Let There Be More Light - This song could have easily been a Black Sabbath song (with less intelligible lyrics of course). Quite catchy in it's own weird nature. Very memorable and very underplayed & undermentioned.

2. Remember A Day -This song is very beautiful & quite catchy. Rick isn't the best singer in the world, but his voice is very well presented in this song.

3. Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun -Om's and every other drone bands inspiration. This song really was a landmark for experimental music. Amazing versions of this song can be heard on the live album of Ummagumma and a great cover is done by black metal band 1349.

4.Corporal Clegg - Roger's attempt to make a Syd song, basically.

5. A Saucerful Of Secrets - At times, this piece can sound like a bad Merzbow song, but it does get better, until the climax at the end. The live version on Ummagumma is amazing as well.

6.See-Saw- Rick's attempt to make a Syd song. You don't have to make a Syd song, cause you have to be mental to make one of them. Duh.

7. Jugband Blues -Syd's attempt to make a Syd song?oh?it is Syd. This song basically sounds like one of the better tracks from Piper At The Gates Of Dawn.

CONCLUSION: Better than Piper, but still lacks a certain uniqueness.

Report this review (#269385)
Posted Wednesday, March 3, 2010 | Review Permalink
2 stars This was one of the last Pink Floyd cd's that I purchased. I found it used finally for a few bucks and decided to give it a try. Overall, it was a satisfactory purchase. Not great, just good. I really enjoy "Let there be more light' and "Set your Controls". THese are great Floyd numbers and are deserving of high praise. Weird, science fictiony lyrics, even! After that, however, only "Corporal Clegg" has ever interested me much. "Remember a Day' bores me, "A saucerful of secrets" never has grabbed me except foir a bit at the end. "See-Saw" and "Jugland Blues" also take me nowhere. So, overall, 2 great tunes with 1 modest tune, and the rest as mediocre, my final rating on this album is only a 2 1/2. On this site a 2 star rating. I wish I could give it higher as other Floyd efforts will receive 3, 4 and even 5 stars from me.
Report this review (#273562)
Posted Monday, March 22, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars A transtitional album, 'Saucerful...' is here, there, and everywhere. But whilst it is fequently ignored by Floyd fans for it's lack of cohesion (even in terms of who was in the band), it does mark a significant point in the band's career, and as a result, is more diverse than it first appears.

Most people, including the band themselves, will overlook it, especially in terms of categorisation, as it doesn't really fit into the "Barrett phase" or the "post-Barrett experimental phase". Except it does. There may only be ONE Barrett tune, but one counts. It's a good one as well, carrying forward the emotion of his own departure. And then there's the title track, which is experimental enough to be on 'Ummagumma' or 'Atom Heart Mother'. I don't enjoy it too much but it sits nicely inbetween the other, shorter tracks and sets the tone for future Floyd. And there's other stuff as well. TWO Wright compositions (a rarity) which both capture the strength of Barrett's whimsical lyrics, without being too whimsical themselves. And of course, the only live survivor, 'Set the Controls for the Heart of th Sun', which most people will agree is a good song, or at minimum, a good opportunity for psychedelic noodling on stage. On top of this, there are a further two Waters efforts: the album's opener, which is pretty strong if you give it the chance to be, and the light-hearted 'Corporal Clegg',the guilty pleasure that you'll hate to love.

I find this album to be surprisingly fresh (not at all like it's cover artwork). There aren't really any other ones like it in the Floyd catalogue. And I will agree that it lacks in amazingness pretty much all over, but what it doesn't deliver in terms of wow factor, it makes up for with charm. The thing is, the band probably didn't realise just how warm this little gem is, given their internal affairs at the time. The five-piece works, it just requires a little more effort from the listener.

Report this review (#277914)
Posted Wednesday, April 14, 2010 | Review Permalink
Symphonic Team
2 stars Is it sacrilegious for a Pink Floyd addict to detest this?

I am a massive Floyd fan and would bleed 'Dark Side of the Moon' if you cut me, but this is the worst excuse for an album I have come across from this band. Worse than 'The Final Cut?' Well, I may draw the line there, but this is still a detestable album. Why? I will give you two reasons; Syd and Barrett. The man was a raving nutter as we all know, but he can't sing a note to save himself, that droning monotone voice is enough to make you want to pickle your granny, and before I get lynched by a pack of Floyd freaks, of course Barrett was an iconic figure, but he produced some questionable material and questionable albums, including the abysmal self pitying debut solo effort who's name escapes me at the moment. Also Waters was absolutely wrapped up in his own cerebral cortex on this effort. The music is so lacklustre, it is heart wrenching, and although Barrett only is allowed to sing on the last track, his influence is prevalent.

What are the highlights on such a mediocre album? Perhaps we have to start with the obvious, the compelling Roger Waters' masterpiece 'Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun' that has a hypnotic groove that draws you in with dark overtones and a riveting bassline. I always loved this. 'Let There Be More Light' is certainly a fabulous track with a spacey guitar feel and very moody keyboards from the incomparable Wright. Floyd can pruduce brilliant epics such as 'Echoes' and 'Shine On', but 'Saucerful of Secrets', running for a tortuous 12 minutes, is mind numbing and dull. Trimmed down it is OK, but how many spacey guitar runs and Dracula organ do we need? 'Ummagumma' provides better versions in any case. The Floyd were always better live and it seems in the studio at this stage of their careers, the four walls of a booth were stifling their creativity.

These tracks save this album from the one star bomb, but the other tracks are truly forgettable. The dreadful caterwauling of Waters' 'Corporal Clegg' is the type of puerile nonsense I am talking about. A psyched up weird thing that sounds like bubblegum now or the pale shadow of The Beatles. Listen to those kindergarten lyrics by Waters: "Corporal Clegg had a wooden leg, He won it in the war, in 1944., Corporal Clegg had a medal too In orange, red, and blue, He found it in the zoo. Dear, dear were they really sad for me? Dear, dear will they really laugh at me? Mrs. Clegg, you must be proud of him. Mrs. Clegg, another drop of gin." Does anyone really care about this anymore? In its time it probably knocked all the hippies off their heads, but now it sounds dated and obsolete.

The album has not dated well and the flower power psychedelic sounds are nauseating and at times Waters' vocals are akin to a cat scratching its claws down a blackboard; 'See Saw' is the idiot child of 'Sgt Pepper' and really is ear cringing wallowing beyond comprehension. The lyrics are childish and Wright is off with the fairies on this. "Marigolds are very much in love, but he doesn't mind, Picking up his sister, he makes his way into the seas or land, All the way she smiles, She goes up while he goes down, down, Sits on a stick in the river, Laughter in his sleep, Sister's throwing stones, hoping for a hit.." Obviously an overdose of magic mushrooms for Wright who wrote this one.

'Jugband Blues' is Barrett's paean to a love interest with his lack of songwriting skills on display: 'And I never knew the moon could be so blue, And I'm grateful that you threw away my old shoes, And brought me here instead dressed in red, And I'm wondering who could be writing this song.' OK. I rest my case.

Contrary to popular belief, not everything Floyd touched was pure gold, in fact some of their early material stinks like yesterday's diapers, and unless you were stoned to the hilt, you would have thought this album was a yawnfest. People pretend to understand it, but there is no thread of reason throughout. I realise Floydians will gush over this album, simply because it is iconic Floyd with the legend in his own mind, Barrett in all his insane glory, but just because it is iconic and from the psychedelic 60s does not necessarily mean the actual music is any good. Well, now I have released all that anguish I can move on to a better album from Floyd; take your pick, this effort is a bottom of the barrel doped up Saucerful of Secretions!

Collectors Only!

Report this review (#279126)
Posted Friday, April 23, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars The second album from Pink Floyd is a clear indication of the direction the band decided to take. I don't know if the problems with Syd Barret were the main reason beside this but the band continued the direction from "The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn" on songs like Astronomy Domine or Intersterllar Overdrive in a more intense manner. The first album is a bit too psychedelic for my taste. This is one is a little more spacey and enjoyable. This one could be easily categorized as one of the earliest progressive rock albums(even if there is a long debate about this). David Gilmour joined the band smoothly and this is the only album where all 5 are performing. The best songs here are the first three, in order: Le there be more light, Remember a day and Set the Controls for the heart of the sun and these songs are indicating the direction the band will take in the next years.

When the first song is starting I have the impression that I'm not in '68. Only the organ is denoting this a little. It is the first song when David Gilmour is using his unmistakable guitar effects with distortion and echoes.

Remember a day is a very good song and the piano parts are very enjoyable and it is again with a very precocious sound. Different effects are used and the song is very melodic. Syd Barret is playing guitar on this one.

