By LA Weekly
By Henry Rollins
By Weekly Photographers
By Shea Serrano
By Nate "Igor" Smith
By Dan Weiss
By Erica E. Phillips
By Kai Flanders
Obviously Barrett’s hilarity has more charm (”Arnold Layne,“ about a clothesline klepto, is a darker laugh each listen). And while Syd‘s five tracks stand out and up, Waters is hardly humorless, and his secular lyrics put fellow progmetal pens to shame. But more than that, it’s the ensemble elegance of their ‘70s staples (”Time,“ ”Comfortably Numb,“ ”One of These Days,“ ad nauseam), the spacing and pacing, the architectonic sprawl and understanding that less is not more, which sucks you in. I mean, do we really need to hear ”The Great Gig in the Sky,“ with its pensive piano and female orgasm vocal, again? That’s not our shot to call.
To be sure, Echoes commits sins of commission and omission. Certain cuts don‘t cut it, and several classics didn’t make the cut. ”The Fletcher Memorial Home“ and ”When the Tigers Broke Free“ are anguished Waters swipes at masters of war, but one such Joe Strummer--ish bummer should‘ve sufficed. Meanwhile, there are five post-Waters, watered-down Gilmour efforts, when two (the instrumental ”Marooned“ and the lovably lightweight ”Learning To Fly“) would do. This might’ve freed space for ”Interstellar Overdrive,“ ”Careful With That Axe, Eugene“ and ”On the Run“ -- not to mention ”Pigs (Three Different Ones),“ the heaviest hitter on Animals and the inspiration for that creatable inflatable. And while we‘re on that subject, what’s up with the pig? What does it symbolize? Everything? Nothing? The band? Their fans?
In a sense, it can‘t help but stand for the band. I’m not talking greedy piggies (though Dark Side sells 8,000 copies a week and Echoes sold 215,000 to enter at No. 2), I‘m thinking more about Power. Personally I don’t mind, I get off on it. I never accepted the ”faceless“ gripe about Floyd, that prejudice against arena rock. The notion that performers are no better than listeners -- that premise of punk is bunk. Why do we pay all that money to look up at them on a pedestal? Because they deliver the goods.
Yes, if nothing else, Echoes reminded me that I like my stars like the ones above: distant and cold. It‘s not as if I’d rather have dinner with Roger Waters than Joe Strummer. Waters is an idiot, too. But he‘s one with enough guts to confront the irony of artist turned fascist -- and hopefully one with enough heart, let alone brains up in that pig head, to go out with a bang and not just a ka-ching.