Ask a casual classic rock fan to name some of his/her favorite bands from the era of rock n’ roll. There are a few popular choices. The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and The Doors can certainly fall in this category. Pink Floyd is almost always one of the first three mentioned. Perhaps the best reason for this is the multitude of hits Floyd has shared with the world. Dark Side of the Moon is the best albums of all time and Wish You Were Here is certainly in the top 50. Plus, “Comfortably Numb” is completely overplayed on most classic rock stations. This is all great. Pink Floyd is my favorite band and their music has most certainly withstood the test of time. Heck, it has flourished. But, most Pink Floyd fans do not know of the albums that predated Dark Side of the Moon. Yes, the Dark Side predecessors do exist and portray a band in search of their sound.
When I talk of Pink Floyd, I am not speaking of the original line-up. While I do very much enjoy Syd Barrett‘s work, I will focus today on an album that features the line-up of Roger Waters, David Gilmour, Richard Wright and Nick Mason. It is actually the first album without Syd.
Soundtrack From the Film More was the first full-length soundtrack album for Pink Floyd. Created in 1969 for use in the Barbet Schroeder psychedelic film of the same name, this album features the young members of Pink Floyd four years prior to the release of Dark Side of the Moon. And, while the album has some obvious weak points, it does provide some intriguing gems that many Floyd fans have never heard before. It is a lost Pink Floyd album and is rarely listened to. I am here to tell you tonight that the album is significantly better than most people give it credit for being.
The album provides Pink Floyd’s most diverse palette of musical tastes and genres. While you will not find the crisp, epic transitions that you will find in Dark Side of the Moon, you will hear Floyd sampling sounds to create an atmosphere for their music. While there is no song that blows you away, there are pieces that may shock you. Consider “The Nile Song,” track 2 of the album.
What the hell is that? My friends, do consider heavy-rock Pink Floyd. More is the only album where you will be treated to such a rare delicacy. It features a loud guitar riff that leads into a David Gilmour distorted guitar solo consistent with what hard rock guitarists (like Steppenwolf) began doing during the years of 1968/1969. Less bluesy and soulful than Hendrix’s distorted guitar, but still well done. Yes, Gilmour can play more than just the melancholic and spine-tingling guitar solos he made famous. Pink Floyd was clearly experimenting with their sound and obviously working under the parameters of the film. This particular product was quite well done.
“Cirrus Minor” is an interesting piece that is completely opposite of the hard rock experimentation. The song is quite bucolic partly because of it’s usage of bird noises, but the minor key (and short verse-linking riff) gives the song the trademark funeral-like Pink Floyd feel that they absolutely master later in their careers.
Seriously, small elements of Dark Side of the Moon can be heard in this piece. Obviously, Dark Side of the Moon’s heavenly harmonies that are almost creepily esoteric in their nature, do not come until Dark Side of the Moon. But, move over to 3:40 in the song and listen to their sampling of different sounds. While the background music (excellently done by Wright) features more 60′s psychedelia, I do believe that their sampling of different sounds is an indication of music that came later. “Cirrus Minor” itself is a highly overlooked piece that is eery, mystical and excellently done.
The album also features “Green is the Colour,” a calm piece that features Roger Waters’ lyrical prowess.
“Heavy hung the canopy of blue
shade my eyes and I can see you
white is the light that shines trough the dress that you wore
She lay in the shadow of a wave
hazy were the visions overplayed
sunlight in her eyes, but moonshine made her cry every time
Green is the colour of her kind
quickness of the eye deceives the mind
envy is the bond between the hopeful and the damned”
The lyric is descriptive and colorful. It is a step up from his past work and foreshadows his later lyrical work. Dark Side of the Moon features amazing lyrics. This is where Waters got some practice.
Is this Pink Floyd’s best album? No, not by a long shot. The album does reveal a band eagerly searching for its musical niche. We hear elements of hard rock, psychedelic rock and even some hints at progressive rock. It provides evidence of the budding talent of these fine musicians who go on to record and release the greatest rock record. It, itself, should receive more credit. More is impressive and is an exciting glimpse at Pink Floyd before most people knew about them