Capitol Records, 1969
REVIEW BY: Bruce Rusk
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 07/08/2005
Reviewing a film soundtrack is always a dodgy prospect. Soundtracks are intended to be audio filler for a visual experience, and therefore ancillary to the primary experience of the film. The typical soundtrack is either totally instrumental incidental scene music, or a collection of singles thrown together. Very rarely does a soundtrack stand up as a cohesive work on its own right unless the movie itself is a musical. More, Barbet Schroeder's hippie drug flick, is no musical, but it has good musical sense. He had the foresight to hire a group of pros adept at creating music with a lot of ambiance and mood. The resulting music worked very well for the film. As an album it's a mixed bag, but a rather pleasant one. It's actually a pretty decent set despite a few pedestrian instrumental pieces. For a soundtrack it did surprisingly well, charting in the top ten in Britain.
Essentially, the songs fall into two categories -- the instrumental background music, and the fleshed out lyrical songs. The best pieces on the album are naturally the fully realized songs. Among the really good tracks on this album are "The Nile Song," one of Floyd's hardest songs ever, a blast of heavy electric blues dominated by David Gilmour bellowing out the lyrics at a throat-wrecking pitch. He throws in some very tasty solos over Nick Mason's thundering percussion. This song would end up in live shows over the next few years and on the compilation album Relics. Another track that made their live set list was the mournful "Cymballine." With it's doom-laden lyrics, and a creepy undertone provided by Rick Wright's hypnotic keys, this is one of the stronger songs on the disc. "Green Is The Color" is a sleepy acoustic ballad very unlike what we've become used to from Floyd, but quite nice. This track shows their ability to create softer songs that still have some impact, and some flutey organ work fleshes this track out nicely. "The Crying Song" might be a forebear of "Us And Them" from Dark Side Of The Moon. All in all the songs have a decidedly minimalist approach, even the bombastic "The Nile Song" features simple arrangements without a lot of sonic flourishes.
One interesting track is the opener, "Cirrus Minor," which sound remarkably like "Granchester Meadows," a song that they would record a few years later on Ummagumma, right down to the chirping bird effects in the background. This somber number helps to set the dark tone of the rest of the album. The mood on the whole is rather dark, kind of odd when you consider the Summer of Love mood of the era when this film was made. Pink Floyd were never idyllists by any means, and not likely to bask in the glow of flower power for more than a moment or two. More is not about love-ins and groovy long hairs anyway, it's an ultimately depressing look at a young man's descent into drug addiction. In this case, the freedom seeking youth misguidedly thinks that the altered reality of heroin is analogous to freedom, rather than the prison it eventually becomes for the user. Floyd's dark and rather spare arrangements complement the plot nicely, and come across well even outside the framework of the film.
The remainder of the album consists of the incidental scene music from the movie. As individual tracks they are not that impressive, but when played complete, they sound natural within the context of More as an album with its own identity. Casual Floyd fans might not get too excited about More, but more dedicated fans will surely enjoy this disc as a largely overlooked gem from their early days.