Wedged between the Syd Barrett years and post-Dark Side Of The Moon megastardom, Meddle is often considered the ‘lost’ Pink Floyd album, ignored and underrated. As is reiterated throughout, this hour-long feature takes it upon itself to set the record straight.
It’s a shame, then, that the first half is dedicated to a washedout history of the band, from inception to Meddle-predecessor Ummagumma. While contextualizing the album, it’s both too brief to do so thoroughly and too long for a film of this nature. What follows is a discussion dominated by revered music scribes, whose work between them graces nearly every national music magazine and a range of books. Although their views are sporadically repetitive, they combine critical scrutiny with clear enthusiasm, dropping in anecdotal musings for good measure.
With the penny’s worth of thoughts from Yes founder Pete Banks and Soft Machine’s Hugh Hooper, the absence of any direct input from the Floyd is almost excusable. Disappointingly, though, their presence is instead replaced by awkward freeze-frame quotes littered carelessly throughout: a far cry from the exclusive interviews and insights given for the Classic Album series’ appraisal of Dark Side Of The Moon.
Ironically, this takes on a life akin to its topic: occasionally essential, yet too often disposable to be considered classic.