on 1 December 2011
Animals is generally overlooked as a Floyd classic but to me it's the pinnacle. This album is the product of a few music ideas turned into a musical/literary masterpiece! It does elude to Orwell's Animal Farm in the concept area but gives it that extra push. The 3 world powers covered so eloquently. Dogs, the power of commerce and the lyrics bring the real animal so well in line with the businessman. Pigs, the politcal element too and Sheep etc. All intertwined and controlling the masses between them. Guitar solo number 3 on Dogs is amazing and even better remastered! You can hear every scrape of the pick, click on a drum etc as if you were listening in as they were recording it. The only problem with buying this is that you are going to make some music exec even richer than they already are! If you like Floyd enough to live with that then go ahead and enjoy!
To date I have got Dark Side, the 2 cd version, Meddle, Atom Heart Mother and Animals from the Pink Floyd remasters. Of the 4 albums that I have heard so far this has got to be the most impressive in terms of remastering. It has benefitted most from the work carried out at Das Boot Studios, not what I would have expected considering the age of the recording, in having the music presented better than ever before.
For a start the acoustic guitar work on the opener Pigs On The Wing just sound so much better, more realistic, natural, better filled out in the lower mid range eq and more obviously wooden in nature. Rogers singing is cleaner clearer and yet less harsh than the Shine On Boxset version I have.
Dogs is just an amazing tour de force. David Gilmour wrote the music for this and his guitar work is at a peak, better and more varied than anything he did before or since. This track has great shifts in dynamics moving through a series of movements like an orchestral piece. Again the use of acoustic and electric guitars sound so much better, being separated into individual instruments playing together rather than an amalgamated sound that approximates both together. Lyrically, care of Rog, this track is a damning of the business approach to life in a clear and unambiuous way.
Pigs, again vitriolic and direct, gains a lot from the remastering. The harmonies in Rogers overdubbed vocals really 'sing' and are distinctly clearer than the 1994 version. The sound of the pigs themselves is more resonant and natural. For me this track is the highlight of the album thanks to the jaw dropping range and quality of guitar work on show. There are acoustic guitars in the mix, along with various electric guitars processed differently and then the killer solo featuring the guitar being fed through a Dunlop Voice Box to allow DG to emulate the pigs and to give the solo greater emotive range.
Sheep, again the recorded animals sounds are so much more natural than before, and the ping ponging sound of Rick Wrights keyboards is so much more apparent and enjoyable. Rick Wrights contribution to this album is of the highest order. I reckon it is the best example of his skills as a musician, using various synth, organ and piano sounds to lift the songs to a new level.
I also thing that the pitch on the previous issue was wrong. I am fairly sure everything here is presented a third or a half tone down on the last one, without affecting the tempo. I think there must have been a software problem or a careless techie behind this fault. The new album has a better defined mid to lower end and is much more musically tight, for lack of a better term. The animals and birds all sound right this time, not processed or tweaked.
So, for fans of Floyd, do not hesitate, get this and enjoy an album, that I have literally avoided on cd for years due to its harsh presentation, sounding better than I would have imagined it could.
edit - this album features some of the finest keyboard playing that Rick Wright did with Floyd. He, to use a football term, plays a blinder, getting the keyboard to morph into Rogers voice, Daves guitar and so on.......taking what is a rough run through of Dogs and Sheep on the Wish You Were Here bonus cd and turn them into the superb polished monoliths that are here. His playing and ability to conjure up powerful moods is overlooked too often in favour of David Gilmours guitar work and Roger Waters Lyrics.
Stuck halfway between the exalted "Wish You Were Here" and the controversy-beset "The Wall", "Animals" remains a relatively publicity-shy Floyd album. Released during the rise of punk rock, it conceded nothing to the new attitude. Just three tracks comprise all but three minutes of the album. Much as I like much of the punk and new wave music, I've never wavered in my liking for "Animals". The track "Dogs" may be seventeen minutes long, but it consists of sustained energy and Roger Waters' vitriol. It is also superbly crafted, allowing the band to stretch out without losing control. As ever, Waters' articulation of his feelings about the human condition, in this case the social workplace, is more incisive than anything produced by more recent songwriters. "Dogs" is a potent combination of the violent and the eerie.
