Pink Floyd – The piper of the gates of dawn (1967)

The crazy diamond shone

I find it funny that there seems to be so much prestige in which incarnation of Floyd we fans love the most. Many pretentious fans love Syd’s Floyd but that is not me. Of course, I came in late, in the early eighties, and I have always enjoyed David’s singing and his heavenly guitar playing. I guess if you were there at the time, in the middle of the sixties, and followed the band when it started it would have been something else. Syd was the musical and artistic leader of the band back then. Already during the development of the second album they transformed into a five-piece and then to a quartet again, now with less Syd but a Dave added. Syd burnt out like in the song by Neil Young.

The debut album from the boys is a very interesting album. The “Music Hall” music style is clearly not my favourite but there are elements of greatness here. The opening track “Astronomy domine” is stellar in a rough version full of promises. The song would be a staple of future live shows. I love the version David and the guys did on the 1994 tour.

“Lucifer Sam” is like a theme for a sixties spy show on tv. It is fun and inventive. The future is bright. What is that pill? Put it on the tongue? Try only once, mind you!

Like a microcosm of Pink Floyd under the leadership of a slipping Syd “Pow R. Too H.” presents us with both a wonderful piano sequence as well as deranged experimental psychedelic noises. The song, or is it a song…? Let us call it a piece. The piece would indicate later journeys into a psychedelic musical wasteland, before they, at the start of the new decade, switched toward progressive rock.

The second side of the LP is started with the live favourite “Interstellar overdrive”, one of many Floyd songs that is about, or inspired by, space. Like with “Pow R. Toc H.” it is a collaborative effort of all four guys in the band and I find these two tracks the most interesting in a way. The actual music of the piece is not friendly to the listeners and both songs surely must have been better live than in my music room. They are children of the era and a soundtrack to Syd’s deterioration into madness.

Is Syd crazy already on this album, I wonder. “The gnome” is not a healthy song. It belongs in the rubbish heap of Bowies first album.

“Scarecrow” and “Bike” is a nice pair in the end of the album. The insanity is undeniable. What on Earth is it we are listening to in the second part of “Bike”? Is this what madness sounds like?

“The piper of the gates of dawn” is a “cool” album. It is enjoyable and challenging, and my curiosity is not stilled yet. But it is also in the category of more interesting than spectacularly good.

My rating: 5/10

Side A:

  1. Astronomy domine
  2. Lucife Sam
  3. Mathilda Mother
  4. Flaming
  5. Pow R. Toc H.
  6. Take up thy stethoscope and walk

Side B:

  1. Interstellar overdrive
  2. The gnome
  3. Chapter 24
  4. The Scarecrow
  5. Bike

Favourite songs: “Astronomy domine”, “Lucifer Sam” and “Pow R. Toc H.”

Media: Limited edition, Remastered mono 180 grams vinyl, RSD2018

Released on August 4, 1967

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