George Starostin's Reviews



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Ivan Piperov <> (04.04.2000)

For me Syd is much more than one of these unforgotton heroes like Jim Morrison or Marc Bolan. Because his songwriting was unique and idiosyncratic, and inspires young songwriters till that day! One shuold remember that he was the main songwriter of the Pink Floyd and wrote their breathtaking debut album.

Also, musically the Floyd never seem to have forgotton him. Just listen to "Mother" from the Wall (oh, I almost forgot that the story is partly based on his rise and fall) how big Syd's shadow was then still. His solo album shouldn't be taken too seriously, but at the same time it is really wonderful to hear how effortlessly he wrote one brilliant song after another. Maybe he's kinda ill today, but at least Syd Barrett is a well respected man!

Lloyd E Wills <> (01.10.2000)

In 1978 I was fifteen years old and was introduced to pot and the Pink Floyd. The first song I probably heard was 'Money' off the Dark Side of the Moon Album which is the album that popularized the Floyd here in America. I grew up listening to James Brown, The Supremes, The Jackson Five, The Temptations, Smokey Robinson, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Jimmy Smith, Curis Mayfield, Earth Wind and Fire, and all the rest of the early rhythm and blues stuff that was out there. Pink Floyd, to me, was music to listen to "stoned". I bought Animals, and Wish You Were Here and I liked them. Then, my sister's pot-head boyfriend gave me a double album by Pink Floyd called A Nice Pair which was Piper at the Gates of Dawn and Saucerful of Secrets. The first listen to Piper was a trip in itself. From the first few seconds of 'Astronomy Domine' I knew this was going to be a musical trip! I couldn't help but think that these guys were on drugs. I never heard anything like it. I liked Piper better than Saucer (in fact, I really didn't like Saucer that much) and I noticed that Syd Barrett wrote eight of the songs by himself and two songs with the group; I also noticed that he was the lead guitarist and lead singer. I was very intrigued with Piper's very colorful sound projection as well as lyrical content. It was THE album for me to listen to stoned! The strange sounds on the album such as the clickity-clack on 'Scarecrow' and the "room of musical tunes" at the end of 'Bike' were colorful visions in my mind. The sounds of Syd Barrett's echo induced guitar on 'Interstellar Overdrive' was unique and awesome! The lyrics were simply hip, wild and extremely imaginative. I bought a book called "Pink Floyd: a musical documentary" and I was so intrigued and entertained how the group came to be. Syd Barrett to me was a trippy guy who obviously liked to use drugs and write mind altering music. He was also a rare breed of genius! The Madcap Laughs and Barrett to me are in a class all by themselves - and so was Syd Barrett! His music is special and should be treated with respect because regardless of what anyone says, he was a great songwriter all the way around! It's unfortunate that Syd "tatooed his brain all the way" because I do miss him. Sometimes I really feel sorry for Syd and I hope he's doing okay. I would one day like to go to England and just shake his hand and just say, "thank you, Syd Barret." Still today in the year 2000 I find myself logging on to Syd Barrett web sites and wanting to know more about his life and his music.

Bruno Villanueva <> (05.10.2000)

I totally agree with your opinion that Syd didn't write intentionally crazy songs. They weren't carefully assembled, layer by layer, measure by measure like Zappa's work (that doesn't mean I dislike Zappa, I'm actually a big fan of him, but sometimes his music and/or experiments seems too pretentious, too "arty", as you have already pointed out on the corresponding page), no, Syd's talents were much more intuitive (he never had any formal musical training), he just let let his LSD-rattled, fucked-up (I mean that in a good way) mind run unbridled. To me, he was the kind of artist who didn't mean to be unconventional, he had to be, 'cause that was the way his brain was wired. Granted, his music can be very uneven, but at least he was always honest, even in his most direction-less moments, and at his best, he was (in my opinion) truly amazing. That's all I have to say (for now) about Mr. Madcap. Thanks for letting me voice my ramblings.  