"Pigs", which opens side two, is memorable for some inspired lyrics, such as "You radiate cold shafts of broken glass". It's also widely remembered for its attack on Mary Whitehouse. The pauses between phrases add suspense to your anticipation of what's about to follow. There's a feeling that Floyd are tightening someone's noose.
"Sheep" provides a wonderful climax to the album, driven by a galloping rhythm reminiscent of the bass on "One Of These Days" from "Meddle". There's a macabre interlude in which the "Lord's Prayer" is subverted and an air of maniacal, bloodthirsty laughter. The tiny songs which bookend "Animals", "Pigs On The Wing" (1 and 2) at first appear insignificant, but against the tension of the rest of the album they provide a gentle release.
"Animals" is in the same league as the previous two albums and far better than "The Wall". If you like any of those albums, you'll probably like this.
on 15 November 2001
All I can say about this terrifying album has already been said in the other reviews here. The only word missing from any of those reviews is 'AWESOME'. The sound on the three long tracks 'Dogs', 'Pigs (three different ones)' and 'Sheep' is violent, aggressive and strong. The lyrics were the most powerful to date from Roger Waters. Only his anthologies on 'The Final Cut', 'Radio KAOS' and 'Amused to Death' come close. Even though Animals makes uneasy listening it is compulsive. It is often on my CD player when the wife's out so the volume can be raised a little.
If you are new to Floyd but own 'Echoes' or 'A Collection Of Great Dance Songs' then check out 'Sheep' more closely. The sound/feel of this one track is the same as on Dogs and Pigs. The two ballads on the album, Pigs on the Wing 1 and 2 only amount to 3 minutes of this 42 minute magnum opus and are rare because they are love songs. Love songs on a Floyd album indeed, next there will be comedy. The last time one could laugh with Floyd was back in '69 when they were taking the mick of the Scots in 'Several Species Of Small Furry Animals Gathered Together In A Cave And Grooving With A Pict'.
This is a very bleak, miserable album, cold and desolate but I love it. Nick Mason adds sombre drumming, almost funeral beat in the mid part of Dogs. His traditional cymbal playing is here which just brings enough life to each piece. David Gilmour pours his soul out on any of the guitar solos. Richard Wright's grand piano is fragmented and broken (it's meant to be) so its superb construction makes for an even colder feel. To me, Wright has never matched his piano (not keyboards) playing here. But come the showdown of each piece everyone gels and the finest Hard Rock is produced.
The cover is again by Hipgnosis but Roger had a lot to do with it but not fully credited for it so he fell out with them. Hence, Scarfe on The Wall. Even though the pig on the cover is painted in a real inflatable was used but broke away causing air traffic chaos until it landed in Kent. The photo inside the booklet are more comprehensive than the original LP version and include colour. This does not detract anything from the original artwork. The building used on the cover is Battersea Power Station, London. It is now a shell of its former self but it radiates a menacing coldness which suits this album perfectly.
Musically I cannot liken this to any other album (by any artist). It is simply stunning and unique. This is what George Orwell's 1937 novel "Road To Wigan Pier" set to music would have sounded. Others (Bowie and Rick Wakeman icluded) have tried their hand at an Orwellian approach but this is the best.
Thanks for reading this.
on 27 September 2011
A quick summary would be a simple NO !!
So , my advice , don't dither. If you love this album , as i do , but have previously found the sound harsh , tinny & all in all, a general let down . Rest assured your new umpteenth re purchase will provide you with the best sounding version.
Its not hugely loud , like some re issues (Zep)for instance.this is i think a good thing.
The previous ultra harsh sound has largely gone . The bass de la Rog is full & resonant, There is so much more detail , what was mushy is now clear.The band sound great. Balanced & enjoyable.
Don't get me wrong this is not light & day, but it is a vast improvement.
Pigs 3 different ones , in particular is fantastic.
