Meddle (CD)

Pink Floyd

Currently Unavailable

Amoeba Review

John Schacht 08/12/2010

With a howling synth gale and insistent, sinister bass pulse, Pink Floyd kicks off their sixth studio album with the punch to the gut “One of These Days,” David Gilmour’s shrieking slide guitar and a massive crescendo couching the song’s one haunting lyrical roar: “One of these days I’m going to cut you into little pieces.” As openers go, it’s a doozy, and it signaled the space rockers’ most focused effort yet, one that pointed the way toward the genius of The Dark Side of the Moon two years on. Meddle still has a transitional feel in places because the sonic ghost of Syd Barrett still haunts (as it would all the way through Roger Waters’ narrative stay with the band). That’s particularly true on the Brit folk-flavored psychedelia of “Pillow of Winds” and “San Tropez,” a jaunty, jazz-flavored number that also echoes earlier Floyd -- though Barrett’s Mad Hatter shtick has now morphed into Waters’ acerbic social commentary. Gilmour’s increased songwriting presence is heard in the lyrical ebb and swell of “Fearless,” which also features field recordings of Liverpool FC fans singing “You’ll Never Walk Alone,” and the little blues ditty “Seamus” is harmless fun if digressive. But the album’s most memorable cut is longer than the other five combined, a suite as epic as any Pink Floyd ever put to tape – which, for this band, is saying something. The 23-minute “Echoes” begins with a section of lonely sonar pings and distant synth wash, before Richard Wright’s treated keys and Gilmour’s lead guitar slowly reveal the wistful, processional theme. Waters and drummer Nick Mason are last to join, leading to the introspective and acid-blessed verses sung in tandem by Gilmour and Waters. After a couple of choruses, the iconic ascending riff takes over, blanketed in guitar textures and swirling synths. Seven minutes in, though, the beat turns funky and menacing, Wright’s wicked organ wash sparring with Gilmour’s piercing leads. Four minutes after that the song takes another radical but logical turn, going full-on deep space. Bird-howls and sonic winds signal the acid trip’s peak and its tangential relationship to reality. Wright’s organ slowly emerges from the chaos, along with the sonar ping, signaling a slow return to the theme. The pulsing bass and ascending riff reemerge as well and eventually lead the listener through to another chorus, before a crescendo that – considering everything the listener has already been through -- is simply mind-blowing in its dynamic build and gentle coda. And that’s really what Meddle, and especially its epic bookends writ small and large, told everyone: That a band this adept at dynamics would eventually corral those skills and create one of rock’s masterpieces.

Track Listing

Disc 1 Titles
One Of These Days
Pink Floyd 05:56
A Pillow Of Winds
Pink Floyd 05:13
Pink Floyd 06:08
San Tropez
Pink Floyd 03:43
Pink Floyd 02:15
Pink Floyd 23:27

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