Andrei <> (05.10.2000)

I particularly like 'golden hair', which is superb, and 'wined and dined'. 'baby lemonade', 'effervescing elefant', and 'terrapin' are quite good. The rest is mostly crap, but I haven't listened to them attentively, this is just my first assessment. We'll see. I really do hate 'love you', it sounds really cheap and devoid of any 'mad genius' dignity I may credit other songs with. It's just disgusting, I not only skip it as soon as possible but wish it was possible to etch it out of the cd permanently.

Joe H <> (19.11.2001)

I definatly think Syd should be up there with the legends like Jim Morrison, or Jimi Hendrix and etc. He was definatly a revolutionary artist with his work in the mid 60's with Pink Floyd, and listening to that stuff to that, i really believe he was the first "punk rocker". Just listen to songs like "Interstellar Overdrive" or "Lucifer Sam" or other songs with that crazy, dissonant guitar style and such. Stuff like that really seems to me the whole introduction to that whole genre, but yeah, im probably the only one who thinks this, and i guess The Who's debut or Velvet Underground's debut or The Stooges could be responsible for that instead, but i digress. Syd has written lots of fantastic songs, and its such a shame what happened to him. I really feel a deep sense of sympathy for him when listening to his songs, such as "Dark Globe" or "Opel" or what have you. I would of loved to see where he would of gone threw the 70's and 80's or even 90s to today! But i guess Mr. Barrett just wants to be alone, which i respect. But regardless of today, i will still always admire him as a amazing songwriter, whom, in my eyes at least, never wrote a single piece of filler. Although maybe thats just subjectiveness creeping in..

Jon Gray <> (20.10.2002)

He had such a unique voice, a talent for fabulously unraveled frizzy melodies, and was a handsome chap for a while as well--all the qualities of a budding pop star, or overrated rock legend. Plus the guitar style still is inimitable and revolutionary--nobody ever thought up slide guitar craziness in the terms of Barrett. For that, for "Late Night" and "Wined and Dined", so prototypical of Dave Gilmour's "unqiue" slide sound (which Malcolm Jones has since said Gilmour learned from Barrett to match him for the five-piece shows), Barrett deserves a lot of credit. Unfortunately, the songs are altogether too disjointed and meaningless to really matter. But as an experimenter, he is almost unparalleled, because he beat Zappa at his own game and maintained wholly pop, but something altogether new with the same standard set of notes. And just think how hard a Fripp or Eno has to work to acheive something superficially different from the norm. It's truly incredible. If anything is to move rock forward, it is more in the vein of Barrett-like experiments than in grafting ever more ethnic styles onto a 4/4 beat.

CB Neal <> (05.03.2003)

I'm a big Syd fan. Most people I've talked to about it find him unlistenable. (Crobsy Still and Nash or Chicago, for me, that's unlistenable. Steely Dan --more than once a year is too much. Zappa, ugh!). I go through Syd jags. Right now I have all three CDs in my five disc player. Along with the Flaming Lips' Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots and Radiohead. The human drama of Barrett's decline, as it unravels throughout the recordings is gripping, kind of like when you hear Mick Jagger tell Keith Richards to stop playing at Altamont. It's the kind of drama whose absence makes most live albums so dreary. It's hard to hear the dicier moments and not spend part of the experience trying to comprehend why it is that happened in a recording studio and why was it made available for you to buy. I say that now, but I don't know how I would have felt in 1970 without the hype, good, bad and otherwise the came afterward. Like if 'Octopus' were a Floyd song wriiten by someone totally together and was in no way "offhand", would it have been more in the tight Lucifer Sam vein? I'd probably dig it either way.

I think the underlying problem that most people have is that it's just not all that technically astute. His playing is a bit spotty. Like maybe if he were together enough, the songs could've used with a few rehearsals. Again the drama--Could more have been made of the songs? Were they just tossed off as an act of goodwill? As for the production approaches, wherein "Barrett", is really Gilmour, Opel is pretty much junk for us completists and Madcap's is a mixture of both, I'd say the Waters/Gilmour tracks are the weakest; "Long Gone being a good example of a good song spoiled.