The third song("Set The Contols For The Heart Of The Sun") is along with the first one probably the best here. Pulsatory and repetitive effects with an electronic and oceanic feel, beautiful and relaxing vibraphone sounds. One important characteristic of the song is that this is the only song with all five members performing

"Corporal Clegg" is dealing with war aspects and it has a "beatelesque" atmosphere. The song is a bit sarcastic and ironic in terms of lyrics but musically also. It has a sound of a gormless military march.

The longest track here is "A saucerful of secrets" is instrumental, dark , psychedelic and it has a touch of of an horror movie soundtrack on the first part. Different kinds of abstract sounds are making this song very experimental. It is probably a very characteristic Pink Floyd psychedelic composition from the first part of their carrier. According to Roger Watters this song has four parts and is dealing with a battle(setting up, the battle itself, the view of the dead and bewailing of the dead). The last part has the impression of a funeral march.

"See saw" is a enjoyable rock and roll ballad with an experimental background. Inspired keys arrangements splashed with vibraphone sounds.

The last song is the only Syd Barrett composition. The lyrics are indicating a kind of indolence and thoughtlessness and is somehow indicating Syd's status inside the band at that time. Syd Barrett had for sure a great deal of influence and inspiration even if he wasn't part of Pink Floyd after this one. Later, one of the most important and enjoyable songs from Pink Floyd was written with Syd Barrett image in mind. Probably such a song wouldn't have been possible without his departure. Unfortunately we don't know what could have been Pink Floyd with Syd in the seventies. As a conclusion I want to think about this as an highly influential album, very diverse, with clear progressive elements(experimental, unusual instruments). Historically this is for sure a milestone of the progressive rock genre.

Report this review (#288611)
Posted Tuesday, June 29, 2010 | Review Permalink
Prog Metal Team
4 stars The purely Psychedelic era in Pink Floyd's history was a short-lived such as A Saucerful Of Secrets shows the band working out a new way to express their musical abilities. Syd Barrett was pretty much out of the picture by this point which is why David Gilmour was recruited to fill in the gap that was left by the enigmatic front man. Even though Gilmour wasn't much of a replacement for Barrett, he did bring in a new approach to guitar playing that felt quite original in its own right.

Roger Waters and Richard Wright took over songwriting duties in the absence of Syd Barrett and managed to pen quite impressive new material. It's obvious that the band members were still heavily inspired by the Psychedelic movement even though the material they wrote also has a touch of Space Rock to it. Let There Be More Light and Remember A Day are great examples of Syd Barrett's legacy working in favor of Waters' and Wright's ambitious compositions. Still, Pink Floyd manages to kick it up a notch on Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun where the early signs of Space Rock show a completely different, more polished, side of their repertoire. This is a number Roger Waters still rigorously incorporates in his solo act which to me says a lot about this composition.The rest of the album is filled with acquired taste material, which I actually find highly entertaining. Starting with Corporal Clegg, which is the first Pink Floyd song to address the theme of war. I dare you to guess who wrote this track!

The album's title track is another stab at the 10 minute format and this one actually accomplishes a whole lot more during its allocated space. I always imagined the composition to be a conceptual piece that describes the creation and evolution of Earth. Staring with sporadic sounds of volcanic eruptions, creation of wild life and the screaming vocals towards the end represents creation of the Homo sapiens. Richard Wright does another fine rendition of Syd Barrett's style on See-Saw while Jugband Blues depicts the master himself doing his last performance on a Pink Floyd album.

You've probably noticed that I happen to like this album quite a lot. It might not be the obvious choice for a classic from the wide array of great Pink Floyd performances over the years but I would definitely rank it among my top 3 personal favorites. Even if you don't disagree with me on this point, A Saucerful Of Secrets is still an excellent addition to any prog rock music collection!

***** star songs: Let There Be More Light (5:38) Remember A Day (4:33) Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun (5:28)

**** star songs: Corporal Clegg (4:12) A Saucerful Of Secrets (11:57) See-Saw (4:36) Jugband Blues (2:59)

Report this review (#289743)
Posted Friday, July 9, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars it was pink floyd's secon album almost without syd barrett i think its an original psychedelic rock album it has very good melodies in the let there be more light song there's a bass line at the beginnig of the song and its so good they also have set the control for the heart of the sun a very simple but good guitar line and see-saw is a really good song written by rick wright jugband blues is syd barrett's last work with floyd an acoustic guitar play remember a day the best rick wright's work the slide guitar in the song is played by syd barrett and the instrumental saucerful of secrets a really good song the vocal in the songs is an immitation from syd barrett they're gonna be influenced by barrett in their whole life
Report this review (#294352)
Posted Friday, August 13, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars Outtakes from the previous masterpiece, plus some new material. Soon after Piper was released, Syd's mental state went from bad to worse. He was becoming increasingly unstable, and was doing nothing to help the band's reputation. Some of his 'episodes' border on legendary, such as when the group was interviewed on American Bandstand and Syd wouldn't answer any of the questions asked of him, choosing instead to stare blankly into the camera for five minutes. More troubling, and more devastating, was that he was killing their ability to play live. Without warning, he would become completely spaced out in the middle of a song, and just wouldn't play at all or, even worse, start de-tuning his guitar on stage, which naturally made things difficult for the others. To try and fight this, the band hired a friend of Syd, David Gilmour. He basically had one duty; to run out on stage and start playing the lead guitar parts whenever Syd was going through one of his phases. Although his normal guitar style was the complete opposite of Syd's, cold and calculated whereas Syd was completely random, he was perfectly willing and able to play the parts given to him. Plus, he had that cool bluesy voice, far more pleasant than Syd's. Anyways, this worked for a few shows, but after a while the band just got sick of it, and one evening, as they were heading over to a gig, they simply decided to not pick Syd up. Syd was a bit angry about this, as you might imagine, but he was appeased when the group worked out an arrangement whereby Syd would remain the principal songwriter and Dave would do all of the actual stage work. Alas, though, Syd's songwriting had gone completely off the deep end, and the rest of the group finally decided that they had no choice but to fire him. This cost them a great deal of their fanbase, yes, and many of the financial supporters of the group bailed out on them and decided to invest in Syd's solo career, with the idea that a Barrett-less Pink Floyd had no chance of succeeding, but ultimately it was for the best.

Now for the album itself. Like I said, it's mostly Piper outtakes, but if you're expecting the same zany compositions as on the previous album, look elsewhere; the songs on here bear almost no resemblance to those on its predecessor. Wright throws in two pretty, romantic-sounding tracks, with wonderfully rich and syrupy vocals and a gorgeous atmosphere in general. "Remember a Day" is one of the great forgotten Floyd tracks of all time, I think; the combination of the pretty piano lines with the sweet vocals with the little bits of whacky slide guitar in the background make this into, at worst, a minor classic. "See-Saw" is good too, despite the fact that the working title for the song claimed that it was boring as hell. I've always found it to be a lovely bit of nostalgia, remembering the time when the person singing was a child and he and his sister were best friends. I guess one could find a note of creepiness in this if one so chose, but I don't think that's what Wright had in mind.

Waters' material is more in the 'cosmic' vein, and rather cool overall. The opening "Let There Be More Light" starts with a neato-sounding bassline that sounds a lot more interesting on closer inspection than it does from afar, and gradually turns into a slow and ultra-weird (if overly rambling) jam with Wright and Gilmour's new styles well established right away. Also, although it may seem on the surface that this was a Dave-era song, since the guitar parts highest in the mix are vintage Gilmour, closer inspection reveals ultra-loony parts in the background which cry out Barrett. Meanwhile, the lengthy but still good "Set the Controls For the Heart of the Sun," with lyrics taken straight from a book of chinese poetry (except for the title/chorus) is strong, quiet, and great for chilling/meditating. The final Waters composition of the album, the anti-war "rocker" "Corporal Clegg," is awkward as hell and not that impressive, but it's still rather funny; the kazoo solo is a total blast.

So there's five tracks. A 6th can be found in the form of the closer, a Syd composition called "Jugband Blues." Now, in and of itself, it's not that great a song, but if you know what had happened to Syd previously, the track is one of the saddest songs in the history of man. The ending part is particularly heart-wrenching, with just Syd and his acoustic, and the wonderful lines "And what exactly is a dream? And what exactly is a joke?". I can never help but mumble quietly "goodbye, Syd" whenever I hear that.

All those positives aside, these songs are not why I give this album a ****. The title track, credited to all 4 members, is why I give this album ****. Generally regarded as one of the first 'science fiction songs,' it seems to portray a battle in the depths of space. At first, Wright is just playing random chords, which help me to think of the cold emptiness of space, when out of nowhere it disappears. A Mason tapeloop comes on, and suddenly the guys are all trying to make as much noise as possible, and you can just see ships blowing up and getting shot and all of that cool stuff. Eventually, the battle fades out, leaving the wounded to recuperate, and there's some wonderful harmonizing at the end before it fades into "See- Saw." It's simply marvelous, and while Yes would one-up the concept with the epic "Gates of Delirium" 6 years later, this still works to me as kind of an abstract sketch of that piece.

