Sound — 9
While touring for "The Piper at the Gates of Dawn", frontman Syd Barrett started to show signs of madness. Was it too much acid? We'll never know. Anyway, when he didn't play note, a friend of him that Barrett met on school (and almost a friend of the band) replaced him in the guitar: david Gilmour. Barrett would subsequently write only one song and (apparently) play in other two in the band sophomore album. "A Saucerful of Secrets" is a good follow-up to the legendary 1967 album. The opening track "Let There Be More Light" features a great riff and ending guitar section by Gilmour. Keyboardist Richard Wright contributes (in his first solo credit) two somewhat boring but not bad by any means songs ("Rembember a Day" and "See-Saw"). Barrett contributes the closing piece, the sad "Jugband Blues", the song itself is great, but well, is not superior to his creative peaks showcased in "Piper" or in his first solo album "The Madcap Laughs". Bassist Roger Waters is the main contributor; apart from "Let There Be More Light", he contributes "Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun" (almost a mantra! ), with the best bass riff he created ever. Is almost mystical, with great keyboards and drumming, the latter courtesy of Nick Mason, and is the best number here. However, Waters still had to improve his songwriting skills, with the contribution of the funny but flawed "Corporal Clegg". Finally, by combining the ideas of the 4 members (without Barrett, who left in early 1968), we have the menacing title track, one of the earliest prog rock pieces, and a definite highlight of the record. Great drumming and disonance sections, and the climax section (when bass comes in and a choir makes an apperance) is almost celestial.
Lyrics — 8
The best lyrical effort is "Set the Controls", and I don't care that they were a rip-off of an ancient philosophy book or something like that (except for the title). Also, we have a sad farewell (and a portrait of a man's mental breakdown) from Barrett and his "Jugband Blues", and the spacier "Let There Be More Light", with intriguing sci-fi lyrics that even reference The Beatles ("was Lucy in the sky"). "Corporal Clegg" lyrics are almost a reminder that 15 years later Waters would release "The Final Cut". The only mistakes in this aspect are the two Wright compositions, that certainly showed that if he was a lyricist, he wasn't a great one.
Overall Impression — 8
This is a transitional effort, a bridge between the psychedelic era and experimental era, perhaps after Barrett left the band they feared that they were going to become in relics of the era (something confirmed by Mason in the "Live At Pompeii" video, and that almost got dissipated in 1973). Still, a good album. If you liked "The Piper at the Gates of Dawn", you'll probably find this one either good or interesting this one.