Pink Floyd, A Saucerful Of Secrets

Dan Epstein

By Dan Epstein

on 06.08.11 in Reviews

A Saucerful Of Secrets (2011 - Remaster)

Pink Floyd
A game attempt to follow their brilliant debut, sans frontman

The only album to feature songwriting and instrumental contributions from all five members of Pink Floyd — guitarist David Gilmour was brought in during the sessions to deputize for the increasingly erratic Syd Barrett — 1968's A Saucerful of Secrets was the band's game attempt to follow their brilliant debut, despite the fact that their erstwhile frontman and chief songwriter was no longer willing or able to focus on the task at hand. As a result, the album often sounds like an imitation of Barrett-era Pink Floyd — as written and played by the non-Barrett members of Pink Floyd. Though Barrett plays slide guitar on Rick Wright's wistful "Remember a Day" (and he's allegedly present, if inaudible, on Roger Waters' "Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun"), his only vocal appearance comes on the closing "Jugband Blues," whose dissociative lyrics and acoustic-driven arrangement are more reminiscent of his subsequent solo work than anything on The Piper at the Gates of Dawn. As with "Remember a Day," Wright's "See-Saw" is a pretty fair approximation of Barrett in "childhood reverie" mode, right down to Wright's hazy, slightly adenoidal vocal performance; hearing Wright's contributions here, it's not entirely surprising that the Floyd's management briefly considered making him the band's focal point following Barrett's meltdown. Waters' bass-driven opener "Let There Be More Light," features the first-ever Gilmour guitar solo on a Pink Floyd album, and his wry "Corporal Clegg" takes aim at the British military for what would be the first of many times in his career. And of course there's the nearly 12-minute title track, an instrumental space voyage in four parts which presages the band's interplanetary journeys to come.