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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Pink Floyd

Animals

Review by Gary Hill

I know a lot of people really focus on Dark Side of the Moon, The Wall, and possibly Wish You Were Here as the highpoints of Pink Floyd's career. Personally, I will take Animals over any of those discs, although I appreciate all of those, as well. I just feel that the three epics presented here, overlooking the short opening and closing numbers represent the best of everything that Pink Floyd is in a very listenable and potent way. They seem to be related tracks while all having their own identity. If you don't already have this one, and like Pink Floyd, by all means pick it up.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2003 Year Book Volume 1 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Pigs On The Wing (Part One)
This acoustic opener, with its companion/reprise, serves as bookends to the CD, but I truly have always regarded them as throwaways and often skip them.
Dogs
Now, this is more like it! Starting with mellow, but fast paced guitar strumming, this builds slowly, but when the vocals enter, they bring a strong intensity. This one doesn't wander far structurally from its beginnings but because the band does such a good job of embellishing that structure, it never really seems to lag or get boring. Indeed, you will be hard pressed to even notice that the structure is fairly static. This along with the next two tracks, is arguably one of the best the band has ever produced. At over 17 minutes, this is the longest cut on the album, and certainly fits into the epic category.
Pigs- Three Different Ones
This is a faster harder rocking cut, but no more or no less potent than the previous one. There isn't a lot to say about this one except that it feels a lot like it fulfills the potential of what a lot of The Wall could have been. This one clocks in at 11 and a half minutes in length. The "pig" solo segments (actually a talk box) are a very cool touch.
Sheep
Another long one, coming in at over 10 minutes, this is the most dynamic cut on the album. Amidst the sounds of sheep grazing in the background a Fender Rhodes plays a rather rocking melody. As this continues a bass line, much like the one in "One of These Days" (appropriate as this cut is about sheep waiting to be lead to slaughter) comes gradual in, the moves to the fore. The track shifts abruptly to a hard-edged segment with the words "Harmlessly passing your time in the grassland away." This rocks out harder and more ominously than anything else on the disc. It drops to a more atmospheric jam that calls to mind Wish You Were Here before jumping back up in intensity. After an extended jam it drops back to more weirdness, this time accompanied by the sounds of sheep and what can best be described as a spoken (I guess you could call it that) "Sheep's Prayer". As the number resolves forth from there it is transformed to a becoming frantically charged and extremely powerful. The ending segment here is incredibly strong!
Pigs On The Wing (Part Two)
The disc ends with the other bookend.
 
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