Weird thing for me is I dragged out the first Floyd Abum after many more routine listenings to Syd solo and I have to say even though I like both phases of Syd and don't care for much Floyd after between his departure and the ascendancy of King Roger I (i.e.: Dark Side of the Moon), I definitely like crazy, rambling Syd more than twee, ethereal, prog rock Syd. Thanks, Syd!

Tim B. <> (08.01.2006)

Anyways, one thing you have to keep in mind for Syd Barrett's solo work is that, quite literally, he was in the throes of madness, drugs having fired his brain completely. I've read all kinds of stuff about just how hard it was for Gilmour to get Syd to sing, let alone well, I mean the man had gone nuts and was hardly fit to be making music. To me, that's why I find Syd's solo work so fascination. As others have pointed out, it's a look into a madman's mind, with all the musical half-ass-edness that such a state would entail. He couldn't focus on anything, let alone making music, which is why these out-of-tune, confused, flawed compositions sound like they do.

But that aside, to me it is totally remarkable that so many great songs were produced in such a state of insanity. 'Octopus' remains one of my favourite songs ever...the thing is, knowing what I know about Syd's mind at this time (interviews with Gilmour and other research), his bored vocal delivery takes on a much more sinister edge than it might have. His cryptic lyrics and moments of clarity reveal someone on the edge of despair trying to make tht best of the situation with whimsy and...sometimes...brutal honesty. 'Won't you miss me...wouldn't you miss me at all?'.

This is a case of warts an-all. To some it seems 'inadequate' (as this site puts it VERY POORLY), to others amusing (a friend of mine can't stop singing Gigolo Aunt and laughing his ass off), but one thing is's brutally honest (when Syd's performance was bad it was for a very strong reason - madess), with a dark dark undercurrent, and some suprisingly strong songs. Also his influence is astronomical...almost every 'indie' band I've heard is borrowing so heavily from Syd's style as to be committing plaguarism. He was the best vocalist and lyricist I've ever heard at displaying English whimsy and psychadelic craziness. In context a rank of E seems short sighted, since you have to take into consideration he was pretty much braindead at this point. Hats off to Gilmour for making it all possible.

jalali yousefian <> (21.05.2006)

Syd is no doubt a legend for many half-mad kids of our generation and many other generations to come. His legendry, however, is not based on what he did (i.e. the music he wrote) or what he achieved (i.e. a “rock-star” title and plenty of groupies to fuck). He is a legend for what he did not do (or maybe refused to do). I don’t know any other figure in rock music (although they should be many others) who has intentionally, or spitefully you could argue, has given up making or at least publishing music. He would remain a legend for little fellows who hate “art” because of its pretentious and inherent optimism. Optimism of “publishing”: Hello world! Cheer up! I have come with an astonishing piece of miracle, from now on it’s your holy responsibility to consume my art and admire me for the rest of your life, and of course you could teach your children to love me so that my legend never dies.

His music journey by itself is an educational example. Starting on the crazy domain of astronomy: energetic, young and genius; falling into mellow bitterness of blues, jugband blues, gradually loosing the optimism for bitterness; Yippee. He is the kingbee now. These would be all deficient half-baked endeavors of a young kid if they didn’t end up where they did. A true silence.

He is one of the few legends that I can convince myself to admire and that’s because he is a legend but not an idiot idol. Not a Jim Morrison for sure.

K. Workman <> (15.07.2006)

Hello, I must say I do not agree wuth what appears to be a general consensus that Barrett is to put it mildly, "lacking" from the first solo lp Madcap. Barrett is brilliant! as Madcap is.Opel on the other hand is just lousy recording.I can honestly say I have not heard a Syd Barrett composition I do not like.Stop and consider the brilliance and sheer genius of a man who seemed to be playing a garbled mess,but when the solos were played backwards they complimented the rythm section to a "T".Was that coincidence? I think not.My opinion does not come from grieving over Syd's recent demise.These are purely my opinions as a listener and musician.All the best to you all.


