That legal proceedingsthat interview insultsthe anger pull-citation headers over all matters Pink Floyd – it has been depressing to watch Roger Waters and David Gilmourthe once-in-a-lifetime yin-yang of an absolutely fantastic rock band that constantly looms large in the public eye.
Part of that is the fan adoration talking. Who wouldn’t prefer the fairytale notion of all former bandmates remaining friends and preserving legacies above all else? But in this case it’s also a practical concern: A “new” remix of Animalsthe band’s 1977 LP, was completed in 2018, but liner note disputes (yes, seriously) contributed to the project’s long delay.
Ironically the original Animals offered the last taste of their creative balance. Of course, you could argue for their follow-up from 1979, The wall – a concept album spearheaded almost entirely by Waters – as Pink Floyd’s masterpiece. But Animalssonically at least, highlighted the old-school all-hands-on-deck spirit that defined their ’70s peak.
Not to say that the mood was fully democratic. Gilmour (guitar and vocals) and Richard Wright (keyboards), both of whom had made significant contributions The dark side of the moon and Wish you Were Here, was less involved this time: Between the two, only one co-write managed (Gilmour on the 17-minute “Dogs”). Yet unlike The wallwhich often sounds like Waters with elite backing, Animals often more about atmosphere and mood than conventional songwriting anyway – Waters’ lyrical concept, comparing human foibles to animal behavior, creates an underlying darkness upon which the musicians build.
Gilmour has never played with more naked aggression, from the gritty talk-box and funky slap bass of “Pigs (Three Different Ones)” to his syncopated acoustic drum beats and harmonized leads on “Dogs”. Wright, although he was never as confident as he was Wish you Were Hereremains a master of texture: His glowing electric piano intro to “Sheep” is pivotal to that track, creating a sense of jazzy introspection that’s gradually uprooted and undermined over 10-plus minutes.
James Guthrie’s remix offers no major revelations – Animals, like most Floyd albums of the intervening period, was already perfect on a fidelity level. The changes here are interesting, but subtle, modernizing the sound a bit: punchier drums and more prominent vocal effects on “Pigs (Three Different Ones),” a more pronounced break from Waters’ shouted vocals into the swirling synth during the verses of “Sheep” .” (An odd choice: The tasty little bass riff at 4:25 of “Dogs” sounds noticeably quieter.)
Fans will likely argue the merits of one version over the other. Fair enough, really – it wouldn’t be a Pink Floyd project without some drama.
Pink Floyd Albums Ranked
Three different eras, one fantastic band.