Reviewed by Audra Schroeder, Fri., Dec. 14, 2007
Pink FloydThe Piper at the Gates of Dawn (Capitol/EMI)
Celebrating the 40th anniversary of Pink Floyd's debut, this long-awaited digitally remastered reissue also marks the death of Syd Barrett last year, and this repackaging, with added art by the UK quartet's founder, is more a tribute to him. A classic? Simply listen to the animal noises on "Pow R. Toc H."; the cresting piano on "Bike," one of the most underrated psych songs ever; and Piper's coup de grâce, "Interstellar Overdrive." Pink Floyd was certainly on (and on to) something. They were an anti-band for the times, thanks to menacing undercurrents on songs with fantastical names ("Arnold Layne," "Lucifer Sam"). Longtime Floyd collaborator Storm Thorgerson designed the spiffy, red cloth-bound book that contains three discs, but no real surprises – one mono version, one stereo, and a disc of singles from 1967, plus an alternate take of "Interstellar Overdrive," stereo version of "Apples and Oranges," and alternative take of "Matilda Mother." The accompanying collage from one of Barrett's notebooks, circa 1965, shows the budding lyricist in bloom and is incentive for superfans. Otherwise, for an LP this grand, more could have been excavated.