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.