Just shy of a year after The Piper At The Gates Od Dawn Pink Floyd released their second studio album A Saucerful Of Secrets (June 1968).
It’s hard to believe now given how big the band got in the 70’s and beyond that the album did not even chart in the U.K. It is also the only studio album on which all five members would feature. Dave Gilmour makes his first recorded appearance and Syd Barrett largely fades from the songwriting credits but is still technically playing in the band.
Let There Be More Light (Waters) Starts with a repetitive jabbing bass attack that would be later mimicked decades after by the Chemical Brothers (Block Rockin’ Beats). The sound is immediately more urgent and rocky than anything on the band’s debut album. Triple vocals play out well all offering differing styles and levels of tone. The Beatles get a lyrical nod (“Lucy In The Sky”) before the track swells to a distant but definite guitar solo – Gilmour makes his mark already.
Remember A Day (Wright) almost sounds Beatles-Esque initially. A soft song that is still touched with psychaedelic vibes. Cymbals are teased by Nick Mason and this sound would become a main feature in early 70’s Pink Floyd. Although wholly unremarkable the song works and is a very nice listen.
Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun (Waters) is a favorite of mine and a song I first heard via the Live At Pompeii film which I used to play an awful lot on VHS when I was a teenager. The song is deep and mysterious. It is sparse but has a threat of explosion throughout. It does hold off and never blows-up but you can feel the tension build powerfully nonetheless.
Corporal Clegg (Waters) and Pink Floyd minus Syd Barrett tread a left of centre Beatles sound. The song fits the album even if it can be seen as a little over the top.
A Saurcerful Of Secrets (Waters / Wright / Mason / Gilmour) offers more evidence of Syd Barret being fazed out of Pink Floyd. The piece of music reflects how Pink Floyd moved on from Barrett but not away from experimentation. The song could be seen to see the true start of the second era for the group. Broken into four pieces part one Something Else is suggested to musically reflect the run up to a period of war. Syncopated Pandemonium suggests the battles within a war as it pads and rattles around. Storm Signal musically paints imagery of the dead after the war. Celestial Voices is the sound of mourning – and it is at this moment that Pink Floyd hit a sombre but sonic perfection for the very first time. It really is an ambitious track but one that is completely pulled off, it serves to take psychedelic music to an ethereal more accomplished place. It is early in this project (going through all the Pink Floyd albums) but this may be my favourite ever Pink Floyd track. The version on the Live At Pompeii film elevates it far above and wank noodling that could be levelled at the band and I will never tire of watching / listening to it.
See Saw (Wright) is a soft song that is simple in structure and delivery. It serves as a come down to the preceding epic.
Jugland Blues (Barrett) lyrically could be see as a farewell from Syd Barrett. Barmy yet beautiful it sits oddly at the end of the album and veers off at right angles practically throughout. It is hard not to feel sad listening to this now and probably the same emotion would have been accessed back in 1968 by the few that initailly bought this near classic album…