Coming on the heels of the awful Atom Heart Mother,
Meddle is a giant leap forward, the point where Pink Floyd truly came into their own without Syd Barrett. However, saying that this set the stage for Dark Side of the Moon is unfair, because this is a very good album in its own right.
The ominous, pulsating bass of "One of These Days" results in Pink Floyd's best song of this period; the all-out guitar/keyboard jam that closes the song ends far too quickly. "Fearless" and "A Pillow of Winds" are pleasant, a bit trippy, definitely Floyd. The throwaway "San Tropez" is fun, but it is ruined by "Seamus," a truly awful blues number with a dog barking and tuneless vocals. Irony: Pink Floyd was named after two blues artists, yet the band truly cannot do the blues.
The second half is devoted to the 23-minute masterpiece "Echoes." The pinging of sonar and some guitar noodling give way to an emotional verse, in which the music surges and recedes like waves before plunging into a jam session. That fades into a series of whooshing wind noises that are truly irritating; skip the needle forward and restart where the keyboards come back in, playing a solitary note as the drums slowly gain momentum until David Gilmour's guitar explodes into the solo. The song then comes back to the verse/chorus and fades away on a disquieting note.
"Echoes" and "One of These Days" truly anchor the album and show what this version of Floyd was capable of while pointing the way forward. It remains of of Pink Floyd's best albums, even if half of the first side is disposable.
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