Psych-Pop, Neo-Folk. Psychedelic Drone. Dark Electro-Pop. Dream Pop. Stoner, Hard Rock 70's. Heavy, Black Metal.
Classic Rock, Progressive. Pop-Electro, Trip-Hop. I'm not a big fan of Barrett, but he's still pretty good. I can definitely tell a difference of vocals between Piper at the Gates of Dawn and any other Pink Floyd album. Album Rating: 3. Some great stuff on here. This review is an example of why galapogos is one of my favorite reviewers.
He freakin' pWNZ. Album Rating: 4. It really is sad what happened to Syd. I find this album quite haunting and depressing. I'm a pretty big Syd fan, mostly because of the mysteriousness and the questions "Where would Pink Floyd be if Syd remained the front man? I think it's insulting to say "Genius songwriter or stoner who questions everything? Maybe a bit insane in this album but all he's missing here is a backing band and a producer.
It gives a glimpse at Syd's state of mind at this point. They could hardly get him to sing or play guitar at this point. It's really a shame I think this has some great moments in it.
This is by far the best Pink Floyd solo slbum btw. Syd Barret was a genious, I think this is at least a 3. Maybe he's missing the point of an overall review. The downright Kinksy"Here I Go" is in the same style, although it's both more lyrically direct and musically freaky, speeding up and slowing down seemingly at random.
Like many of the "band" tracks, "Here I Go" is a Barrett solo performance with overdubs by Mike Ratledge, Hugh Hopper, and Robert Wyatt of the Soft Machine; the combination doesn't always particularly work, as the Softs' jazzy, improvisational style is hemmed in by having to follow Barrett's predetermined lead, so on several tracks, like "No Good Trying," they content themselves with simply making weird noises in the background.
Song Moods. Eccentric 8 Quirky 6 Whimsical 6 Druggy 4 Enigmatic 3. Song Themes. All Themes. Syd Barrett. The Madcap Laughs. Crazy Diamond. Syd Barrett The Madcap Laughs.
The studio? The room? With Syd, it's hard to say, but chilling all the same. I dig the funny vaudeville melody and the self-depreciating, yet hopeful, lyrics. Too bad it fades out as the solo starts up. No such luck with "Octopus" though; Syd is total bonkers mode here, screaming out crazy lyrics with inhuman zeal, all backed by an over-the-top psycho pop melody that you can't get out of your head for days.
The musical backing is sparse, just an acoustic and some cymbal effects, and Syd reading the Joyce poem with mystical undertones. And then, it plops back his soft drone and strumming. Syd and his acoustic, which is nice, but it's fairly tuneless, and what's up with those pauses?
Was Syd forgetting his place? But somehow, when the song starts, Syd manages to pull off the high notes. That is, until halfway though the song when he starts abandoning weird rhymes in favor of inhuman jabbering.
And then we close with "Late Night," a little strange after all the "Syd solo" spots with just the acoustic. Still though, the soft ballad is more together, with a cool slide guitar backing and introverted lyrics, and in a private sort of way, is very touching.
Now, I realize that a high four star rating is a lot for this mess-terpiece, but it's a special rating for a very special record. The Madcap Laughs might actually be the most unique record ever recorded.
Syd is far from the world's greatest guitarist, but no one played like he did, electric or acoustic. Also the lyrics; no one ever wrote lyrics like Syd, and probably never will again. I mean, half the time he's hardly there and it's psychobabble, but the other half, brrr. Syd has a way of really digging into you and making you care about his descent into madness witness "Octopus," which goes from "Please leave us here, close our eyes to the octopus rise!
Isn't it good, so quiet there? In fact, the reason that it's so hard to choose a best number off the album isn't that they're all so good; no, Madcap is definitely better than the sum of its parts. Alone, the songs are either bizarre curios, or bizarre "lost gems," but hardly masterpieces.
But together? They create a single, moving, unstoppable monster of Half the fun of Madcap is Syd's skill, and the other half is Syd's uniqueness. On the surface, this record sounds like a lot of other psycho-folkies out there. But underneath, it is a work of genius; a painful portrait of someone going insane, who pretends there's hope, but just wishes that we'll remember him when he's long gone. Syd Barrett was an excellent prog related artist. His relation to prog?
Well, for anyone who doesn't already know - Barrett was the founder of Pink Floyd before they fired him during the recording of their second album. His artistic vision didn't fit in with the rest of the bands', and comparing this album to the middle era of Floyd it's easy to see why.
