Space pixie Syd Barrett's crowning achievement was ultimately his first and last album recorded under the banner of Pink Floyd, when he was the driving force. Inspired by the harmonies and guitars of the Byrds' "Fifth Dimension" album of 1966, Syd penned the classic space rock opus Interstellar Overdrive and the album's opener Astronomy Domine. Building on the success of the early singles Arnold Layne and See Emily Play, Syd's songwriting talent came to the fore, and although typifying the whimsical edge of British psychedelia of the mid 1960's, his songs always had something extra that prevented them from degenerating into cheesy pop like many others did. Quite simply Piper was the best album of the era, with the driving, sinister Lucifer Sam and simply transcendant Mathilda Mother among the album's strongest cuts, also featuring the complete nonesense Bike song and the I-Ching inspired Chapter 24 among others. All areas of psychedelia were explored and to my mind never bettered by anyone. I used to love Sgt Pepper, but Piper blows it away making it sound overdone and pompous as if the Beatles were cashing in rather than innovating. Many people at the time of the album's release complained that Piper did not actively reflect the band's live music shows, which were apparently even more deranged. Little matter now. Over 30 years later Piper still sends shivers up my spine and makes me grin deliriously. Nothing will ever come close to this record, and I mean nothing. I've been an ardent fan of psychedelia in all it's forms for the past twenty years so I feel reasonably qualified to say this. As an afterthought, I would recommend this album to anyone, even if they are not fans of the era or style of music; this cd just might change your mind.