Surely every metalhead knows or at least knows of Pink Floyd. This colossal British band dating back the 1960s has been a seminal influence for any number of top musicians, including the likes of Mikael Akerfeldt of Opeth, Steven Wilson of Porcupine Tree and Arjen Lucassen of Ayreon and other projects.
The Floydian influence extends well beyond metal. Modern progressive rock, psychedelic rock and space rock also bow often to Floyd.
Unless you own the 1975 album Wish You Were Here, the chances are that you haven’t heard “Shine On You Crazy Diamond” in its entirety. It’s my favourite Floyd composition. It was included on the original album as a nine-part suite split into two movements, one at the start and the other at the end of the album. “Best Of” collections and compilations usually include a shortened version. Splice the two original movements into one long piece, however, and you have one of the most beautiful prog rock symphonies imaginable.
Indulge yourself for about 26 minutes.
I tip my hat to Mr. Claypool and his brigade of amphibious creatures. They could have just covered a single song off of Pink Floyd’s masterpiece (and my favorite PF record), Animals. But Les had too much respect for the album, and to break it up, he felt would hurt the records integrity, so he just covered the whole darn thing. And he released it as an official Les Claypool’s Frog Brigade live album to boot: Live Frogs Set 2. So not only do you get the Claypool take on a classic album, but you get to hear it with wonderfully captured live energy as well as quality sound quality (if you ever purchased a bootleg of another band doing this kind of thing, you know how bad the audio recording can get). I really can not speak enough of how great the sound quality of this record is, hats off to the production and recording team.
Les’ take on Animals is pretty straight forward not changing anything and staying true to the way Roger Waters composed it. But, given that Claypool carries such a unique bass playing style as well as a peculiar voice, it would be impossible for him to replicate Animals note for note. When compared to the original the low ends are a lot fuller and much more pronounced with many blue notes added in. His voice also fits in perfectly with his oddball croon being a nice change of pace from Roger Waters rather pedestrian voice. The rest of the band also does some outstanding work giving due respect to the source material. I particularly like how saxophonist, Shriek, was able to replicate many of the sound effects heard on the original with his saxophone and Jay Lane’s excellent drumming working well with Claypool’s occasional improvised bits.
After listening to both records back to back, I have to say, I almost prefer Claypool’s rendition to the original, almost. And while there is plenty of the Claypool personality and improved moments crammed in, I do wish he deviated from the original a bit more to give it a more Claypool-ish spin to it. Nonetheless, it’s an excellent homage to Claypool’s favorite band and a wonderful cover that all fans of the original should listen to. Enjoy!! Peace Love and Metal!!!
Listen to the cover after the jump: