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Porcupine Tree - Lightbulb Sun CD (album) cover

LIGHTBULB SUN

Porcupine Tree

 

Heavy Prog

4.02 | 1505 ratings

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LakeGlade12
3 stars 3.5. Not their brightest moment.

Lightbulb Sun (LS) is very much a transitional album. Their psychedelic past is close to gone and for the first time metal is being added to their sound. Don't get me wrong there is no where near as much metal compared to their later albums, but it is definitely there. While there are some interesting ideas to be found on LS, their execution is a mixed bag which is unusual for the band.

"Lightbulb Sun" is a fairly standard PT track. It uses their trademark soft-heavy sound to good effect, with a few psychedelic sounds and lyrics (a ill taking medicine that sends him to sleep) for good measure. A solid start.

"How Is Your Life Today?" is the only true psychedelic song on the album, although that is the only noteworthy thing about it. Its a simple piano driven track that puts a paranoid twist on the daily routine of life. As with most old PT songs there is plenty of sound effects and distortion to keep things interesting.

"Four Chords That Made A Million" is a criticism of the music industry and bands with unoriginal songs that rake in a fortune. Ironically this is a plain and simple pop/rock song that was released as a single and it happens to be my least favourite on the album. It also happens to be very repetitive and one-dimensional, so their own message backfires badly against them!

"Shesmovedon" follows the same soft-heavy structure as the title track, but the "heavy" section goes into metal territory. They do a good job with the metal here and there is a fierce instrumental towards the end. It is also incredibly catchy! Best song so far.

"Last Chance To Evacuate Planet Earth Before It Is Recycled" is a song of two half's. The first is a simple but pleasant acoustic track and a good breather after the heaviness of the last song. The second half is a very beautiful instrumental with a speaker talking in the background (like that on Signify). The two parts work well together and it is the most original song so far.

Both "The Rest Will Flow" and "Where We Would Be" make for upbeat and easy listening pop songs. Nothing Proggy about them but they are very nice to listen to. "Hatesong" starts moody and tense and builds into a full blown metal track. Unfortunately the metal part is too one-dimensional and doesn't go anywhere. The band would later improve this track which can be found on the "Arriving Somewhere..." DVD.

"Russia On Ice" starts with gentle ambience which lasts a while. Tense and subdued vocals come in which acts as the unsettled calm before the storm. Suddenly a orchestral outburst occurs and all the tension has been replaced with pure beauty. This does not last as the second half of the song is essentially one massive build-up. This is the best part of the album as they combine their ambient/psychedelic skills with frantic metal to masterful effect. The song closes with the same ambience that opened it. This is the only A-grade PT track on the album and the main reason to get this album. "Feel So Low" finishes things off on a very slow and downbeat note.

This is still a good album, but their high points are less common and their low points are much worse than usual. Transitional albums are usually a mixed bag and this is no exception. They learnt their mistakes and improved things dramatically with their next release. 3.5 stars rounded down.

LakeGlade12 | 3/5 |

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