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Customer Review

6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Oink oink, Baa baa, Woof!, 20 Sept. 2013
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This review is from: Animals [Discovery Edition] (Audio CD)
With such behemoth works as DSOTM & WYWH as it's predecessors it's not surprising that many fans feel this release was something of an oddity. Big mistake on their part.

Although the sound scape of this work is very different, & there is less interplay between Gilmour & Wright, Animals remains the zenith of the bands song writing. Lyrically, Waters allegory to Orwell's Animal Farm perfectly captured the mood & dissatisfaction of society with modern life. While Gilmour's guitar sound is more harsh & angry than before, this fits with a suite of songs that spit angst & bile. There is no room here for dreamy keyboard passages & mournful, sweet licks as on WYWH.

In hindsight this is probably as good a punk record as any produced by the rebellious, anti-establishment crowd who had laid siege to the music scene, hoping to bring about the demise of bands such as Floyd. The fact has always been (as it is with comedy) that to produce quality music, you need to be a quality musician, & have intelligence. Period.

Unfortunately this album marked a rapid acceleration in the bands growing frustration, not only with the music industry & world at large but also with each other. WYWH had been a 'difficult' album as tensions in the studio & later on tour surfaced, & by the time the band regrouped at their Britannia Row studios to begin work on Animals the cracks were beginning to show.
Chief among the issues was Waters anger that Rick Wright (bless him) had spent the intervening months on his yacht in the Greek isles battling depression & binging on cocaine rather than working on new material. Consequently only Waters, & to a far lesser extent Gilmour arrived in the studio with anything to work with, much of it older material that had been passed over for WYWH.
Wright, actually didn't want to be part of the process anyway. Clearly not functioning on an equal level with his band mates, he was often absent from recoding sessions & many of his parts were played in isolation away from his bandmates.
Waters lack of compassion, & frustration with Wright's lack of interest led to him effectively firing the keyboard player from the band. Given that the vast body of the material was Waters, Gilmour & Mason were not in a strong position to object, & in truth they could hardly argue that Wright's condition was conducive to playing a credible role.

In the end the 2 existing longer pieces, Raving & Drooling & Gotta Be Crazy were 'tweeked' from their live versions to become Sheep & Dogs respectively. Pigs (3 different ones) & the bookend track Pigs on the Wing were created in the studio from demos made by Roger. And so the album was complete.

The story behind the famous cover has been told countless times & won't be repeated in this piece. The album was finally premiered to the press at a reception at Battersea Power Station. The band did not attend & it was played only once. It received mixed reviews from the music journos' but was to gain cult status among fans.

There was a tour, where an incident at 1 venue became the catalyst for Waters next idea, The Wall. Wright was brought back into the fold (as a paid session man) for the shows, on the behest of Gilmour & Mason, who felt they owed him a chance after kowtowing to Waters over his sacking.

Animals has never been as easy listen (it was never meant to be) but although no DSOTM or WYWH it does carry on the Floyd tradition of being strangely timeless. The themes expressed are as relevant today as ever, but this is more than a set of protest songs. The whole sound conjures a vision of social & economic desolation, but there is also faint hope as well that man will see the error of his ways. One day, maybe.
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Showing 1-4 of 4 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 8 Oct 2013 17:35:09 BDT
Steve R says:
A well written and fair review. If only more Amazon reviewers were as objective.

In reply to an earlier post on 9 Oct 2013 09:03:59 BDT
Many thanks Steve, glad the review was helpful.

Posted on 31 Mar 2014 12:28:46 BDT
ctbroad says:
I think you're incorrect about Richard Wright, as he plays throughout the album and his contribution is fantastic; it is unmistakably him playing. To sat that he was only capable of wistful, dreamy passages is also a bit patronising and incorrect, as his hammond playing could be very dramatic when it had to be. As far as I'm aware, Michael Kamen only came in for the Wall / Final cut sessions and wasn't involved with Animals at all.

Posted on 31 Mar 2014 15:21:41 BDT
ctbroad says:
p.s. on what evidence do you say that Richard Wright was a heroin addict. I understand that he was only addicted to cocaine in the late seventies. Again, your review is incorrect.
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