Buy , Listen & Enjoy
on 31 October 2005
It’s no doubt this album hailed a significant shift in who had the most creative control over the band. Nine years since the departure of Syd Barett from the bands line up, after nine years of working strenuously together, it transpired that for this 1977 album it was Roger Waters, rather then David Gilmour, who contributed most to the output of the band. Five years and two more albums later, this shift in power would lead to the bands temporary demise and a much speculated lawsuit.
This was four years after what is generally acknowledged as Pink Floyd’s finest moment, Dark Side of the Moon, which was no doubt a seminal moment in recording history for a number of reasons. However, by this point the musical climate was changing. Floyd were beginning to be viewed as ‘Dinosaurs’, and a type of music called punk that had been brewing in NYC for many years had exploded onto the scene, changing social and musical attitudes worldwide (although soon the notion of punk music would become as equally contrived as the view of Floyd as a pretentious band for stoners). Floyd had become associated with an old age of hallucinogenic, hippy led space rock, and the long tracks that had peppered their fantastic 1975 album Wish You Were Here only enforced that view.
With those two points in mind, it’s not difficult to see why Animals does have a partly different sound to Floyd’s previous two masterpieces. It is edgier and more guitar driven, Waters (who supplies all the albums vocals) spits with more sarcastic malice then ever before. However, Floyd had thankfully not given up their penchant for epic tracks, and the album’s core three songs all clock in at over ten minutes. In fact, the album keeps many of the aspects that make Floyd such an excellent and unique group, such as the long instrumental sections and the ambient noises (heard here in the form of cows, sheep etc). It has a definite floydian stamp all over it, and that, for me, is why it is one of Floyd’s greatest albums.
With Animals, you get everything brilliant about Floyd cased into fifty minutes. Roger Waters’s lyrics are incredible, drawing on Orwellian influences and making them relevant to 1970’s society. He sounds as disaffected and angry as many a punk rocker on the song ‘Pigs (Three Different Ones)’, and although they give a definite indication to the lyrical directions he would take to an extreme on ‘The Wall’ and ‘The Final Cut’, they are less personal here, making them more relevant and in a sense more affecting.
Although Gilmour has less of a say here then on previous albums, his musicianship is reliably mindblowing, from the atmospheric ‘Dogs’ to the brooding riff on ‘Pigs’. This album stands as possibly the last time in the bands four member period that every member is utilised to the best of their ability.
Also, Unlike ‘The Wall’, which was indeed a sprawling, epic concept album, every track here stands up brilliantly in its own right. There is no filler. Each song is marvellous in its own way, and each could be a classic, yet for some reason the songs from this album do tend to be slightly overlooked. ‘Dogs’ certainly stands alongside ‘Echoes’ as Pink Floyd at their very best, despite the differences between the two songs. Seventeen minutes long, it is a simplistically complex creation which combines some of Water’s greatest lyrics with Gilmour’s mammoth guitar performance to create a warningly malevolent soundscape. The afore mentioned Pigs is a snarling tirade against society, driven by bleak, fast paced guitar and eerie keyboard. Sheep is bizarre, eclectic, but still brilliant, and the first and last tracks, Pigs on The Wing (parts 1 and 2) are both acoustic, and both poignant.
In the history of one of the worlds greatest ever bands, Animals could certainly be viewed as a transition album. Water’s social indignation began to monopolise the lyrics, and other members began to take a back seat when it came to song writing. However, taken out of context, it stands tall as an incredible, still very relevant album, a magical moment when all four members of the band came together one final time to create a small slice of still underrated musical perfection.
Having been disappointed in the lack of diffence in sound quality between the new DSOTM and my old copy I held back on buying this. But as I read the reviews here on Amazon it seemed that perhaps it was worth taking a chance on. And am I glad I did. I'm not some sort of weird audiophile who can talk for hours about the midrange, EQ and compression but I do know what I like. And I like this. I could hear the difference straight away when I compared it with my old copy. Everything sounds clearer and better, but not louder. I could never understand why Animals was seen as the runt of the litter, I prefer it to The Wall. So if you're of a similar opinion but wondering whether this new version is worth your hard earned dosh, the answer is most certainly YES. Afterall as the title of this review says........
