If THE MADCAP LAUGHS showed Syd Barrett's paring down his songs into their basic components to reveal their inner workings, then BARRETT is the fruition of that process. While BARRETT is not a tremendous departure from what Barrett had been working on earlier, it seems to have benefited from Rick Wright taking Roger Waters's place alongside David Gilmour in the producer's chair. (If Waters had trouble "getting" Barrett in the context of Floyd, then there was little chance of a sympathetic ear during the solo sessions.)
Wright and Gilmour also accompany Barrett on much of the material. Their tasteful blend of murmured bass, harmonium, and piano nicely complements Barrett's acoustic strumming and the album's slower pace and slightly darker mood, providing a counterpoint to Barrett's dislike of conventional song structure. From the seemingly paranoid free-association of "Rats" to the dirge "Maisie," Barrett seems to be channeling his wounded psyche directly to the vinyl. But just when you think you've heard it all, Barrett surprises with the beautiful (and almost conventional) "Gigolo Aunt." The importance of the contributions that Syd Barrett--a man simultaneously years ahead and years behind the times--made to music are undeniable.