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Porcupine Tree - Stupid Dream CD (album) cover

STUPID DREAM

Porcupine Tree

 

Heavy Prog

3.99 | 1291 ratings

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tomprog
3 stars I originally explored Porcupine Tree after listening to and loving Steven Wilsons solo works. This came as a surprise seen as my musical preference is symphonic prog, a different sub genre in itself. In 1998, Porcupine Tree released this album, Stupid Dream. It was their first exploration of a slightly more commercial, melodic change of sound for a band that go though phases, ending up with the current alternative 'prog' metal in the albums to come (In Absentia, FOABP).

The album kicks off with a standout track, a fantastic 7 minute ride with the name 'Even Less'. The song starts out with a slow, guitar riff led introduction, before the rest of the band kicks in playing along with the riff, immediately portraying a changed sound from the Porcupine Tree albums that came before (Signify, The Sky Moves Sideways). The song continues at a great pace and has a great chorus, however, the slower middle section I find tends to outstay it's welcome, this could have turned this song from good to brilliant. Nevertheless, this song is still highly enjoyable and a favourite among porcupine tree fans.

The next three songs, Piano Lessons, Stupid Dream (a short instrumental) and Pure Narcotic are simple, melodic songs that cause no offense, but tire with repeated listens. Pure Narcotic being the most enjoyable song here. Slave Called Shiver follows with some great bass playing from Edwin on show.

The next highlight of the album comes in the form of 'Don't Hate Me', a melancholic but strangely uplifting song that Steven Wilson intended to be a duet (which can be heard on Steven Wilsons 2016 release 4 and a half). This song comes with great lyrics and a memorable chorus.

Another 'commercial' (by porcupine tree standards) number comes in the form of 'this is no rehearsal', again pleasant the first few times but unmemorable. This is followed by the slightly disturbing 'baby dream in cellophane', that haunts in the verses but lightens up in the chorus.

'Stranger by the minute' is my personal favourite and the most memorable song on the album, a pleasant listen that improves, rather than deteriorates with further listens. The melody to this song is fantastic with great understanding between Chris Maitland on the drums and Colin Edwin on the bass, making for a great rhythm section. Steven Wilsons vocals also shine on this track with him adding in his own vocal harmonies, making for a pleasing listening experience.

Up next are two songs, A Smart Kid and Tinto Brass, neither which I have much love for. A Smart Kid starts well but never really goes anywhere musically speaking. Tinto Brass is possibly the most progressive song on the album, with its odd moments, but for me fails to be a coherent piece of work. However, the last song on the album, stop swimming, ends an album in typical Steven Wilson style (I drive the hearse, Happy Returns/ Ascendant Here on... , Feel so low etc.). It's a thoughtful song that ends the album on a high note.

Overall, not Porcupine Trees best but a distinct change in direction, featuring songs that stand up with their best. But however, there are too many fillers for this to be considered as one of their best albums.

tomprog | 3/5 |

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