Barrett's approach to his music is a lot different than before, there's no Astronomy Domine or anything of the like on the album - this one is a very pleasant, simplistic album that's quite good at soothing the listener with its calm and crazy moments. There's two kinds of song on the album. There's the slow and calm songs such as the wonderful closer, Late Night , and the brilliant opening Terrapin - and then there's the crazy and up-beat songs such as the fun and jumpy Love You and the screaming Octopus.
There's no lack of inspiration on the album as well as Barrett seems to be pulling all of this off the top of his head. Not making it up as he goes along - but singing his passions out for all to hear.
Rumor has it that Barrett would record every song through many times, no two times ever sounding completely the same, and later pick which version he liked the best. The remastered cd versions of the albums contain some of these alternate takes, and though they don't really add to the package they're certainly fun, and different, to listen to.
All in all this is a pretty difficult album to comment on based sheerly on it's simplicity. Barrett plays guitar and sings along while some modest rhythm sections meander around in the background providing structure to the songs. Standouts on the album usually showcase Barrett doing something off the wall, or just plain odd. No Good Trying has Barrett in an almost grumbling voice while If It's In You has Barrett stop and restart the song from the beginning after talking to someone off to the side of the studio - and based on the way Barrett recorded that was probably not scripted.
All these little quirky things add up for a very fun and enjoyable album. Some of the songs don't have what most people would call ''high brow'' lyrics such as songs like Love You and Here I Go , while others are simply eerie taken in context all these years later, case in point, Dark Globe ''wouldn't you miss me at all?
This is not a prog rock masterpiece, and this is not an album that people world wide will undoubtedly enjoy. But it is a forgotten, lovely, rough gem that can be loved by the people who really have a feel for it. It's an album that either reaches out and grabs you or lets you pass, depending on who you are.
As far as Barrett's solo output would go he only had one more album left in him, the self titled Barrett which would prove to be a bit more even content wise, but the good material on this album stand above the best material on his second album by a wide margin. For rating this one gets a strong 3. Floyd fans should definitely check it out, although not all will fall in love with it. For people who fancy themselves fans of something a bit more simple this album really does have a wonderful personality to it, and if it's something you're into then you could probably add another full star.
It's hit and miss for most people, but it's undoubtedly recommended, if even to see which category you fall into. This is the longest track as well.
Ratledge's fuzzed out organ and Wyatt's drumming talents really add a lot while Hopper's bass is also prominant. Some silly lyrics here. This is darker and the guitar by Barrett sounds excellent.
I can picture Wyatt pounding away. Spoken words after 2 minutes. I like it! This is my other top three tune. The next three tracks all feature vocals and acoustic guitar leading the way. The final track is "Late Night" and it's better than the last three.
Electric guitar, light drums and vocals all sound really good here. A special album from a very special and talented man but when compared to his compositions when with FLOYD I find this is lacking.
Barrett's poetry is the focal point, and at this point he was as fluid as ever, possibly inspired by the events that had driven him out of the band to begin with.
An interesting note: some of the vocals are surprisingly reminiscent of Roger Waters wailing vocals on The Wall. Most of these performances feature one man performances by Syd Barrett where he sings his original lyrics while playing his acoustic guitar. I find most of those compositions quite average, likely this isn't everything the album has to offer.
There are a few compositions that are performed in a band setting and that's where Barrett's work really gets the treatment it deserves.
Compositions like Octopus and Late Night are among the best that I've heard from both his work with Pink Floyd and solo so it's unfortunate that this album have so few of these magical moments. Overall The Madcap Laughs features many different sides of this struggling young artist but leaves strong emotions out of the performances and therefore I doubt that anyone outside the already well established Pink Floyd fan-base will find this material all that impressive. You can seek and find all confirmation you want in order to prove that Barrett was a hopeless heap of misery, writing unfocussed psychedelic ramblings and putting in a lousy performance while recording them.
Sometimes that's also what I hear when listening to this album. There are plenty of moments where Barrett is completely out of tune, where his playing is sloppy, and the song-writing average at best. But there's an alternative approach.
When you look through the apparent lack of focus, you'll find the unpolished imagination and raw emotion of this breakable man and his bare guitar sound. Freed from the psychedelic flower-pop that somehow spoilt the Piper album for me, we hear a pure and delicate testimony of the man's genius.
The opener in particular is amazing, so seemingly obvious yet so subtle and inimitable Barrett.Track 9 on the original release of Syd Barrett’s debut solo album The Madcap Laughs, it fits far better as the final song on the album. Similar to Syd’s other songs from , Vegetable.