Anyway, this album is certainly very patchy, and there's virtually no flow between each of the tracks, but there's not a single song on here that I dislike, and several that I love. **** it is.

Report this review (#302417)
Posted Wednesday, October 6, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars Pink Floyd's legacy continues, this time without Syd, he was only contributing to one song on this album. As I mentioned in my review about PF's debut, the band had to replace Syd because his mental condition started to be critical. He couldn't keep track of the songs they were playing during live shows, and his songs started to just become akward and overly controversial. So, he had to depart from the band, and pursue in his own footsteps.

This is when our friend David Gilmour comes into the picture, he is Syd's replacement, and is a much better singer and guitar player than Syd, he is actually the only one in the band that has some kind of musical education. He is however, a very bad songwriter in my opinion. Gladly, he won't be the one that handles the songwriting, for a very long time.

This is one of the few albums where you could really see the band working together to imitate Syd's sound. This is actually the most democratic out of all PF albums. I feel that there is less filler on this album than the debut and it's much more polished and sounds alot better. This is also the closest you can get to a mix between the 60s pop psychedelica and a progressive rock sound.

The album starts of with "Let There Be More Light" which has propably one of the fastest intros PF has ever used in a song. After the intro, the song goes into a very ethnic sounding riff, which is played in the minor scale. And the song doesn't evolve much from that, it contains one of Gilmour's weakest solos ever and is not very impressing at all.

Afterwards, the song "Remember a Day" comes. Which is without any doubt the best song on the album, it sounds alot like Syd's poppier, childish tunes. Except that it's alot more musical and more interesting to hear. It also has quite a few dramatic changes in the song. If Syd could write psychedlic pop songs as well as Rick could, Piper would propably be regarded in the same league as Sgt. Pepper by casual rock fans. This song is also a obvious example that the band is doesn't know where to go without Syd, and tries to copy the successful formula from the last album.

Next song is "Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun" which is also an attempt at following the last albums formula (hell, the whole album is an attempt at that). There is not much to say about this song, it doesn't change alot, one riff and some singing/jamming on it. Pretty good song, but it's not anything remarkable.

"Corporal Clegg" is next up, it's a fun song about a war vietnam, it doesn't really fit into the album, but to make this a perfect copy of Piper, you have to have some silliness in the album. This song includes a kazoo part which is pretty amusing, but once again, Syd beats Roger at writing songs like this, it just isn't Roger's strong side. Propably the worst song on the album, it's still a good and enjoyable song.

The title track is the next one, and is a completely instrumental song, where all band members has been credited. This song is very hard to memorize, and it just goes in and out. I can't say that I'm a big fan of it, it has it's nice moments, but it's way too slow and doesn't really seem to go anywhere. This was a live favorite for a long time, and was played at every single PF concert until '72. And this song was also alot better live. This is also a first look into how Ummagumma would sound, but on that album the members of PF would've refined this style of playing and made it alot more interesting and musical.

Now that we've had a look into Ummagumma, PF will deliver their next sound, the More sound. Which is Pink Floyd's take on folk rock, however, one difference is the songwriters, this is Rick and Roger is the one writing the folk songs on More. Alright, now onto the analyse of "See Saw". Which is pretty much a more progressive version of what they would do on More. It has time signature changes and everything that makes prog what we know it as (exotic instruments, complex arrangement and so on). This is almost on the same level of perfection as Remember a Day. I realize now that I really love the songwriting style of Rick. Maybe he is my favorite member?

And the last song, is Syd's last contribution to a PF album, but it's also his best one. You really hear that his lyrics has matured and so has his songwriting skills. Oh, what wonderful things could Syd have done if he continued with Pink Floyd. This is also one of the most bluesy songs Pink Floyd have released (the most bluesy goes however to Seamus). It's a fantastic song, which is a big influence on my own songwriting, a perfect way to end this amazing album.

This album was easy to give a rating to, it was not mature enough to get a 5, however, the songs were still very impressive and the band manages actually to surpass their former leader. From now on they are gonna pursue a completely new sound, and they will soon be known as the Pink Floyd we are all familiar with.

Report this review (#313287)
Posted Thursday, November 11, 2010 | Review Permalink
RIO/Avant/Zeuhl,Neo & Post/Math Teams
4 stars Looking to the high number of reviews that this album already has I won't be too long.

This is a transition album. Pink Floyd have just missed Syd Barrett replacing him with Dave Gilmour. In this way they have improved the execution side as Gilmour was already light years more skilled on guitar respect to Syd but have lost the mind of the band as Syd was an absolute genius and his sogwriting is still unique while Gilmour is co-writer of just an instrumental track.

The departure of Syd gives to Waters the possibility to discover his talent as songwriter. Some of his compositions are still heavily influenced by Syd. Probably the EMI had a part in this. However a song like Set The Control For The Heart Of The Sun is a masterpiece still executed live after more than 40 years. The influence of Syd is less evident and this is one of the milestones in moving from the original psychedelia to what was interpreted as space-rock. Waters never liked this definition, but this song fits well in this descripton.

A Saucerful of Secrets is composed of three distinct sections which originally were meant to be three different tracks. This is where Gilmour is credited as co-author.

Jugband Blues is the last Syd Barrett's song to appear on a Pink Floyd album, Corporal Clegg is the first Waters lyric with political contents. Remember a Day and See Saw are two of the first three songs written by Wright...

Without taking into account the excellent "More", that's a soundtrack and has a different personal story, this is the album that will be followed by Ummagumma. It's not yet the Pink Floyd's new deal. They are searching for a new identity. Also Ummagumma will be a moment of transition. It's with Meddle that the Waters era begins.

Here we have an overall very good album with at least two long tracks that will remain in the band's history like Set The Controls and the title track, but the rest is still immature. Not a masterpiece, then, but it deserves 4 full stars.

Report this review (#341430)
Posted Friday, December 3, 2010 | Review Permalink
3 stars Syd Barrett left the band during this record's early recordings and was replaced by David Gilmour, leaving the new incarnation of the group to finish it off. This one takes me right back to my youth. I listened to it many years before I'd heard all of "Piper At The Gates of Dawn".

I love Richard Wright's "Remember a Day". Great lyrics about the wonder of a child's mind. Another favourite is "Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun". A longer rendtion of this was played on live at Pompei and a different version of the eleven-and-a-half-minute instrumental opus "A Saucerful of Secrets" also featured on the same live set. These early recordings should be in a Pink Floyd collection.

"Corporal Clegg" is a likeable song showing the band didn't always take themselves seriously and Wright's "See-Saw" is a lovely floating, dreamy song too. Barrett's "Jugband Blues" provided a nice closer. This is a good little album for your collection. 3.5 stars.

Report this review (#394293)
Posted Friday, February 4, 2011 | Review Permalink
3 stars This is the beginning of the band's wilderness years. Syd would leave the group partway through the recording of the album (he plays on only three tracks, and only sings on Jugband Blues - the only composition of his on the album), but even before his departure it was clear that he could no longer provide the band with the leadership and songwriting focus he had previously managed to exert. Without Syd's vision guiding them, the band found themselves adrift, and it would be several albums before they hit on the artistic direction - Waters-dominated concept albums balancing spacey moods with emotionally insightful lyrics - which would ultimately sustain them until The Wall.

Roger Waters and Richard Wright step into the songwriting breach with three and two songs respectively; Waters' Let There Be More Light and Set the Controls For the Heart of the Sun are two psych-space classics which show an impressive command of atmosphere, whilst Corporal Clegg - as with Take Up Thy Stethoscope and Walk on the last album - shows that Waters just doesn't do "whimsical" nearly as well as Barrett. As far as Wright's contributions go, both Remember a Day and See-Saw have a placid and somewhat sunny mood but feel lightweight and forgettable when set next to Waters' work. The standout track by far is the group composition A Saucerful of Secrets, which stands as proof that the post-Barrett band had managed to gel as a performing and songwriting unit with exceptional speed.

As for Jugband Blues itself, its inclusion on the album must have been a tough call for the remaining members, pointing as it does both to the direction Syd's solo work would take, but also to the isolation and personal disintegration which Syd was undergoing and which would continue until he finally burned out. There's also a mild accusatory tone to it ("It's awfully nice of you to think of me here...") which must have made for uncomfortable listening for the band. At the end of the day I thin they must get points for honesty and for picking the most coherent and fitting Barrett track from the time period to include on the album (Vegetable Man or Scream Thy Last Scream would not have fitted the tone of the rest of the album)... but as far as Barrett compositions go, it's probably my least favourite, lacking the coherence of his earlier work or the stripped-back and simple charm of his solo material.

