Pink Floyd, Animals

Dan Epstein

By Dan Epstein

on 06.08.11 in Reviews

Animals (2011 - Remaster)

Pink Floyd
About as un-punk as you could get in 1977

Released in early 1977, just as the U.K. punk movement was kicking into high gear, Pink Floyd's 10th album was, at first glance, about as un-punk as you could get: A concept album loosely based upon George Orwell's Animal Farm, centered around three synthesizer-heavy songs that were more than 10 minutes in length, and housed in yet another expensive Hipgnosis-designed cover, Animals seemed like the very essence of dinosaur rock excess. But the rage expressed in "Dogs," "Pigs (Three Different Ones)" and "Sheep" is just as palpable and real (albeit delivered more eloquently) as anything on the first Sex Pistols or Clash album; and, whereas Orwell's book took on socialism, Animals' main target is the same capitalist system that the safety pin brigade wanted to smash. While the dog, pig and sheep sound effects in the aforementioned songs are teeth-grindingly obvious, and all traces of the band's whimsy or humor have been completely eradicated, the album's three main songs are as alluring as they are monolithic; especially on headphones, the densely-layered but spacious (and extremely lyrical) music — David Gilmour's guitar refrain on "Dogs" being a particular highlight — pulls you in well before you're fully cognizant of the dark, almost nihilistic sentiments at the heart of the record. Once you're in, however, there's no way out; the brief acoustic bookends of "Pigs on the Wing, Pt. 1" and "Pigs on the Wing, Pt. 2" hint at the possibility of romantic redemption amid man's inhumanity to man — but after marinating in Waters's bleak world view for nearly 40 minutes, it's difficult to remain optimistic.