Richard C. Dickison <> (18.07.99)

This album is much more promising than any Velvet Underground album.

Of course Syd had more song writing talent than any of those New York losers.

I have to admit that both irritate the hell out of me and should only be taken in small quantities. You should put a big old caution sign on this album listing.

Enter at your own risk and leave at first sign of a rash.

I have not heard the other two albums, one was enough for me.

Daniel Streb <> (28.07.99)

The great thing about The Madcap Laughs is that part of it has some melodies there that you can sing along to, and also at the same time you just wanna scratch your head and think to yourself, "What is he thinking right there when he's singing off-key on purpose?". The album works on so many levels and that's what makes it so great.

Chris Cormier <> (19.06.2000)

Yes, it's more an album to be listened to with scientific detachment, he is just as crazy as he was reputed to be.  It's hard to believe someone would record this stuff.  The songs would have been good songs, basically, except they're just insane.  Not really many other words to describe this album with.  Listening to "if it's in you" always makes me laugh though, am I mean for laughing at a crazy guy?

mjcarney <> (27.06.2000)

Syd's first and best solo album is very much unlike anything else that I have ever heard.  It accentuates the bizarre world presented on The Piper at the Gates of Dawn, only without all of the weird psycedellic noises prevallent on his early Floyd releases.  Instead he offers a more bleak, more acoustic and very much more deranged atmosphere throughout this near-brilliant album.  Its uncompromising and sometimes unfinished quality strangely enough add much to the overall appeal of the album.  Highlights include the laid-back opener "Terrapin", the catchy and fun "Love You" and "Long Gone", the masterful "Octopus" and the somewhat depressing "Late Night".  This album portrays almost an entirely different sound from Syd than his previous Pink Floyd work.  Of course the strangeness is still there, and is unfortunately more prevalent.  Yet the inventiveness of sound--besides his basic songwriting structure--is not as pronounced.  Still however, the album remains a fascinating yet ultimately bleak document of a crumbling mind at work.  Overall though, I would agree mostly with the review here.  The madcap laughs is a classic work due to its overall insanity.  Nothing had ever sounded quite like this, and probably nothing ever will--even though people like Julian Cope, Blur, and especially Robyn Hitchcock will keep trying.  Overall though, I would rate it a 9/10 due to some overtly rough moments and weaker tracks, like "if it's in you" or even "feel".  If you liked Piper, then this is definately for you, but you must realize that this album will take a few listens before you can get over its strange feel.  

John Caulfield <> (24.08.2000)

I bought this album as a teenager in 1980 having just been introduced to (and fallen in love with) the Floyd thru The Wall and I had heard that Barrett was or had been a member of the band. I said to the record store owner : "Is this stuff like Pink Floyd?" To his credit he said : "No, Sid had his own style!" - But I bought it anyway. As you can imagine, knowing (at that stage) Floyd only thru The Wall, this came as a bit of a shock.

But even then, although I did not listen to the album very often, there was something about it which captivated me. Someone said that these songs are like self-contained entities, like weird exotic insects in their glass-case world, and I tend to agree. It is almost as if we have no right to comment on, or attempt to review stuff like this - it's just THERE -take it or leave it. It is wierd and haunting because it IS wierd and haunting, not because someone sat down and decided to write songs that would seem wierd and haunting.

This is an album that every serious lover of art and life must have. It is the centre of the universe, it is a lost child, it is heaven, it is hell.

It puts a lot of the Floyd's pretentious, pseudo experimentalism (read : "inability to write a decent melody or lyric after Syd's departure") such as the studio lp of UMMAGUMMA to absolute shame.

Get it, listen to it, be it...

