Atom Heart Mother review by Pink Floyd

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  • Released: Oct 5, 1970
  • Sound: 8
  • Lyrics: 6
  • Overall Impression: 7
  • Reviewer's score: 7 Good
  • Users' score: 8.2 (31 votes)
Pink Floyd: Atom Heart Mother

Sound — 8
The hated child of all the Floyd albums, "Atom Heart Mother" is perhaps a band not knowing where to go. Sounds interesting sometimes. Sounds like rubbish another ones. Nah, perhaps I'm somewhat underrating it. It's the second (after "A Saucerful of Secrets" and it's title track) prog rock album by the band, and the first of two engineered by Alan Parsons (the other being DSOTM). This should be analyzed track-by-track. 01. Atom Heart Mother - first known as "The Amazing Pudding", and co-written by some avant-garde scottish guy called Ron Geesin. The first side long song the band released. It's 23m 39s long (beating Echoes for about 8 seconds), and it's a classical suite. The first 15 and a half minutes are a deserved classic. The menacing (though at the start it annoyed me) brass intro "Father's Shout", with a lot of motorcycle and horse noises. Then the great statement of the trumpets to come into some riffage of the bass and the organ. Then a 5-minute somewhat long but not bad choir section. Then, the precursor of "Any Colour You Like", a 5 minute jam on which guitarist David Gilmour shines, with a good bass riff from Roger Waters. A brief reprise of the main theme. For me, usually, that's all. After that, a lot of horrible mellotron (? ) notes and loads of noises and "special effects" come in for annoying 3 minutes. Then it gets repetitive, until a very long and high note from choir and brass. End of side one. 02. If - a beautiful folky ballad by Waters, like those present in "Ummagumma" or "More". Easily the best song here. 03. Summer 68' - a Beach Boys-esque piano pop song by keyboardist Rick Wright. Catchy, upbeat, shiny. Contrasts with the rest of the album. 04. Fat Old Sun - a pastoral rock song by Gilmour. At sometime it was my favourite song from here, but, well, it was somewhat boring, but that ending solo is frigging great! Damn! The start of Gilmour's classic solos. 05. Alan's Psychedelic Breakfast - a misguided experiment. Feat. roadie Alan Stiles (who made it to the cover of "Ummagumma"'s live album), the guy prepares and eats his breakfast with some "ambient music" (three rudimentary instrumentals). Funny at the first time, plain stupid the second one. Anyway, is a bit interesting 'cause when you turn on the volume at a high level you'll be able to hear a lot of background noises, and if you own a LP copy, you gotta hear the final sound (the dripping) as the inner groove, repeting endlessly (ala "Sgt. Pepper").

Lyrics — 6
01. Title Track - you gotta be kidding, it's almost instrumental. 02. If - the best lyrics here. Reminds you a lot of "Brain Damage", and has some Syd Barrett-related themes. 03. Summer 68' - wright sings about a one-night stand with a groupie. Very interesting thing, especially in 1970. 04. Fat Old Sun - it invites you to go to the country. Very folky and pastoral. Gilmour would revisit this themes in 2006's "On an Island". 05. Alan's Psychedelic Breakfast - a roadie in acid.

Overall Impression — 7
Well, like "Saucerful", it's a transitional effort, Floyd in the crossroads, not going where to go, or fearing that they would be relics of 1967. An interesting release, but no so strong as the following, er, five. Anyway, it's no a BAD album by any means, it's main problem is that it's unaccesible (even if it hit the number one in the UK, and was their first Top 100 album in the US). However, you can enjoy a taste of it now and then.

13 comments sorted by best / new / date

    I like all floyd albums(yes even; more,final cut,momentary lapse)But not this one. IF is a nice song thats is.
    I hated the suite on my first few listens. Then I decided to give it one more try. I sat down with a good set of earphones and really tried to listen hard. And guess what? It all came together and made sense. The suite is majestic and inspiring - after a few listens of course! The other songs are good, except for the Breakfast song, which is anti-climatic and silly. One of my favourite albums!
    Ah yes an album to listen to when your In a meditative stae of mind.If somebody was wondering what been on a hood acid trip was like,just tell em to listen to this.
    I've heard the suite many times and the rest of the album once or twice and I definitely plan on making this my next pink Floyd album purchase.
    Tele Echoes
    ^ You would get a collective bitch slap if the band ever heard you say that. Despite the parts of genius spread throughout the title track, there are large chunks of the song that leave you wondering "hey, where did the music go?" The track "Atom Heart Mother" is a great idea, and the parts that are done right are masterful. The only sad part is that they didn't find anything to put in between these bits of genius.This is another one of those long ass 20 plus minute songs (like Echoes,ASFOS), followed by "If I", which is a very dry, depressing, but overall pleasant sounding solo piece from Roger Waters. The song seems to either be about Syd, or about Roger's own personal fears of insanity, since I'm sure Roger wouldn't say Syd wasn't a good man for not talking to hiim more often than he did. "Summer Of 68" is a song that has a very early Floyd sound, which is fitting since Rick had much more influence on the music in the 60s ("Paint Box", anyone?), and it's a pretty darn good lively tune to branch "If I" and "Fat Old Sun" together. Well at least for an album as strange as this one was. Last but not least, "Fat Old Sun" is by far the best of the solo compositions on the album, with it's sweet melodic tide and Gilmour's soothing, parental lullaby-style singing, this song could put you to sleep, that is if you weren't too wrapped up in it's genius. Out of the 3 choices to use as the last song, this was the best. I won't mention that crap collage because while it may have been good fun recording, it doesn't belong on the album. While this album holds a soft place in my heart (We share the October 10th release date, while I was released in 1988...), it is very much hated by both David Gilmour and Roger Waters. Roger claimed this to be a dust bim album, while Gilmour claims that he's glad that he's at a point in his career that he'll never have to play what he feels is absolute crap. I believe they've been confusing Atom Heart Mother with Ummagumma...
    Tele Echoes
    "which is considered by Gilmour to be another stepping stone to the creation of "Dark Side Of The Moon" and to the climactic completion of the Pink Floyd" Actually David Gilmour has claimed countless times that this album wasn't them moving forward at all, just lost in the dark....You're either full of bullshit, or you're putting words in my heroes mouth. Either way, cut it out.
    Tele Echoes
    Maybe you're thinking of "Meddle", since that's the actually album the band feels was the giant song writing leap that led to DSOTM. That's also fittingly to album that preceeds DSOTM.
    Obscured by Clouds is a much more DSOTM 'stepping stone' candidate than this, or meddle, or Saucerful of Secrets
    in my opinion, the whole record is majestic, starting by the title track, maybe, as said before, they didn't knew how to link the whole parts, but I think that everything in this song is perfect, I also enjoy the rest of the album; my least favorite is alan's psych breakfast because in my opinion they weren't able to fit each of the parts with some bridges, so they used alan's breakfast... I've heard gilmour says the's glad he doesn't have to play this stuff anymore, but I find that contradicting, since he played fat old sun in his last tour, and also had a one night show with ron geesin in which he played the suite...
    Everyone's review of APB is sorta poor. If you're looking for music, then sure it's pretty dull. If you're frying, tripping, or looking for something that takes you back on a trip, this is the track. Still a great track regardless, nothing you can over-listen to, but is a nice listen every time it shows up on my shuffle playlist