At the end of the day, A Saucerful of Secrets shows the band doing a good job of salvaging a terrible situation. Yes, the atmosphere is a bit up and down; Corporal Clegg is a discordant "clang" in the middle of what is otherwise a spacey, peaceful album whose louder moments come as crescendos that are gradually built up to rather than leaping out and startling the listener (as Clegg does). But at the end of the day it's a better album than anyone had any right to expect from them at the time. I don't think it ranks amongst their classics - it's just a little too patchy for that - but it is good enough to be worth a listen. A three star album with some four-star moments.

Report this review (#448975)
Posted Tuesday, May 17, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars The first with David Gilmour. After "Piper At the Gates of Dawn" Syd was not functioning well. So they called in an old friend, David. This album shows a new direction they were wanting to move to. Syd's songs were much more fantasy like songs. Roger on the other hand was wanting to make things abit more complex than that. The opening song "Let There be More Light" is a trippy song, but the music and lyrics add up to make a very good song.

1. Let There be More Light, Rating: 8/10 2. Remember a Day, Richard Wright has alot of vocals on this album. He sings on the opening track as well. It's a nice, friendly song. Rating: 7/10 3. Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun, Roger Waters' first true great song. This is my favorite track of the album. It's psychedelic, but still there's a progressive sound to it as well. Rating: 10/10 4. Corporal Clegg, This is a very strange song, but it's one of my favorites. David and Rick sing, but Nick finally has a couple of lines in this song to sing. This track also has a gazoo solo in it. Rating: 9/10 5. A Saucerful of Secrets, This is the big one. It's filled with wild sounds with cymbals and guitar effects. It's a lengthy instrumental that ends with a great choir vocals. Rating: 10/10 6. See Saw, Richard does another friendly tune, but this one is not quite as good. It's a good song, but this is just not one that stands out above the others. Rating: 5/10 7. Jugband Blues, Syd finally comes to sing. This is his last song for Pink Floyd. I know after this album was made some of the band members helped Syd with his solo work. This is a very interesting song. It has a brass section in the middle to close to the end. Rating: 7/10

On the Pompeii dvd, there is a great performance of "A Saucerful of Secrets" which to me is even better than the studio version. There is also a great performace of "Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun" on the same dvd. Over all rating for the album 4 stars.

Report this review (#460791)
Posted Monday, June 13, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars a little gem - thats how i would describe A Saucerful of Secrets. at less than 40 minutes, it would have to be masterful for Floyd's shortest album...and it was.

combining Syd Barrett's charming, yet-crazy outlook with pseudo-psychedlia, it sets the standards for Floyd's early poppy-psychedelic rock sound.

it catches your attention right from the opening bass riffs of Let There Be More Light running into the Barrett-like nursery rhyme verse...

Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun sounds great on the original but you've got to listen to the version on Umma Gumma or Earl's Court to understand the full potential of the sounds created on this one.

and the title track, A Saucerful of Secrets...boy! creativity at its superlative best. winding its way from the haunting, almost silent intro through the almost-regular song middle section and exploding in the closing minutes with Gilmour's soloing and Waters' banshee wails. again, listen to the live Umma Gumma version and you'll find this fabulous song sounding (unbelievably) even more mind-blowing...

Report this review (#473447)
Posted Friday, July 1, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars To me, this album is fantastic and really shows us that they can be trippy without Barret even though he's still there...barely. The opening Let There Be More Light is a great opener and does lead off a great album with other fantastic songs like Remember a Day, Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun (Roger Waters first moment of shine in songwriting), and the title track. Overall, this is a great album to me and is the only studio album to feature all 5 members of the floyd. great album 5 stars. Highlights: Let There Be More Light, Remember a Day, Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun, Corporal Clegg, A Saucerful of Secrets, See Saw and Jugband Blues.
Report this review (#473579)
Posted Friday, July 1, 2011 | Review Permalink
Conor Fynes
2 stars 'A Saucerful Of Secrets' - Pink Floyd (4/10)

Now, I have never been too big on the music of Pink Floyd, despite rightfully acknowledging that they have a few masterpieces to call their own. Moreover, they made one of the greatest debuts that ever came out of the groundbreaking '60s, and 'The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn' may even be my most listened-to Floyd album. As tragic a downfall as any other rock star's however, original Floyd frontman Syd Barrett would start breaking down under the pressures of the newly found stardom, becoming one of the most enduring examples of an 'acid casualty'. With the integrity of their leading man compromised, Pink Floyd were somewhat scattered, and this really reflects on their second full-length album, 'A Saucerful Of Secrets'.

While integral to the development of the band past their original pop roots, I cannot help but feel that 'A Saucerful Of Secrets' pales in comparison to the quirky charm of the debut. While 'The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn' carried the same sense of British warmth and eccentricity throughout, this album is much more evidently the work of several opposing forces. Syd Barrett would now be sharing the reins here with their newly admitted David Gilmour - brought in to help the band from sinking- and it almost sounds here like each member had a different idea of where they wanted to go with the album. There are some poppier songs here that sound like they are trying to continue the psych-pop legacy of 'Piper' such as Barrett's 'Jugband Blues' or Waters' Barrett-soundalike piece 'Corporal Clegg'. On the other side of the spectrum, there is the title track, which is not so much a composition here as it is a sweeping soundscape of eerie feedback and sound effects.

While I may have thought I would prefer another album of Barrett-led psych-pop, the songs here that follow that route feel like shadows; miles away from the great melodic sensibility and spacey vibe of 'Piper'. The soundscapes and more spacey moments on the album are actually much better done all things considered. The only two songs here that are much memorable are 'Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun' and the title track, even though they can get a little monotonous. The rest of the stuff here is cut between banal spacey effects and rather uninspired songwriting, and don't get me started about that forsaken kazoo on 'Corporal Clegg'.

Report this review (#489632)
Posted Saturday, July 23, 2011 | Review Permalink
3 stars Not much to add here besides of my own personal impressions of Pink Floyd's second album.

Barrett had departed together with their manager, who did the worst career move possible. Gilmour was in though and this became the Pink Floyd lineup for the next ten albums or so.

This album is a mix of spaced out pop with and avant garde stuff inbetween. The title track for example. The spaced out pop tracks is by far the best ones here whilst the avant garde stuff falls a bit short.

This is an OK album, but far from their best. Pink Floyd had two merely good first albums and two merely good final albums. This one falls into the merely good albums category. Under doubt.....

3 stars

Report this review (#516418)
Posted Tuesday, September 6, 2011 | Review Permalink
Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
4 stars Okay, Pink Floyd. For your second album, you will be, for the most part, without your songwriter/guitarist/leader and your manager. You will bring in the guitarist that you've had warming up in the bullpen for the past season. And you'll try to make a successful album. How does that sound?

It sounds great!

While Syd Barrett had his talents, but his erratic behavior was a distraction. So by letting him go, the rest of the band was allowed to flourish, and imprint more of themselves on the music.

From the start the music has a darker feel. And while Barrett's sonic experiments were unique, the sounds used here mesh better into the music (let's not mention the kazoos, however).

Highlights are the eerie Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun and A Saucerful Of Secrets.

Now, as for the single Barrett-penned tune on the album, Jugband Blues. It seems to be a bittersweet farewell to the band. With lyrics like: "It's awfully considerate of you to think of me here. And I'm much obliged to you for making it clear That I'm not here." And "And I'm grateful that you threw away my old shoes And brought me here instead dressed in red And I'm wondering who could be writing this song."

He seems to be resigned to his departure, while not entirely happy about it. But in the long run, it was our gain.

Report this review (#585076)
Posted Friday, December 9, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars Oo-ooh, a donut. Oh, yes, this record is good. It's got some outstanding moments that really outweigh its flaws.

I have three personal favorites here, out of which I can't choose my biggest favorite. The dark, moody, and melodic 'Remember a Day' and the sun-shining-bright, moody, and melodic 'See-Saw' are equally capable of acting on my deepest senses, and I don't need drugs for that. I'd rather save my brain cells for something else.

The title track, obviously, is dated, but there was a time when those abrasive cases of instrumental abuse were working on me. Since it's the finale of the track, 'Celestial Voices', that got me into the idea of music, don't you think it's worth checking out? The combination of the organ and the vocal parts is just too pure to be called with a dirty, though complimentary, word. The funny thing is that I have just noticed the presence of the Mellotron as I'm listening to this track and writing this review. They certainly didn't need Ron Geesin here, that's for sure.

