Reviewed by Nuno on 17 Oct 2002
A quick look at the performers list in this album and you immediately feel that there will be a huge chance of the Tribute to be successful. And the fact is that I feel comfortable with the easy task of reviewing this release. It is obvious at first listen what are the main lines and objectives of this Tribute, and with further exploration, your general ideas will be (I am almost sure of that) very similar to mine.
The first curious particularity of this Tribute is the fact there are only songs from the second (and most prolific) period of Pink Floyd's career. This period is comprised in between the exits of Syd Barrett and Roger Waters. And even inside that period, there are only three albums covered here: The Dark Side of the Moon (Us and Them; Any Colour You Like; Money & Breathe); Wish You Were Here (Welcome To The Machine; Shine On Your Crazy Diamond & Have a Cigar) and The Wall (Another Brick In The Wall Part II; Comfortably Numb; Young Lust & Run Like Hell).
I find it curious because all the other PF tribute albums I have listen to cover most of this bands historic ground: From the psychedelic early years to the post-Waters metamorphic Gilmour’s years.
Talking about the songs here is also talking about quality. PF have always been one of my favourite bands, though through the times it may have lost some of my focused attention, due to my re-discovery of Progressive music which have been proportionate me such excellent surprises.
In this album, all the chosen covers are great songs, with only one half-exception: I never really liked Another Brick In The Wall Part II and so the first track here is the one I tend to dismiss.
Another characteristic that stands out for me in this album is the fact the performers are almost microscopically respecting the original structure of the songs and betting all their talent in the overwhelming soloing units of each song (Comfortably Numb is one of the few tracks here where the original structure is added with a little outside flavour. The Yes factor becomes evident by the middle of the song, though the absence of Jon's vocals tend to hide that factor a bit). That results in the fact this album is mostly a window-shop of guitar virtuosity, due to the fact most of the chosen songs have originally very thoughtful Gilmour solos.
Some good exceptions are:
Scotty Page's Sax solo in Us and Them...Wow!
Steve Porcaro's keyboard solo in Any Colour You Like and Tony Franklin's bass playing, both over-the-top quality performances.
Glen Hughes vocal work in Young Lust is also impressive, extending the hard rock edge of this song to its limits.
And the particularly well-achieved interplay in the final stage of Run Like Hell, with guitar/keys/drums/bass all getting to act passionately.
Off course Levin's bass work in Money is also of notice, but Edgar Winter's Sax is what most stand out in this track. His duel with Kotzen's guitar is awesome.
But if the guitar work is the main reason to praise this album, it's players show a lot of dedication to this cause, providing real bursts of showdown and personal interpretations of original sentimental solos:
Gary Hoey does a very good job in Welcome to the Machine, being the stellar player in this track with his metallic high pitched guitar, despite the presence of keyboardistDerek Sherinian who (surprisingly) passes almost unnoticed.
Sherwood tries a different approach in the third track, as he uses much distorted tones in lengthy sections. Also effective though.
Steve Lukather opens Shine... with an edgy and powerful solo. He really shines on during the whole of the track. His soloing is very peculiar, somewhere between 80's Arena Rock and 70's Hard Rock styled.
Robben Ford has also a good performance in one of the finest versions in this album: Any Colour You Like.
The Kulick brothers rock all over Have a Cigar and Jeff Baxter puts absolute harmony to work in the closing Breathe.
To resume, this is a terrific tribute album! One where it is worthy of praise the commitment of the players but also the careful and very professional production, making each and every sound crystal clear.
It has now my vote for best Tribute album to Pink Floyd, even better than last years "Signs of Life”.
Reviewed by DBSilver on 05 Nov 2002
Boy, Nuno really nailed it with his review on these pages. Pigs and Pyramids is a terrific album.
They could have really gotten it wrong with these now quite old and very familiar songs.
- - They could have done straight covers - the standard so common with tribute albums.
- - They could have updated the songs and interpreted them in a self-indulgent orgy - the other standard so common with tribute albums.
- - They could have avoided the songs from which the original band gained such fame. So many tributes are filled with covers of songs hidden in a band's catalog. (Don't you suppose there is a reason why some songs are rarely heard or remembered in the first place!)
But what happened with Pigs And Pyramies is that they selected some of the most well known Pink Floyd songs and covered them (for the most part) faithfully yet creating significant spaces for interpretation and revitaliztion by the guest performers. On paper, a new recording which covers Money, Run Like Hell, Another Brick (or any of the songs listed), etc. sounds like a bad idea. At least to me it sounds like an album I can certainly pass on.
This is a guitar fan's dream (though most of the guest players have opportunities to shine, not just the guitar).. Original interpretations via some truely cool guitar work over songs that were not changed enough to piss off faithful fans of the original works. The songs are revitalized even as they remain so very familar and retain those qualities that made them popular in the first place.
That's the way to do it Musea! A Tribute album as one of the years better releases. If you have been a fan of Pink Floyds music but find their CDs collecting dust on your shelves then this CD will do it for you. This one is a keeper!