Pink Floyd has finally emerged from the Atom Heart Mother phase, a fairly stagnant period in their musical growth, marked by constant creative indecision. They tried to cover for it by putting a particular series of subliminal sound effects on the Atom Heart LP, and by dragging in huge, unwieldy brass orchestra sections to their concerts. Nothing short of disaster on both counts. Their new album. Meddle not only confirms lead guitarist David Gilmour’s emergence as a real shaping force with the group, it states forcefully and accurately that the group is well into the growth track again.
The first cut, “One Of These Days (I’m Going To Cut You Into Little Pieces)” sticks to the usual Floyd formula (sound effect-slow organ build-lead guitar surge & climax-resolving sound effect), but each segment of the tune is so well done, and the whole thing coheres so perfectly that it comes across as a positive, high-energy opening. Next, we have a series of ozone ballads like “Pillow Of Winds” and “San Tropez.” Pleasant little acoustic numbers hovering over a bizarre back-drop of weird sounds. A clever spoof entitled “Fearless” leads up to a classic crowd rendition of Rodger’s & Hammerstein’s “You’ll Never Walk Alone,” the perennial victory song for the Wembley Cup Final crowd in England. And, to round off side one, a great pseudo-spoof blues tune with David Gilmour’s dog Seamus taking over the lead “howl” duties.
“Echoes,” a 23-minute Pink Floyd aural extravaganza that takes up all of side two, recaptures, within a new musical framework, some of the old themes and melody lines from earlier albums. All of this plus a funky organ-bass-drums segment and a stunning Gilmour solo adds up to a fine extended electronic outing. Meddle is killer Floyd from start to finish.