Allow me to mention two more numbers here. 'Jugband Blues' is a Syd Barrett number with dreamy lyrics, a Brit-folky feel, a loose form, and some tripped-out combo of brass orchestration with instrumental and vocal parts mistreated on tape. I personally found this kind of mistreatment much spookier than the aural horror of King Crimson's 'The Mincer'. I wish I could write something as effective as 'Jugband Blues', only not sounding like it. What a dummy I was when I gave this song three stars on my Windows Media Player.

The other number to be expanded on here is the song that opens up the simplistic, and yet at the same time sick and twisted, world of Roger Waters, who is still getting over the loss of his father (or maybe he gave up that idea). 'Corporal Clegg' features a repetitive imitation of Jimi Hendrix with a really tight guitar tone, a vocal harmony with an original timbre, and a parody on the combat march music. This guy Waters surely sounds very serious about the subject matter.

Ratings/comments (if you have to ask):

1. 'Let There Be More Light' - ***

2. 'Remember a Day' - *****

3. 'Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun' - **

4. 'Corporal Clegg' - ***

5. 'A Saucerful of Secrets' - *****

6. 'See-Saw' - *****

7. 'Jugband Blues' - ****

Stamp: "I like it."

Report this review (#613974)
Posted Friday, January 20, 2012 | Review Permalink
4 stars Not essential, but pretty darn good.

Not much wrong with this album. Seeing as I much prefer Floyd's psychedelic period to their later sound, I love this album. However, I think the album aspect of the album is holding it back. Listen to any live version of Set the Controls or Saucerful of Secrets from 1969-1970, and you will see what I mean. They rocked live, but are rather mellow on the album.

Besides those two, the rest of the album is good, with See-Saw the only song I don't really like. Most of the songs have a great groovy, mellow quality to them, giving the album a really trippy sound.

Overall, it's not as essential as Atom Heart Mother, but it certainly is a great addition to anyone's collection, especially for space/psychedelic fans.


Report this review (#630005)
Posted Saturday, February 11, 2012 | Review Permalink
5 stars I've always regarded A Saucerful of Secrets to be a classic psychedelic rock album, with a lot of variety of sounds and writing approaches, and a very progressive album structure. There's "Jugband Blues", another totally unique Syd Barrett song that sounds almost nothing like anything on The Piper At the Gates of Dawn, the opening "Let There Be More Light", with its exciting ride cymbal and bass propulsion that gives way to a laid back, stony verse/dramatic blast chorus alternation, "Corporal Clegg", a Waters song that shows he had a penchant for wittilly and effectively speaking out against war early on, two very memorable Wright songs ("Remember a Day" and "See-Saw") that both serve as great examples of his sombre, and vivid style that alawys seemed to vary just slightly with each song, and the title track, a highly spacey instrumental, and the beginning of a long string of extended compositions by the band that would merge improvisational atmospheres with deceptively complex writing structures that probably served as wonderful accompaniments to head trips for many new to the psychedelic scene in the 60's and early 70's. I would imagine they'd probably still serve as that today as well. David Gilmour's guitar style has evolved very gracefully through Pink Floyd's and his solo career, and at this point, he sounds very much like Syd Barrett, employing chillingly similar delay and reverb shapes and spacey slide freak-outs, as he was supposedly meant to be a direct replacement for him on stage and learned all the orginal parts for the songs on the first album, but there are some places where he sounds like no one else, including himself on any other albums, like the extremely loud wailing explosions in "Corporal Clegg," and legendarily speaking, both Gilmour and Barrett played on the hypnotic and suspensefully quiet "Set the Controls For the Heart of the Sun." Rick Wright had also grown as a keyboardist, adding delicate and symphonic piano runs and some very cool warped effects to some of the organ parts. Norman Smith's excellently psych production heightens the expeirence of all of these sounds, and even though the band is said to resent the space rock label often given to them, their second album is one of the greatest in the genre. It is also here that Pink Floyd start to make use of their supply of multiple lead vocalists, a strength that would be a defining characterstic for them for the duration of their discography.
Report this review (#676539)
Posted Thursday, March 22, 2012 | Review Permalink
1 stars Saucerful of Secrets is the second and last album with Syd Barrett still in the band. Like the previous, this album is especially psychedelic and experimental. But this also sees the departure of some of Barrett's happy and English idiosyncrasies that flowed through Piper. As a result, this is much more serious and darker of an album. Whether or not this is good or bad I'm not sure of, as I'm simply not a fan of the Barett-led Pink Floyd.

'Let There Be More Light' has the psychedelic feel and the beginning is great, but the rest of the song is prone to the same annoying noodling that plagued Piper.

'Remember A Day' has some nice relaxing vocal melodies from Syd, but is otherwise uninteresting.

'Set the Control For the Heart of the Sun' is another psychedelic song. It's relaxing and atmospheric, but still nothing special.

'Corporal Clegg' sounds similar to Sgt. Peppers, except this hurts my ears. A kazoo is innovative I guess, but annoying.

The title track is a complete mess just like 'Interstellar Overdrive' was on Piper. It's just annoying noodling that does nothing for these ears.

'See-Saw' and 'Jugband Blues' are closer in the style of Piper, being upbeat and happy. But again, these are nothing special.

The only good thing about this album is the fact that its Barrett's last. Sorry to be harsh, but this is not the Floyd I know and love.


Report this review (#771359)
Posted Friday, June 15, 2012 | Review Permalink
4 stars Animprovement in comparison to their debut. And even thought there's huge debates and opinions about which album is the first true prog album, I'll say its this one. The sound is experimental but it is in a way that it ends up being rather well achieved and the band is clearly in better control of their output. Its better achieved in both musical taste and mixing which even though it's still not perfect, it's considerably better than the debut.

It also marks the end of the Syd era, to be honest, this isn't a Syd album, many Floyd fans who love the man might disagree, but both the input and filter of Barrett are gone. Making it sound much less psychedelic and more progressive in pretty much all forms possible. Going a song at the time:

Let There be More Light - Nice simple bass intro, the instruments work well and are in the right places and overall it helps telling the small fantasy story. While Wright sings well in this one Gilmour is still a bit off, showing he still wasn't well integrated in the band. Unfortunately it loses steam right before the end and this song is poor outside of the album, because it doesn't have much structure, you can notice this easily in its rare live versions. [Good]

Remember a Day - Unappealing at the beginning with it's somewhat atonic approach it turns into a great song right before the vocals kick in, again Wright does his job well, both in writing, playing and singing. [Good]

Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun - Good songwriting and great hypnotic melody, sound quite eastern but still sounds as only an european band playing something influenced by egyptian scales. This is one of those songs that after a few tours ended up sounding better live. [Good]

Corporal Clegg - The guitar is harsher and the kazoos come in hand, they're the cheap way to achieve a military march brass sound. And it is also the only song where we get to hear Mason singing instead of the also few occasions where he talked. It fits the mood of the song perfectly. The lyrics are satiric and critical. [Good]

A Saucerful of Secrets - The most Avant-Garde track in the set. Still it has a clear structure and is very well achieved in this department. Unfortunately this one live like Set the Controls of the Heart of the Sun sounds better, but in this case not only it sounds better, this one was much improved in live versions. [Neutral]

See-Saw - The only song I think that suffers from the not yet great mixing, it's not a bad song, and has a decent mood. Wright once again does a great job on everything that was asked from him. The keyboards are amazing, unfortunately the vocals a bit low. [Good]

Jugband Blues - The Syd song from this album is fantastic. Not only the acoustic guitar was a good choice, the arrangements are very well placed. In a way it's a shame this was the last input from Syd because he clearly learned some tricks since his previous inputs. And yes, the kazoos are back for something completely different. [Good]

Finally to the other aspects: Music/Musicianship - Guilmour is indeed a good addition to the band and brings a breath of fresh air in the guitar department, the keyboards also seem to have been used more often also giving it a more mature touch. Overall they all, including Syd do very well. [Good]

Lyrics/Vocals - Lyrically the songs are hugely improved, specially when they left Roger doing that job. Syd also does well in Jugband Blues. As far as vocals, Gilmour is the low point and Syd is the high point. [Neutral]

Concept/Structure - Even though its not a conceptual album, it sounds really tight it can be considered a case of musical conceptuality. Even though the songs don't share a concept they sound very similar but by making them the same. The timbres are close but they're very different tunes. [Good]

Effects/Arrangement - Greatly improved in this department. Now the qwirky sounds are used when needed and are placed much more intelligently and sound pretty good. [Good]

Cover/Packaging - The cover is already what one could expect from a prog album. It's intricate and it fits the music very well, with lots of nuances. The rest is the typical deal. [Good]

Report this review (#826771)
Posted Sunday, September 23, 2012 | Review Permalink
4 stars i always classified the discography of PINK FLOYD in eras, first the Barrett's era (Piper), then the Pink Floyd era (more-animals), the waters era (the wall-final cut), adn the Gilmour era (momentary lapse of reason and division bell). but, Saucerful, it's between the two firsts. Saucerful is the transition, the only album in the whole discography of PF in which participate the 5 musicians!!. Barrett left the band before this recording. "Let there be more light" what a fabulous piece, "Set the controls for the heart of the sun" and of course "Saucerful of secrets), the last two, had fabulous performances in the legendary concert "Pink Floyd live at Pompeii". anyway, after this, Barrett left Pink Floyd and he never come back, so the era of classic Pink Floyd (Waters, Gilmour, Mason and Wright) begins in the next album "More", but the work made in this, it's one of the most wonderful works of PF, and i had to say that (i think), this album have the better cover in the complete rock history of the world.
Report this review (#992991)
Posted Sunday, July 7, 2013 | Review Permalink
Eclectic Prog Team
3 stars As far as Pink Floyd's psychedelic excursions went, this one is pretty far out there.