‘Animals’ released in 1977 followed on from the seminal recordings DSotM and WYWH, and is where Roger Waters most obviously took over as Pink Floyd’s dominant writer/band leader until his acrimonious split from the band in 1985. Pink Floyd’s collegiate, co-operative partnership gradually gave way to Waters’ political vitriol, which here takes centre-stage: his Orwellian view of Britain bursts with anger and energy, but the result is nevertheless very ambitious with some memorable high-points.
The album is anchored around four long musical pieces themed on different segments of capitalist society: dogs as financiers/industrialists, pigs as politicians and sheep as ‘the masses’ who are essentially controlled and exploited by the other two groups. David Gilmour is credited as composer of only ‘Dogs’, the musical high-point, with the lyrical content penned by Waters. The music for ‘Sheep’ was worked out during the sessions for WYWH and performed during the previous couple of years as ‘Rolling and Drooling’ (you can hear ‘Sheep’ performed onstage and titled as ‘Rolling & Drooling’ as an extra on the extended WYWH remaster).
The 2011 remaster is a great improvement over all previous releases of ‘Animals’. Vocal harmonies are crisp and bright, guitars beautifully balanced and Richard Wright’s virtuoso keyboards anchor these epics to create a very professional sound. Released at the high-point of the British New-Wave movement in 1977, ‘Animals’ makes few concessions to the new sound (i.e. it’s not imitative or ‘sheep-like’) but goes its own confident way. Musically it’s survived the years well, even if its lyrical content now sounds simplistic and dated.
on 6 March 2001
Enter Battersea Power Station and the infamous Flying Pig. Animals is a bleak yet refreshing departure from the Floyd's higher selling albums of the 73-79 period. Haunting acoustic guitars, drums that echo like distant World War II guns, eerie keyboards, rolling bass (a la "early Floyd") and seething guitars paint a desolate landscape. But amazingly this album has a refreshing quality that somehow puts it in a class of its own. Roger Water's Orwellian view of Britain captures the bands eccentric and very English sense of humour, but at the same time asks serious questions about the greater scheme of things. Sheep, downtrodden and aimless. Dogs, predatory and menacing (surely not the products of the Thatcher generation!) and the bellicose, bullying and elitist "Pigs" all contribute to the albums considerable weightiness. So how is it refreshing ? Well simply put and forgive the pun - its got a real bite. Simple as that - Pink Floyd with a real edge.
Dogs is the most ambitious piece. It is a genuine spine tingler. The band build real tension on this track and the rest of the album - you can almost reach out and touch it. Pigs has an almost funky feel and Sheep has the Floyd's trademark throbbing base line. Give a thought though to the keyboards which are beautifully subtle throughout - Richard Wright proving yet again that he really was a vital part of the band's chemistry and what a truly superb album on headphones - revealing both a subtle and sometimes very punchy interplay between the various band members.
I never did quite work out what Pig's on the Wing was all about and the ending to Dogs seems misplaced musically if not lyrically, but I have listened to this album thousands of times and still find it stands the test of time -sometimes I think it's their best. I saw them perform it on their 77 UK tour - so it has a special place for me, but of no doubt it completes a wonderful run of three albums starting with Dark Side of the Moon, then Wish You Were Here and then Animals itself. Oh I hate to go on about it, but the art work is just wonderful.
This was purchased to finally replace my vinyl version .
As I said with my review of Ummagumma, I'm not sure that the remastering actually enhances the original recordings that much but, each to his own.
The high frequencies seem to be muted somewhat but over all, still an excellent example of Pink Floyd at their finest
I'd say again that my biggest complaint is that Animals is supplied simply in a very tight fitting cardboard wrapper.As with Ummagumma it is SO tight that getting the discs out is extremely difficult.
If, like me, you don't want to touch the playing surface with your fingers then you'll be screwed. I transferred mine into library cases immediately.
If you are a Pink Floyd fan then I need say no more. If you're just becoming aware of one of musics greatest ever bands then add this to your collection.