Pink Floyd’s fifth album, Atom Heart Mother - the one with the cow on the cover - carries on the concept that began on Ummagumma with the full band featuring on side one and individual band members basically playing solo stuff on side two. It was Pink Floyd’s first album to make No.1 in the UK.
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- Atom Heart Mother by Pink Floyd
8/10 Mr Pearls Brain 30th September 2016
Side 1, the Atom Heart Mother side itself, is worth about a million out of ten. There is nothing like it elsewhere in the Floyd canon. It has the ambition of Dark Side of the Moon (but not really the chops) crossed with the experimental urges of Ummagumma, and it sounds a bit like burnt out hippies trying to play brass-rock. Heh. I have read Ron Geesin saying that the Floyd laid down their parts then disappeared off on holiday leaving him 6 weeks in an overheating basement to try and knock the choir and horns into shape. I can well believe this. Dave Gilmour has a couple of solos but otherwise he is relegated to half hearted rhythm guitar in the bottom left hand corner of the soundstage. Ditto Rick Wright, although he goes to a different corner. The choir and horns get most of the glory, and I can't imagine that it would have come out like that if the band had actually been there. Geesin also said that if he'd got his way it would have had more swing, though I like the tension of classically trained players trying to do rock, which comes out sounding very stiff. It fits the weird hybrid nature of the composition. I don't think Pink Floyd ever had swing, did they?
Why Atom Heart Mother? No idea. Why a cow? Me neither...
Side 2 on the other hand is a buncha B-sides. Meddle suffers from this this too, you can tell they were just trying harder in some places than others. Alan's Psychedelic Breakfast in particular is a jokey bit of filler that is waaaaay too long and the whole of side 2 rarely gets a spin in the Mr Pearl household. None of the early Floyd albums is perfect, but half of this one is brilliant, at least.
8/10 Jack 19th September 2016
Atom Heart Mother maybe chided as the worst Pink Floyd album by a few. But it's not. It's not their best either. It's one of my favourites, and one of their most important albums, as it really got the ball rolling in their evolution from psychedelic to progressive themes of rock. Overall, one cannot fully understand a musical act until they expose themselves to the humble beginnings. Pink Floyd rose meteorically to their stardom... they once found themselves trying new things, and creating a formula for success.
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