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Porcupine Tree - Stupid Dream CD (album) cover

STUPID DREAM

Porcupine Tree

 

Heavy Prog

3.98 | 1005 ratings

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Casartelli
5 stars Whereas most current progressive rock bands do not come that much further than replicating the music of the 70s, Porcupine Tree was and is one of those bands where the word 'progressive' might be taken quite literally. On their way from more ambient and space rock oriented records like Up The Downstair, a more poppy route was taken from Signify on, but it's not until Stupid Dream that everything really comes together. Radiohead is a really obvious influence (The Bends as well as OK Computer, although only the former is directly alluded to during the album), but Steven Wilson really manages to make it his own thing.

The record does not have many extreme peaks, but that's mostly its strength: the songs are of a constant, very high level. Most songs are more in alternative rock vein than in classic prog. Tracks like Piano Lessons, Pure Narcotic, Baby Dream In Cellophane and Stranger By The Minute come close to pure pop, but it's pop at the highest level. Opener Even Less is a rocker of sorts. The later "Recordings" record would show an "unedited" version (lasting about 14 minutes instead of 7), but having known this version the longest, this really feels like the definitive version to me.

As a centerpoint in the PT discography, this album also points a bit at where the band would go in the near future: Don't Hate Me is the type of neo-psychedelica that would also fit the longer songs on follower Lightbulb Sun. The climax of Tinto Brass points a bit in the direction of In Absentia and further.

Porcupine Tree is a very interesting band that has taken a lot of different directions in less than twenty years, but this record is their definitive gem. Not only PT's best, but one of the best prog albums of the 90s overall.

Casartelli | 5/5 |

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