I’ve never got on well with Pink Floyd’s song Atom Heart Mother. Brass bands and psychedelic rock are distantly related musical cousins. Brass tends to present a hard, angular, pragmatic sound, completely at odds with the soft edges favoured by space cadets. And on the evidence of Atom Heart Mother, they mix about as well as oil and water. The brass arrives like an uninvited party guest, and parps and farts to no discernible purpose. To these ears, it sounds like it doesn’t belong there. Still, they tried, so full marks for effort.
Recognising their wrong turn, the band wisely banished the brass, and began to refine what would become their signature sound, a languid music of refined, understated power. Take a trip to Cambridge and follow the River Cam, as it meanders through the gentle furrows of Grantchester Meadows. There are echoes of natural themes throughout their work, and it’s no coincidence that their best music has always worked well outdoors.
But hang on a minute. Fast forward four decades and we stumble across a song called Heavenly Waters by British Sea Power. It’s got a brass band all over it, but seems to be trading on the » Continue Reading.