Tuesday, March 02, 2010

CD of the Day: ‘Obscured By Clouds,’ Pink Floyd (1972)

Pink Floyd was asked to record this album in early 1972 as a soundtrack to a hippie French film no one would ever see. The result is one of the band’s underrated gems and a prelude to “Dark Side of the Moon,” which they’d record a few months later.

Not a single cut from “Obscured By Clouds” made it onto the band’s 2001 double-disc greatest hits collection, but it nevertheless contains at its center two of my favorite Floyd tracks: “The Gold It’s in the …,” one of the most straightforward rockers they ever wrote (think big Neil Young-type hammer chords), and “Wot’s … Uh, the Deal,” a sweeping acoustic number that would sound right at home next to “Wish You Were Here.”

It also features three instrumental tracks that portend the grand gestures to come on “Dark Side.” The only flaw is the awful mishmash of final track “Absolutely Curtains,” but considering this was basically a throwaway project to begin with, the rest of the album more than makes up for this misstep with outstanding tracks like “Childhood’s End” and “Free Four.”

“Obscured By Clouds” is a loose, wildly entertaining little Floydian anomaly that gets obscured by the even greater work on albums that came immediately after.

Grade: A-

Favorite Track: “The Gold It’s in the …”

Least Favorite Track: “Absolutely Curtains”

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