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Finding their feet: 1968–1970:
This period was one of musical experimentation for the band. Gilmour, Waters and Wright each contributed material that had its own voice and sound, giving this material less consistency than the Barrett-dominated early years or the more polished, collaborative sound of later years. As Barrett had been the lead singer during his era, Gilmour, Waters and Wright now split both songwriting and lead vocal duties. Waters mostly wrote low-key, jazzy melodies with dominant bass lines and complex, symbolic lyrics, Gilmour focused on guitar-driven blues jams, and Wright preferred melodic psychedelic keyboard-heavy numbers. Unlike Waters, Gilmour and Wright preferred tracks that had simple lyrics or that were purely instrumental. Some of the band’s most experimental music is from this period, such as “A Saucerful of Secrets,” consisting largely of noises, feedback, percussions, oscillators and tape loops, and “Careful with That Axe, Eugene” (which went by a number of other names as well), a very Waters-driven song with a bass and keyboard-heavy jam culminating in crashing drums and Waters’ primal screams.
Whilst Barrett had written the bulk of the first album, only one composition by him, the Piper outtake “Jugband Blues”, appeared on the second Floyd album. A Saucerful of Secrets was released in June 1968, reaching #9 in the UK and becoming the only Pink Floyd album not to chart in the U.S. Somewhat uneven due to Barrett’s departure, the album still contained much of his psychedelic sound combined with the more experimental music that would be fully showcased on Ummagumma. Its centrepiece, the 12-minute title track, hinted at the epic, lengthy songs to come, but the album was poorly received by critics at the time, although critics today tend to be kinder to the album in the context of their body of work. Future Pink Floyd albums would expand upon the idea of long, sprawling compositions, offering more focused songwriting with each subsequent release. [via ChrisGoesRock]
Tracklisting after the jump…