Pink Floyd – Atom Heart Mother
This 1970 album from Pink Floyd can be divided into two halves; the strong side-long suite being one, and the mixed bag making up the rest of the album being the other.
The title track is a 23-minute “orchestral psychedelic” affair, containing extended vocal passages from a bizarre choir, duets between Wright’s organ and Gilmour’s guitar and a few moments of relative cacophony. While this track suffers from some of the same things as Meddle’s “Echoes”, there is generally more here to keep the listener’s attention through the whole piece. I remember when I first heard this song being a bit put off by the female vocals about halfway in, but in retrospect they aren’t any wilder than most of the prog I listen to nowadays. A reasonably strong side, if somewhat sprawling and overambitious.
The second side unfortunately has little going for it. The ballad “If” is somewhat of a snoozer. “Summer ’68” gets about halfway there with a nice intro and chorus but the lyrics seem half-done and the coda detracts rather than adds. “Fat Old Sun” is just kind of there. “Alan’s Psychedelic Breakfast” shows the band’s fascination with making music out of different sounds, but there just isn’t very much going on here either.
As with Meddle, I see this album having somewhat limited appeal to prog fans. Perhaps the idea of a 23-minute song will be enough for some, but the best was yet to come for this band.