After sitting on the shelf for a couple of years while Roger Waters reignited his feud with David Gilmour over an essay he wanted to have in the sleeve-notes (none of the other Floyd reissues have one), the remixed version of Pink Floyd’s 1977 album Animals finally gets released.
It was the only Floyd album to be recorded at their Brittania Row studio, and the sound of Animals is as bleak as Waters’s stark, Orwellian view of the world over three lengthy songs that the comparative tenderness of the two book-ending acoustic pieces does nothing to dispel.
The fact that the band were sinking into an autocracy at the same time simply adds to the grim atmosphere. The remix, particularly the 5.1 surround-sound version, separates the densely layered tracks to reveal Floyd’s trademark attention to detail, but the resulting sound feels hollowed out and brittle rather than enhanced, and the vocoded barks grunts and bleats, not to mention Waters’s own vitriolic remix of the 23rd psalm on Sheep, are even more harrowing.
Younger listeners may also be curious about the identity of Mary Whitehouse, the contemporary moral guardian who is another target of Waters’s ire.