Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Pink Floyd 2: A Saucerful Of Secrets

Syd was on the way out, figuratively and literally, by the time the Floyd’s second album was completed. A Saucerful Of Secrets suffers in comparison to its predecessor, if only because he’s not really there—with one key exception.
Rick Wright seems to dominate the album, with two of the better songs—“Remember A Day”, which was a single, and “See-Saw”, which wasn’t. Both seem to reflect nostalgia for childhood, or at least the past.
Roger’s songwriting hasn’t really caught fire yet. “Let There Be More Light” is an attempt at being spacey, contrasting the quiet but foreboding verse section with the louder chorus sung by newcomer David Gilmour. “Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun” is a better experiment, its minimalist structure giving the band plenty of room to improvise, and did they. The title track is even more free-form, giving everyone a chance to stretch. “Corporal Clegg” is the first instance of his lifelong obsession with the casualties of war.
The highlight of the album, however, is all Syd’s. “Jugband Blues” is his farewell, with sardonic lyrics about his station in the band and uncertainty about his future. The structure of the song is typically stilted, winding up into a Salvation Army band solo that gets sucked into emptiness, leaving only Syd and his acoustic. It’s a remarkable recording.
A Saucerful Of Secrets shows Pink Floyd finding their way, both between old and new guitarists and trying to figure out just what kind of band they were. Its inclusion in 1973’s A Nice Pair guaranteed well-deserved exposure, but ultimately kept it in competition with The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn. While there are some great moments, it remains a transitional work.

Pink Floyd A Saucerful Of Secrets (1968)—3

1 comment:

  1. Supposedly according to an interview with Gilmour Syd also played on the title track along with David.