The Ceremony: Meddle in Review
Roger Waters: bass, guitars & vox.
David Gilmour: guitars, bass, & vox.
Richard Wright: keyboards & vox.
Nick Mason: drums & vox.
Anyone looking to fill the rest of his or her time listening to The Wizard of Oz after using up Dark Side of the Moon, should know that Meddle is not sufficient filler. This information is based off of a wasted experiment.
Meddle is a perfect middle-of-the-road experiment for the Pink Floyd, sandwiched in between the relative failure of Atom Heart Mother and the near-electronica soundtrack stop Obscured by Clouds. The pressure must have been on to create something brilliant, but the band must have not noticed too much due to the relaxed nature of the album. This LP also has enough kitsch about it to suggest that the band was truly having fun whilst creating the record. This album and Obscured by Clouds include the creative building blocks that would govern their sound until 1977 and form much of Dark Side of the Moon. Wind effects are incredibly prominent on this release.
One of These Days is Roger’s sociological analysis of politics and peers, with two bass guitars pounding listeners about the head in both speakers. Listeners segue into A Pillow of Winds, a rather jarring departure for the group, which suggests they might have been hoping for lite rock airplay on this one. Fearless saves the group from losing listeners completely, with a nice tambourine flourish towards the end. San Tropez is pushing it, but is tons more fun than ‘Pillow’ and recalling the previously mentioned kitsch injected into this album. Seamus is nearly a laugh, largely Gilmour’s work, conjuring memories of Jorma Kaukonen and Hot Tuna. Even the track’s self-titled hound dog receives its own vocal credit (royalties included a lifetime supply of kibbles for his work). Echoes is a side two opener/closer that listeners are not entirely sold on. They get tired of listening to five minutes of wind effects (which people could get in spades during long car rides on vacation.)
Ultimately, Meddle is a thoroughly satisfying odyssey into the group’s evolving sound. While relaxed, it is still one of their most technologically challenging records and offers samples of sounds in future releases. This is also not for the casual fan. More commercial fare like Dark Side of the Moon is something recommended for the newcomers. Hopefully, this review may inspire people to explore the back catalog, which makes Meddle for the diehards.
The Hits: Seamus, Fearless. In the early days, Gilmour’s output was arguably the best. These two are standouts in his catalog (and need more exposure in his solo shows!)
The Pits: A Pillow of Winds. Since when did Roger defect to flower power protesting? Mellow is a concept which I have reconciled with the Pink Floyd, but this track is uncharacteristic and unusually sensitive for the group.
By the Way: The submarine ping-effect heard at the beginning of ‘Echoes’ is the result of an engineering effect undertaken by Richard Wright: the effect involved Richard hitting a piano key and feeding the sound through a Leslie Speaker. A Leslie Speaker is a mainstay of traditional rock music from the 1960s into the 1970s, generating a ‘swirling effect’ on the music played through it.