"Let There Be More Light" A Saucerful of Secrets kicks off with that groovy psychedelic guitar riff with Rick Wright's dissonant organ. The main riff is ghoulishly maladroit, dragging the melody alongside it.

"Remember a Day" One of Pink Floyd's many psychedelic acoustic pieces, this one firmly rooted in the 1960s style. Wright trades out the organ for a feathery piano, a contrast to Nick Mason's aggressive (well, aggressive for him) drumming.

"Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun" The moodiest and most dismal, "Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun" is a shadowy journey of both repetition and evolution. The steady bass mimics the melody, adding its own touches, while enigmatic sounds pour forth.

"Corporal Clegg" Excepting the refrain, this song is an exercise in playful silliness.

"A Saucerful of Secrets" One of Pink Floyd's eeriest pieces, this was the soundtrack in 2012 for my trip to a little Halloween party. Creepy keyboard passages strive against one another in the first four minutes, while thudding drums, screeching guitar, and inharmonious piano banging. Eventually the piece settles into melodious bass and organ droning. The avant-garde nature of this piece is unrivaled by anything in the Pink Floyd studio discography, excepting Ummagumma.

"See-Saw" Soporifically beautiful, this song shows the untapped potential of the late Rick Wright, both as a writer and as a vocalist (Wright is my favorite Pink Floyd singer).

"Jugband Blues" It's another goofy tune, this one penned by the unpredictable Syd Barrett. It's a disjointed thing. I never was a Barrett fan, I never thought he was a genius, and Pink Floyd were better off without his antics.

Report this review (#1018992)
Posted Wednesday, August 14, 2013 | Review Permalink
3 stars 3.5 stars. Certainly one of the more underrated Floyd albums. Not a patch on the debut but still worth checking out. Only one of the songs is written by Syd Barrett this time. That song is the haunting "Jugband Blues". The ending always gives me chills. This is more space rock oriented than the last one.

"Let There Be More Light", Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun", and the title song are all spaced out jams. They seem to have more freedom to play around. This can be a good thing and a bad thing. One one hand, you have "Remember A Day"; on the other hand, "Corporal Clegg". "See-Saw" is a beautiful song by Richard Wright. It makes you wonder what the band would be like if he had more control over it. I know he wrote "The Great Gig In The Sky" but it seems like he was ignored by the group, especially Roger.

The first studio appearance of David Gilmour and the last studio appearance of Syd Barrett makes this the only Pink Floyd album with all 5 members. Set the controls for the heart of this recording.

Report this review (#1086768)
Posted Saturday, December 7, 2013 | Review Permalink
4 stars The one and only P.F as a 5 piece band album arrived in '68. The fact that this was a transitional and confusing period, with Barrett in and out and the band unable to stay sober even for one evening was not reflected in the music, for some mysterious reason. In fact, ''Saucerful...'' has to be considered as PINK FLOYD's first brilliant album. Waters take a leading role and Gilmour, though a new member contributes the maximum by sweetening the rough edges of their music. The band becomes a bit darker, more sophisticated, with a more personalized sound, more aware of their talents. This new character is mainly perceived through the album's two epics: ''Set the controls...'' and the album's title track are two majestic moments in P.F discography, dark, mystical, adventurous and intriguing, with chilling atmospheres, tremendous melodies and unpredictable nature. The band had progressed very much and very quickly since their debut, both in songwriting and orchestration areas. Waters starts to unravel his composing skills, neither so light nor as surreal as Barrett's but heavier in mood and more carefully driven to the paths of experimentation. All the other songs are pretty good too: beautiful melodies, clear arrangements, space and psychedelic vibes all around. Syd's swan song with P.F is a Saucerful of secrets indeed, getting closer to the possibility of a masterpiece. 86/100
Report this review (#1175172)
Posted Wednesday, May 14, 2014 | Review Permalink
4 stars Pink Floyd was probably my first real foray outside of heavy metal though I still looked for heavy guitars as heard in parts of 'The Wall' and 'Animals'. Having an interest in music of the late sixties, one of the earlier Floyd albums to enter my collection was 'A Saucerful of Secrets'. Released in 1968, this was the second Pink Floyd album and notable for being the first to feature David Gilmour and the last to include material penned by the madcap, Mr. Syd Barrett, as the album's recording actually began in 1967 while Barrett was still a contributing member. Barrett appears on the tracks 'Remember a Day', 'Jugband Blues' and 'Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun'.

The album sees the band moving ahead, focusing more on darker, seriously-themed music with the childlike quality in the lyrics and playful approach to the music relegated to only a song or two. There is also one long experimental piece in the title track.

Side one of the album is in my view the more enjoyable, all four songs being of interest. The first track, 'Let There Be More Light' is in two parts, beginning with a rather quick bass line and rapidly developing into a space rock instrumental with Richard Wright's keyboards providing eerie tones that at times seem a little improvised as though he was asked to record them while listening to the backing track for the first time. The music then slows down for the song part and the vocals are shared by Wright and Gilmour. The song winds down with a guitar solo by Gilmour. The article on Wikipedia delves into the lyrics, describing the many references.

'Remember a Day' and 'Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun' are both slow songs, the former featuring some pretty piano work by Wright but also some eerie, spacey slide guitar work by Gilmour who creates some very high tones in a psychedelic approach to slide guitar playing. The drumming picks up pace throughout the verses of the song but the vocals by Wright are still soothing and soft. The song looks back on childhood. 'Set the Controls' develops the haunting space theme further, slowing down to a mysterious and almost unsettling journey through the unknown. Nick Mason's percussion here is based on a repeated rhythm of light drumming and cymbal crashes while Richard Wright provides eerie tones.

The mood lifts for the final track, 'Corporal Clegg', a Water's song that begins his war themed lyrics. The song is more guitar-oriented with very sharp and harsher sounds. It's about a retired war veteran whose career is actually not as esteemed as he makes it out to be, with his one medal being something he found in the zoo (metaphor?). The song becomes very cacophonic near the end as a slowed down polka theme is gradually layered with more and more sound effects and voices. The whole mess reaches an abrupt conclusion.

The title track opens side two and is in three parts. It is a long experimental piece with lots of Floydian psychedelia. Though it has its moments, I personally find this uninspiring and a bit of a chore to get through. As my musical tastes evolve I come back to this track from time to time to see if I can understand it better; however, to this day I still find little to appreciate. It does indicate, though, the direction the band would take for 'Ummagumma', so if that's your preference then you'll possibly enjoy 'A Saucerful of Secrets'.

Interestingly, I read that someone called the next track, 'See Saw' the most boring song in the history of rock. I have always liked it even back in my high school days. Richard Wright's soothing vocals and the pretty piano cascades appeal to me and I also like how the innocence of a song of non-innocence is maintained by the naivety of the lyrics and musical theme which only occasionally drops suddenly into a darker theme with a crash, only to return to the prettier sounds once again.

The final track is Syd Barrett's only contribution to the song writing and this is obvious because of the rather bizarre lyrics. 'It's awfully considerate of you to think of me here and I'm much obliged to you for making it clear that I'm not here.' Barrett was no doubt referring to how the band was keeping him as a member but beginning to make decisions about the band without him. 'And I'm grateful to you for throwing away my old shoes and brought me here instead dressed in red.'

The music is typical of Barrett's playful themes with a joyous phrase of la-la-las and some jaunty brass band music played by a Salvation Army band. The music, however, soon becomes an adventure in crossing sounds of repeated la-la-las to inserts of guitar effects, fade ins and outs of brass band music in a different key and other effects. The final segment of the song is a strummed acoustic guitar and Barrett's closing lines 'And the sea isn't green / And I love the queen / And what exactly does it mean / And what exactly is a joke'. This final part is reminiscent of music that would later appear on the album 'Opel'.

