Wet Dream

Richard Wright

Parlophone, 1978


REVIEW BY: Benjamin Ray


In 1978, Richard Wright’s life was something of a mess. He was going through a divorce personally and, in a sense, professionally, having slowly been relegated to little more than a sideman for Pink Floyd. Roger Waters had gained control of the songwriting and themes for the band on 1977’s Animals; as brilliant as that album is, Wright’s keyboard contributions seemed more like space fillers than vital parts of the songs, and it was the first Pink Floyd album for which he had no songwriting credit.

Whether that was due to his depression at the time, the growing acrimony within the band, or his disintegrating marriage, it was clear Wright didn’t have much to offer his current band, but it turned out that he had still been writing songs, and once Floyd went on hiatus after the my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Animals tour, Wright hired a couple of sidemen and released them as Wet Dream. The album was not a big seller; in fact, many Floyd fans may not even be aware of it.

Six of the 10 songs are instrumentals and are the stronger offerings here; the four songs with lyrics are somewhat banal observations about a difficult relationship, written to be generic enough that they could apply to Wright’s marriage or his band. They are pleasant but too slow and ultimately unfulfilling, though fans of Floyd’s early days (where Wright was a bigger presence, pre-Wish You Were Here) will appreciate these.

The instrumentals, by and large, coast by on the Floyd approach of languid space-rock, attempting to set a mood with the keyboards and then adding some guitar (Snowy White, Floyd’s touring guitarist, helps here) or saxophone (Mel Collins, formerly of King Crimson) solos. “Cat Cruise” is the most successful of these, the piano figure insistent as the other instruments slowly come in, followed by a long sax solo and then a quicker drum figure about three minutes in that pushes the song into the second half. “Waves” is almost as good, an acoustic guitar and sax solo, with Wright’s keening single-note keyboard holds.

The closer “Funky Deux” is a departure from the album and Wright’s usual sound; it’s more smooth jazz than funk, but it’s one of the rare times the album has a real pulse. It’s enough to make one wonder how good this album could have been if Wright had gone down this path, rather than a Floyd-lite sound. There’s also a feeling that some of these songs could have been turned into Floyd songs a few years prior, but this was no longer the sound of the band in 1978, as Waters was off writing The Wall and there was little room for the sort of music Wright liked to write.

So Wet Dream ends up as a curio, a tentative solo album with a few interesting passages, worth checking out if you’re idly flicking through Spotify. Note that the album was out of print for a while but is available, not least in the 2023 remix (by Steven Wilson of Porcupine Tree, of course) that brings out the sax and guitar solos.

Rating: C

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