Pink Floyd – Meddle (1971): Review

meddle

Produced by Pink Floyd
Label – Harvest/Capitol

There’s a point on the opener, “One Of These Days”, about 2 ½ minutes in, just after Nick Mason’s distorted vocal line “One of these days, I’m going to cut you into little pieces”, when Pink Floyd really start to make sense. The surging power of Mason and Roger Waters’ rhythm simply explodes from the speakers, and Dave Gilmour’s multi-tracked slide elegantly plays with the rhythms. There’s nothing original or technically gifted about the piece of music, Mason’s rhythm is standard 4/4, and Waters Bass line is a single funked up one noter, but the synthesis of the sound is astonishing. It leaps out and grabs you, slaps your face and implies that this is the culmination of all of their Space Rock promise, and deservedly predicts the shape of Floyd to come. For all their previous mis-fires, the egoist meanderings of “Ummagumma” and “Atom Heart Mother”, Pink Floyd had finally arrived on one song, and everything that follows was launched from this.

As a complete recording, “Meddle” feels like a work in progress and one’s enjoyment depends very much on the listener’s take on Side 2’s 23 minute epic instrumental “Echoes”. Undoubtedly, it’s possibly the band’s most diverse effort, and the genre changes throughout the first side lend to an air of exploratory musical aspiration that shows that the band are pinpointing the required formula by stretching themselves through differing styles.

floyd

There’s the textured love song “A Pillow Of Winds”, a Pink Floyd rarity in its intimacy. The pastoral “Fearless”, takes on an almost traditional country welcome, heightened by Gilmour’s guitar, only negatively affected by the unnecessary Liverpool Kop sound effects. “San Tropez” is a mighty departure, an acoustic lounge jazz experience written and sung by Waters, and works well as a stand alone song, but fits awkwardly with the rest of the album. Side 1 closes out with the bizarre “Seamus”, an acoustic blues number with backing vocals from Gilmour, and lead from a dog….yes a dog ! The howls, whines and whimpers are baffling to say the least, and hint that not all the anal experimentation at the cost of entertainment has left the four piece. “Echoes” pre-dates much of “Dark Side Of The Moon” in its majestic switch through each section, truly progressive, it reaches its crescendo at the mid way point, and frankly the Whale song (Gilmour’s screeching guitar) and the Seagulls that follow tend to dilute the stature of the piece to more bizarre experimentation at all costs.

Easily the most consistent performance since their debut and the path that leads to Pink Floyd’s outstanding accomplishments for the remainder of the decade.

7/10

Track List
1 – “One of These Days” 5:57
2 – “A Pillow of Winds” 5:10
3 – “Fearless” 6:08
4 – “San Tropez” 3:43
5 – “Seamus” 2:16
6 – “Echoes” 23:32

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4 responses to “Pink Floyd – Meddle (1971): Review

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