Pink Floyd - The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn - Review
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critics' view

Emerging from the London underground scene, Pink Floyd signed to EMI early in 1967, and by summertime had placed two single in the UK Top 20, “Arnold Layne” and “See Emily Play”, despite the former having been subjected to a radio ban on account of references to cross-dressing. Dear oh dear. Their rising profile culminated in a full-length LP, “The Piper at the Gates of Dawn”, which was issued in August ’67 and featured 10 brand new songs as well as “The Scarecrow”, recycled from the b-side of “See Emily Play”. At the time of release, the 4-piece were: Syd Barrett (21, lead guitar, vocals); Roger Waters (23, bass guitar, vocals); Richard Wright (24, organ, piano, celeste, vocals) and Nick Mason (23, drums, percussion). Very much in keeping with the hip new sound of the age, “The Piper at the Gates of Dawn” was a spaced-out psychedelic swirler, with pseudo-proggish, alt-folkish undercurrents bubbling under the surface, as well as a few straight-ahead rockers. Aside from scarecrows, the album is flavoured with whimsical lyrics about space, gnomes, bicycles and fairy tales. Syd, who’d become a heavy LSD user since the start of the year, was suffering badly by this time with the debilitating effects of depression. Luckily, he was able to lay down several of his own songs (he wrote or co-wrote 10 of the 11) whilst on the crest of a creative wave. That said, the word is, many of the original fans were disappointed with the album; that the intensity of the live onslaughts had been diluted some. Truth is, intensity comes in many shapes and forms and it doesn’t always have to be fast and bulbous. To my ears, “The Piper at the Gates of Dawn” is a trippy delight and a real credit to the group as a whole, and to their fragile leader in particular. Long live Grimble Gromble!

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