Ivan Piperov <> (30.08.2000)

Syd Barrett's most typical record. I guess it was made unprofessionally on purpose. If it had been technically perfect, it would't be that impressing. It's also a way to show off the man's genius: while he has been obviously not very together, he was capable of really good songs with chart-potential. But it is a "happy" album. Most of it was produced by Pete Jenner and Malcom Jones, but some tracks were produced by David Gilmour and Roger Waters. 'Dark Globe' for instance sounds very much like a Final Cut-outtake to me. A groovy album, really; Best to be listened late at night! I'd give it an 8

Sergey Zhilkin <> (15.03.2001)

When I heard 'Octopus' for the first time I thought it was the best ever written. No, no, you got me wrong - I thought that it was THE BEST SONG EVER WRITTEN IN THIS WORLD!!! Though, as soon as my friend gave Madcap to me (on chewn-up cassette, I have to say, and the fact that I took it shows how I was interested in it) my enthusiasm vanished. So by now, I can easily call 'Octopus' just a happy pop song (and the slowed rip-off of 'Rock around the clock', too) and 'No good trying' - boring track.

I agree - the album is great and worth buying but when I hear someone saying: 'This is the best album ever made' I really wanna hit him hard and cry in reply: 'And have you ever heard to the The Beatles?!!!'. After all, I can't say that these tunes are genial. In fact, all of them are just nice cuts, some dark, some jolly, indeed, but are they so wonderful and unrepeatable as so many people say?

Sean Rodgers <> (08.07.2001)

Bizarre beyond belief, that's what this album is. I've never heard anything quite like it, and it's geniunely frightening in parts. I remember hearing "If It's In You" with a friend for the first time. At first, Syd's off-key singing sounded hilarious. Then we began to stop laughing as we realized this track was far more disturbing and twisted then we had originally assumed. There are some relatively "normal" songs on here- "Octopus" is probably the best of these. Thank God Syd still retains a marginal sense of humour on some songs, like "Here I Go."  But really, it's hard to listen to this sort of stuff over and over again. This album should be treated in the same way as Friedrich Nietzsche's last few writings are- products of a talented but unalterably twisted mind.

Joe H <> (19.11.2001)

Fantastic album. I dont agree to just state that its good for just the purpose of listening to "a crazy guy", because these truely are really great songs. And besides, i heard Syd was together during the sessions and not meeting the characteristics of a "crazy guy". The acoustic songs are beautiful in their own right with their simplicity (especially "Dark Globe", probably my favorite song on here) and those rock/poppish songs like "Octopus", "Love You" or that "old timey" song (as producer Malcom Jones put it) "Here I Go" show that Syd can cover other stuff besides trippy psychadelic classics or folky cute n' catchy odes to gnomes or bikes. I think those fuck-ups on those acoustic songs and those sloppy backings on some of these songs further back my "Syd was a punk rocker" theory, although, Syd was a very good singer and guitar player, its just that on Waters and Gilmour's part they decided to keep those mistakes, and unfortunatly gives Syd a kinda bad reputation now, apparently. But, they are interesting to listen, especially now a days cuz everything is so overproduced and polished professionally it makes me wanna quit listening to music all together. Id give this a bit higher of a grade, like 12 or 13 even, because i can honestly say im a big fan of Syd's work.

Nick Vesey <> (18.10.2002)

I like this album... theres something Halloween-ish about it for me. The music itself, along with the atmosphere reminds me of jack-o-lanterns and grey skies and leafless trees, for some reason. My favorite songs would have to be 'No Man's Land', 'Octopus', 'Long Gone' and 'Late Night'. This album sort of reminds me of seeing the world through sort of a twisted, demented and dark perspective. But actually, there is an album that I'd have to say is somewhat similar to this, even though both albums have distinct styles, and that album is Oar by Alexander 'Skip' Spence. Thats right, you probably remember he drummed for Jefferson Airplane on their debut and went on to form Moby Grape after that (Moby Grape, by the way, are a band I highly suggest you check out soon and are great for any 60's rock collection, especially their self-titled debut).

