PINK FLOYD The Division Bell (EMI)

Heck, if it takes The Floyd (man!) seven years to make an album I don’t see why I shouldn’t wait a year to get round to listening to it! But seriously, why do they bother? Is David "Accountant" Gilmour not rich enough? Does Nick "I Collect Ferraris, Me" Mason need another city runabout? Why does Rick Wright always look so bemused these days? Should we be grateful that they still exist, in name at least, to turn out bland, featureless, turgid wastes of aluminium such as this? How can anyone take this album seriously after DG’s recent concert announcements that "the stuff you want to hear (i.e. songs from "Dark Side Of The Moon", "Wish You Were Here" and "The Wall", many co-written with one Roger Waters) is coming up later"? "What do you want from me?" demands the big guy two tracks in - like, why did you have to ask? How about a half-decent album that doesn’t sound like a Spitting Image parody of your (very) former glory days, or a record cover that doesn’t look like you’re taking the piss out of your old ones, or even, whisper it, some enthusiasm? Better still, you could get back with Rog, and see if the two of you can bash your vitriol- and lucre-addled heads together in a creative and ground-breaking fashion, instead of trying to advance the course of music retailing by releasing absurdly long live albums with flashing LEDs on the cover. Just a thought.

The last track’s quite good, by the way.

PINK FLOYD 1967 The First 3 Singles (EMI)

Nearly eighteen minutes of bite-sized nuggets of Syd’s Pink Floyd, in the form of the A and B-sides of their first three singles, available free to buyers of two or more Floyd CDs or for the eminently reasonable sum of around 6 if you’ve got them all already. The reason for this largesse has something to do with the 30th anniversary reissue of "The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn" in its apparently original and superior mono mix - a bit retro even for me, although sadly EMI still haven’t bowed to public pressure and made it available on open reel again.

Anyway, what you get for your six quid is four songs you’ve probably got already ("Arnold Layne", "See Emily Play", "Scarecrow" and "Paint Box") as well as two suitably unhinged rarities in the form of "Candy And A Currant Bun" and "Apples And Oranges". Suffice it to say that if the Floyd could get to number six in the popular music charts with something as melodically twisted and scary as "See Emily Play" you probably don’t need telling how out of it their flop singles and B-sides could sound. Still, for me the best track here is Rick Wright’s "Paint Box", a fine piano-led tale of urban lost-love, reinforcing my impression that Syd made his best music away from the artistic straightjacket of the beat ensemble format.

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