As I said above, for me the best of the music is on side one with 'See Saw' having its charms and 'Jug Band Blues' having its moments as well. The title track remains too far outside of my music appreciation capabilities though I respect that the band was eager to try this. I do prefer this album over most of Floyd's pre-'Meddle' days and I give it four stars for being mostly enjoyable while also creative.

Report this review (#1328680)
Posted Thursday, December 25, 2014 | Review Permalink
siLLy puPPy
PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams
4 stars After a debut album dominated by frontman Syd Barrett, PINK FLOYD's second release A SAUCERFUL OF SECRETS remains unique, mysterious and strange in not only their own discography but in musical history as well. First of all, it was created in the midst of Barrett's emotional breakdown which left the band to fend for itself and literally reinvent itself in the process. It is very much a transitional album that ushered in David Gilmour while still having Barrett on board. The result of all this turmoil makes this album feel like a grab bag of different sounds and moods and if you approach this as such instead of a full-fledged album that is coherent in nature then you might appreciate it more. It also has the only track in the band's career that features all five members of the band's history on "Set Controls For The Heart Of The Sun" where both Barrett and Gilmour cross paths for a brief moment in time to create a fleeting musical experience.

Like the debut "Pipers At The Gates Of Dawn" this one was a slow burner and didn't really hit me upon first listen but i continued to listen to it because a few tracks stuck out more than others. Like much progressive music it needs to incubate in your subconscious before unleashing its magic. Such is the case with this album as well. This album overall is still very much rooted in the very popular 60s psychedelic pop / rock scene but as with most PINK FLOYD music it has an extra oomph and panache that adds small almost imperceivable layers of sophistication to its final mix.

The tracks vary widely on this one ranging from the upbeat guitar riff oriented intro with psych organ which breaks into the mid tempo lugubriousness "Let There Be More Light" which flows perfectly into the following "Remember A Day" with its cool guitar slide action and piano followed by a groovy 60s riff in tandem with the intro about mourning and loss. "Set The Controls..." is unique in that it has some seriously rolling drum action that accompanies its downer effect. The out of place tracks of "Corporal Klegg" and "Jugband Blues" kinda go together in that they are more upbeat and semi-folky with kazoos and bring 30s Dixieland jazz bands to mind more than anything 60s but for me the true treasure of this album is the space-age bizarre title track that to this day still gives me shivers when i hear it. It really feels like a close encounter of some kind where the aliens are beaming down a musical pattern to help humans decipher certain patterns in the universe aiding us in avoiding self-destruction.

As stated, this album is really a mess if taken as an album, but as a collection of single tracks i have REALLY grown to like this. This dystopian in nature album perfectly coincides with that of the world in 1968 when astrologically and culturally the world was going through a serious upheaval in every possible way. In the world of popular music it was no different as evidenced by this strange second album by PINK FLOYD that couldn't have been created by sheer planning. Despite loving their 70s output i really find myself gravitating towards their 60s albums more often. Even though i wasn't around to experience the glorious 60s in their heyday nothing transports me there more quickly than a sonic exposure to a PINK FLOYD album in their full psychedelic regalia. An acquired taste for sure but if you do indeed get a hankering for such a sound then this album takes you on a wilder ride than even their debut which i find to be a much more consistent experience.

Report this review (#1341452)
Posted Wednesday, January 7, 2015 | Review Permalink
Prog Sothoth
Prog Metal Team
5 stars Even after decades, A Saucerful of Secrets remains my favorite Pink Floyd album. I'm not saying it's their best, but it resonates with me the most and the strange aura hovering over this thing is purely authentic. A band in turmoil, with its leader losing his mind and a second guitarist and longtime friend of the leader moving in while other members contribute more writing in the process while dealing with a chaotic situation. The album is like a document of this dark and stressful period of the band, atmospheric with a fog overlaying everything. I love it.

The murky production provides a strong element of eeriness to the whole album, even transmogrifying a piece of whimsy like "Corporal Clegg" into something strange with a weird undertone. The way the tune ends, after the kazoo gang finishes, confusion and chaotic noise ending with what sounds like a siren before abrupt nothingness. It's the first of Water's fixation on war, and takes a satirical approach rather than a serious tone. The kazoo's are part of this satire, but without them we're dealing with some pretty nifty acid rock to my ears.

"Let There Be More Light" is a strong opener with it's desperate kicking bass-line leading into unabashed psychedelic space rock with some cool guitars closing the song. "Set The Controls For the Heart of the Sun" is the most well-known of this batch, featuring all five members in that rarest of moments, creating what clearly sounds like a strong influence on the emerging krautrock scene. Tribal drums, repetitive motifs and a loose jam-like feel with gloomy overtones, it's quite a little adventure and remains as one of their most haunting offerings.

The two Wright penned numbers are noteworthy as well. Songs about childhood memories and the loss of innocence, the production does wonders for these two buggers, imbibing the pastoral instrumentation with the aforementioned fog, turning a song like "See-Saw" into an almost ghostly thing. I always picture some 19th century playground with a see-saw moving up and down on its some pulpy gothic tale. It's lyrically interesting as well, with possible references to Syd's childhood sweetheart, as she was getting married around the time this song was penned. Speaking of Syd, his slide guitar playing during "Remember a Day" adds a sense of creepiness to what would otherwise be a pleasant enough tune (minus the production which "drears" things up a bit) with some kickin' drumwork.

The title track is in three parts, with the first part being ominous and foreboding, the second being wild and, in a way, just plain nuts, and the third being tranquil. It really is like some kind of strange flying saucer ride. Quite experimental, and sometimes I'm just not in the mood for it, but it's still hard to skip and I eventually get sucked in each time.

"Jugband Blues", in my opinion, is the most haunting of them all and one of the band's best songs as it describes a man losing touch with reality, his friends and those he loves in such a personal way that's uncanny and even heart-wrenching. There's a sense of resignment to Syd's losing battle with dementia as he sings this tune, and even the jaunty sections are disturbing. I dig the use of the Salvation Army Band as well, contributing first with a written piece, then towards the song's end, the big-band music returns like some monstrous calamity as if their instruments had been swiped and performed by escaped sanitarium dwellers. A perfect depiction of a mind before and after the breaking point. The song and the album conclude with Syd's distant voice and soft guitar strumming, a perfect, sorrowful yet enigmatic conclusion.

This album to me has a personal vibe that's completely earnest in approach, as it doesn't feel calculated. Hell, the band weren't even sure what they were doing at times or whether they should even continue to exist, giving this release an unusual sense of urgency and uncertainty while still providing lots of good ole' trippiness. It's dark though, maybe their darkest, and works in a different way than their celebrated 70's heyday stuff, as it's not about the dark side of things, but a representation of people in a dark place trying to find their way out.

Report this review (#1370545)
Posted Thursday, February 19, 2015 | Review Permalink
4 stars Saucerful of Secrets is an album that quite effectively summarizes its contents in the title. Many hidden Pink Floyd gems are contained on this album. Syd Barrett, at the peak of his insanity, only gets to sing on one song on this album, which is almost completely opposite of their first. Waters and Wright step up to the plate to serve us this near perfect dish of Prog Psych Salad. Picking standout tracks on this album is like picking which one of my children is my favorite. I don't have any children but I imagine it would be a hard choice. (Bet you didn't expect that cliche to turn into an unfunny joke that is completely unrelated to the discussion at hand). Though the band seemed to be in a bit of turmoil at the time, this album shines through, with its themes of war, insanity, and cosmic beings. Most of these topics would be revisited by the Floyd in later albums, so in a way, this album is one of their most influential. While a little rough around the edges production-wise, this album remains one of my favorites and an underrated classic. The album doesn't really contain enough material to warrant a perfect 5/5 rating, but its an amazing effort that should not be overlooked by any self-respecting Prog fan.

Final Rating: 4/5

Best Tracks: Set the Controls.../ Title Track

Worst Tracks: See-Saw (not really bad, just weaker than the rest of the album)

Report this review (#1681940)
Posted Wednesday, January 18, 2017 | Review Permalink
3 stars Innovative and Experimental.