Francis Mansell <> (24.07.2004)

Sorry George - back with the nitpicking again!  You claim, "As for Syd himself, he always sticks to an acoustic", this is, in the English vernacular, a load of old cobblers.  All the guitars on the album are played by Syd Barrett, whether acoustic (admittedly most of them) or electric, including all that fuzz on the extraordinary "No Man's Land" (I'd love to know what that mainly indecipherable monologue is about).  Also, only two tracks feature Soft Machine: "No Good Trying" and "Love You"; I'm not sure who plays on the other "band" tracks (someone else could probably tell you) but it's not them - note the huge difference between "Octopus" here and the version backed by Soft Machine as "Clowns And Jugglers" on Opel, which so far as I know is the only other Barrett track they play on.

I think you're a little unfair on the lyrics, they're far better than on some of the songs on Barrett - e.g. the second and third verses of "Gigolo Aunt" which spoil an otherwise good song by being half-formed gibberish.  Here, even where they are pretty meaningless, as on "Octopus", they have a very distinctively surreal turn of phrase and hang together in some unfathomable way, and he excels at the surreal love song - I love the way he suddenly starts going on about fishes and clams in the middle of "Terrapin" after pledging his love so touchingly in the first two verses.  And "Here I  Go" is almost normal - I do wonder if this was composed before his mental illness, or whether he simply came up with it on a particularly lucid day.

Anyway, nearly all this album is extremely compelling.  Syd's limited range and lack of vocal pyrotechnics allow the sheer charm of his voice to shine through, particularly on the songs where he doesn't attempt to sing higher notes than he's comfortable with.  The continued availability of this album, and the presumably quite considerable sales over 35 years, can't just be put down to his critical reputation, much of it is really because of the Pink Floyd connection, and once they've heard it, people have caught that indefinable something that hooked me when I first heard it nearly 30 years ago, despite the apparent unprofessionalism of the record.

I absolutely would listen to most of this album for pleasure, some of it is beautiful, some of it is funny, some of it just wonderfully surreal, most of it, as you say, has excellent tunes.  Some, on the other hand, does feel pretty voyeuristic, e.g 'If It's In You' and to a lesser extent the other solo acoustic tracks where he sounds less capable of crafting a "finished" sounding product.  I almost feel they were put on to let the listener know what the producers were up against in recording Syd, and where he was unfortunately heading.  Tortured genius is a crap, cliched description of Syd Barrett.  Very talented but mentally ill person with a lot of heart perhaps does it better, if rather prosaically.  On your scale, I reckon this album's worth a 13.

Alexey Provolotsky <> (04.11.2005)

Like everyone and his brother has mentioned, this is a totally bizarre, unique, weird (you know them words) experience. And that is true. The Madcap Laughs sounds like a stripped down version of The Piper without instrumentals. The Madcap Laughs has to be one of the most intriguing and perversely charming collections of songs I’ve heard. Also, let’s face it: the melodies here are wonderful. Yes, the actual melodies are wonderful. George, I understand that you don’t think this record is worth a 12 (while I do), but to give Syd a fucking zero (despite the irony) for listenability is really frustrating. Come on! Isn’t he a fine songwriter? Hell, yes, he’s mad and full of LSD, but does it count when the catchiness is so obvious?

Getting to the songs, I’d say that they are totally mesmerizing. It’s just another world. “Terrapin” is like a lullaby for the crazy. Cute. Then I love the dark, depressing atmosphere of “No Man’s Land”. “Octopus” was a deservedly chosen, but unjustly ignored single. Catchy, damn it, catchy! “Golden Hair” works. Very gloomy and almost suicidal. I’m very addicted to that song, being a big fan of Joyce. Also, there is a moody closing piece, “Late Night” with, again, thrilling atmosphere. Love that sawing guitar. The rest are almost as amazing and definitely AS amusing.

As for the bonus cuts, they are quite unnecessary, although those short bits of Barrett’s phrases should be treasured. In my opinion, everyone needs to taste this record. The taste may (will!) seem unusual, but you’ll get used to that. Syd’s mad and cozy charm, freedom-loving guitar playing and out of this world hooks are quite irresistible, you know.


mjcarney <> (27.06.2000)

Unfortuately a great step downward IMHO from his first album, Barrett nonetheless has moments of brilliance spread throughout.  I agree that Rick Wright and David Gilmour's production butchered some, well let's face it most of the good songs on this album, yet I also do not feel that this album had enough going for it to survive without their embellishments. There are several terrific songs on here, however there aren't enough of them to make the record too memorable. The highlights on this disc are the near return to his Pink Floyd roots in "Baby Lemonade", and the whimsical "Evervescing Elephant", the pop of "Wined and Dined" and "Gigolo Aunt"--until the aforementioned jam at the end-- and the deranged "Rats".  However, whereas Madcap had poor moments, this album has awful moments.  "Dominoes", "It is Obvious" and "Wolfpack" meander along a little too much for me, and very few of the numbers--even the highlights are as strong as the ones on The Madcap Laughs. Another extremely weird record, the combination of Syd's rapid mental decline and poor production extremely mar it.  I would rate this a 5/10.  Don't sue me, but I feel it is for completists only.

Greg Hauger <> (10.01.2001)

My liking for the FLoyd sound started with "Brain Damage", and "Eclipse"  In our home was an old UMMUGUMMA lp and after months of listening,  I asked who was this (Barrett) that was the only credit for 'Astromomy Domine'.  Lo and behold research led me to the ownership of this insect polluted album. 'Baby Lemonade' and 'Gigalo Aunt' are by far the best tracks.  However a friend and I can simeltaneously recite the lyrics to that elephant song.  This album would be a great middle album for a genius, but  poor health decisions caused it to be the last.  I wonder if the name Syd Barrett would be a household name if LSD had not been a factor.  Nevertheless, Barrett is a historical music document that expresses lyrics that question the state of soceity we live in;that is, in an errotic way.

Jes?s Gran Moreno <> (06.07.2005)

There is a question which I have never seen in any web about one song of this record from Syd Barrett (and please, don't think that I'm a fan of Syd Barrett!): the song "Effervescing Elephant" begins with a sound of trombone which is borrowed from the piece "The Elephant". This piece belongs to the work "The carnival of the animals" from French composer Saint Saëns.


<> (14.08.2000)

I really have to disagree with you on this one. Although the music herein is not for everyone (only the initiated...) these songs are of the highest order (this is Syd Barrett we are talking about here) Space Explorer pioneer (Jupiter and Saturn) and nursery tale yarns extrodinair (he outdid Mother Goose at her own game) Anyway, I'd like to here another song as emotionally naked and at the same time as frightening as "Opel". "Dolly Rocker" stands up to anything else in the Madcap Laughs. It just makes me want to kiss Syd for the line 'she's as cute as a squirrel's nut'. Believe it or not I think "Word Song" is a beautiful conceptual piece. I find it to be a love song. In it, Syd has a girl on his mind and he bashfully avoids recognition of her untill he drops in the 'you' reference at the end of the song. The 'you' in question being as important as all these other (at times) cosmic elements. "Swan Lee" is magnificent. Imagine if he had done it while still with the Floyd. "Lanky" is a great space jam that you can spread on my piece of bread anytime. Opel is a picture perfect postcard of Syd Barrett in some of his last bursts of creativity before the flame extinguished. Syd was a mixture of Bob Dylan the four Beatles and Salvador Dali and Opel is a document of beauty and insanity churning together in the same multicolored pot.

Adrian Denning <> (23.11.2001)

A mostly unnecessary compilation, I think. The best tracks here could have been used as bonus tracks on Madcap Laughs and Barrett instead of the alternate takes of already known songs that they did use. One saving grace for this IS the title track, though. Sure, it's the sound of insanity. It's very bare, just Syd and his guitar. There's something about it though. It's even been known to bring a tear to my eye on occasion. Yeah, it is affecting. It's a great track.


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