While mixed in quality, Saucerful is a key album in the development of rock music. While this might also be true for a number of historical classics, Saucerful is different for being so experimental and off-the-wall. After Syd Barrett left (or was kicked out) of the band, Floyd had a few tunes lying around and sought to use them for their next album. These included Rick Wright's pieces "Remember a Day" and "See Saw", as well as one they had already (thankfully) recorded with Syd, "Jugband Blues". But they didn't have enough material. So, they experimented in the studio. The result produced not only some great new tunes (the wonderful opener "Let there be More Light" and "Corporal Clegg" included), but two of Floyd's now-iconic early compositions, "Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun" and the title track "Saucerful of Secrets". The latter is my favourite on this album. It takes sounds that even now might not be considered 'music' and mixes them into a wonderful collage of sound that moves one from chaos, through ordered chaos, to beauty. Even today, I don't think there is really any piece like it, and certainly I have not heard of any contemporary bands recording music like this. This song in particular opened up so many new musical possibilities - it made it possible to improvise beyond keys or time signatures (even more than did Ornette Coleman in jazz), and to use musique concrete to fashion a new kind of sound. While I am sure that other musicians would (and did) come to similar discoveries on their own, without even hearing this album, it is this piece that best captures the spirit of modernity at this point in musical history. Of course, the title track is only one among many, and the rest of the pieces are mixed, and the whole album has to be considered in its totality. And even Saucerful, and Set the Controls, are found in better versions on later live albums (such as Ummagumma). So, as an objective rating, I can only give this album 6.9 out of 10 on my 10-point scale, which translates to mid 3 PA stars. But for me that title track is so essential.

Report this review (#1695842)
Posted Wednesday, February 22, 2017 | Review Permalink
3 stars Considering the fact that most of this album is recorded after Syd's departure, and that the band generally struggled to find a direction with the new Gilmour lineup, I think A Saucerful of Secrets is a surprisingly homogeneous album. Most of it continues where The Piper at the Gates of Dawn left, so we have a lot of dreamy moods and spacy sound effects.

Now obviuosly this album can not entirely live up the debut album as neither Richard Wright and Roger Waters can manage to write in the same style as Syd Barrett, on the same level that is. Consequently, only Syd's sole song on the album, "Jugband Blues", truly contains the odd mix of quirkiness and melancholy that for instance Wright compositions like "Remember a Day" and "See-Saw" try to emulate. However, these songs are absolutely not bad, and especially "Remember a Day" sounds bright with its drumbeat.

"Corporal Clegg", while not the most well written song from a musical point of view, is not as bad as many people seem to think. It is obviously mocking militarism with lines such as "Corporal Clegg had a medal too, in orange read and blue, he found it in the zoo". The title track is the album's equivalent to "Interstellar Overdrive" from the debut, but though it is well crafted, I think it lacks "Interstellar"'s hypnotic intensity. I am undecided about the opening track, "Let There Be More Light".

The best song is clearly "Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun" with its somehow Arab flavour (f.e. using the lower second note in the melody and instrumental riff (f.e. on "set the conTROLS")

Report this review (#2113977)
Posted Thursday, January 3, 2019 | Review Permalink
4 stars 3.5 The second album of Pink Floyd and also being the only one having the 5 member of the band, including syd Barret and Gilmour. After the departure of Syd, Roger waters took the lead and wrote almost all the song. It is a good album, however inconsistent in general, it has really good songs like set the controls, jugband blues and let be more light, and others that are good but doesn't stand out. Set the controls is the only song where all the members are playing together. Jugband blues is the song wrote and sung by himself, and it is like the good bye song for him and also it maintain his deep meaning surreal style. The rest of the album the band still looking to find his style, experimenting, and sometimes it sounds like they are trying to mimic the syd pshyc style that band had. I considered it a good album, and although it is not perfect, it is a nice to hear record.
Report this review (#2114906)
Posted Friday, January 4, 2019 | Review Permalink
4 stars 7.5/10

Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection

From the outset of the opening track I immediately noticed a significant improvement in Pink Floyd's songwriting. While many consider the band's first album to be their peak in pure psychedelic rock, I actually prefer this record. It's consistently good until the last song Jugband Blues which leaves a sour taste in my mouth every time I listen to it due to the return of Syd's strange accessible psychedelic pop that plagued side two of the band's first album. Here on Saucerful you mostly find focused experimental psychedelic rock tunes like the attention grabbing opener Let There Be More Light or the atmospheric Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun. If you really want to dive into the craziness of this album look no further than the nearly twelve minute title track that is both brilliant and terrifying. Overall, A Saucerful of Secrets has plenty to offer fans of psychedelic rock and is an improvement over the band's debut album. I wouldn't say that it's a masterpiece or anything, but it's certainly an album worth owning.

Favorite Tracks: Let There Be More Light, A Saucerful of Secrets, Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun, Corporal Clegg

Least Favorite Track: Jugband Blues

Report this review (#2238355)
Posted Tuesday, July 16, 2019 | Review Permalink
4 stars Review Nº 311

After the release of their debut studio album "The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn", Pink Floyd became a popular band with many road obligations. So, it was in that moment, because the stress of life on the road and the relevant consumption of drugs, that the mental health stability of Syd Barrett as deteriorated considerably. Due to that, there was the need to join another member to the band. Then, they called the guitarist David Gilmour, a very well known guy of Syd Barrett and Roger Waters. Initially, it was expected that Syd Barrett made the compositions while David Gilmour would play at the live concerts. But, due to the deterioration of the mental health stability of Syd Barrett soon he assumed both roles.

"A Saucerful Of Secrets" is the second studio album of Pink Floyd and was released in 1968. The album has seven tracks. The first track "Let There Be More Light" written by Roger Waters is a very good way to open this album. It's a very good song that sounds very promising with a beginning of a very strong line of the bass of Roger Waters. Here we can hear, for the first time, the unmistakable sound of the guitar of David Gilmour. It's a song with a more experimental musical sound, more complex, and this is the beginning of something new on the band's sound. This is a very good song to my taste. The second track "Remember A Day" written by Richard Wright is another great song on the album. It's a song with some reminiscences of the psychedelic sound but, it has a nice and love keyboard sound of Richard Wright, besides his own voice. I like very much of this song with the brilliant piano work of Richard Wright and the nice drumming of Nick Mason. The third track "Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun" written by Roger Waters is one of the two greatest moments on this album. It's a classic song of the group and the band used it often on their early live musical performances. This is, in my opinion, the first song written by them were we can clearly see the future space sound of the band, which would appear, for the first time, on their sixth studio album "Meddle", the first album totally progressive of the group. This is, for me, the best song composed by Roger Waters in the early days of the band. The fourth track "Corporal Clegg" written also by Roger Waters has nothing to do with the previous song composed by him. It's a nice and fun psychedelic song but it's, unfortunately, more vulgar and with a much lower level of quality. This is a song with childish music and lyrics, very hilarious and strange. Sincerely, I've no problem to hear this song but it's, for me, the weakest point on the album and is its Achilles' heel. The fifth track "A Saucerful Of Secrets" written by Roger Waters, Richard Wright, David Gilmour and Nick Mason is the lengthiest song on the album and the great magnus opus of the album. It represents the other great musical moment on the album and another sign that something is going to happen with the musical direction and the sound of Pink Floyd in the near future. We can divide this song into three distinct musical moments. The first part is composed by weird noises and sounds and is dominated by the keyboard sounds. It reminds me the electronic progressive sound of Tangerine Dream and Klaus Schulze in their early days. The second part is also dominated by the keyboard sound with the weird noises and sinister sounds with the drumming and percussion on the back. The third part is also dominated by the keyboards but it's absolutely beautiful and astonishing. It shows clearly what Pink Floyd would be capable to make in the next future, and how their music can be beautiful and grandiose. The sixth track "See-Saw" written by Richard Wright is the other song written by Richard Wright, but isn't as good as "Remember A Day". Yet, this is a good and interesting song, better than "Corporal Clegg" of Roger Waters. I think we can consider it an early classic music composition of Richard Wright, very pleasant, charming and with some creativity. I also think that we can hear on it something of the future dreaming sound of the band. The seventh and last track "Jugband Blues" written by Syd Barrett is the only composition written by Syd Barrett and is also his swan song on the group that he founded. It's a very short song and it's clearly a different song from the others on the album. It's a typical Syd Barrett's song with its mysterious and eccentric lyrics and musical sound. This is also an interesting song.

Conclusion: "A Saucerful Of Secrets" is like "The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn" a great album. But, musically is a very different album. Despite have still many psychedelic musical parts, it has also, for the first time, the beginning of the fundamental elements of their future space rock sound, which only would be firmly consolidated on their sixth studio album "Meddle". "A Saucerful Of Secrets" is, in my humble opinion, a more mature musical proposal than the previous one. "A Saucerful Of Secrets" is the proof that there were two different bands, the band with Syd Barrett and the band without him. Sincerely, I don't think the main difference on the music on this album is David Gilmour but Roger Waters. It's true that we can clear hear the new guitar sound of David Gilmour on the album, but Roger Waters are the main composer on the album. I think the problems would appear with him and Syd Barrett if Syd had continued in the group.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

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Posted Tuesday, January 28, 2020 | Review Permalink

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