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Porcupine Tree - Deadwing CD (album) cover


Porcupine Tree


Heavy Prog

4.11 | 1983 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars "Did you ever imagine the last thing you'd hear as you're fading out, is a song?"

The release of this album was delayed due to the "overwhelming number of advanced orders" which were placed for it. It is reassuring in this day and age that such a healthy demand still exists for any band listed in these archives, but particularly for one which makes such high quality music.

Porcupine Tree have come a long way from their early albums to the major label act they are now. Their music may have gradually become more accessible along the way, but they have also progressed with each album, and band leader Steve Wilson has consistently demonstrated a willingness to experiment and diversify.

The sleeve notes advise that "Deadwing" is "based on a screenplay by Steve Wilson and Mike Bennion", but do not make the mistake of thinking this is a soundtrack album. There are nine tracks in total, plus a hidden tenth track on the US version, a reworking of "Shesmovedon" from the "Lightbulb sun" album.

The opening title track is simultaneously a leap forward and a nod to the past. The mellotron style keyboard washes offer the retrospective element, while the progressive arrangement of this upbeat 10 minute classic creates one of the most compelling pieces recorded by the band.

Some of the tracks here accentuate the accessible and commercial side of the band's current music with songs such as "Shallow" and "Halo" being simplistic in structure. The sound of such tracks will probably appeal primarily to those who head for the metal end of the spectrum. The strong rhythms and accentuated guitar riffs are kept uncomplicated and clean.

On the other hand, we have the gentle "Lazarus", one of the most beautiful songs recorded by the band. The string synth/mellotron and slide guitar complement a delightful vocal by Wilson on this emotive ballad.

The feature track though, and good enough reason alone to buy this album, is the 12 minute "Arriving somewhere (but not here)". This progressive rock masterpiece builds from an ambient start through mellotron backed vocals and a strong hook to a true PT epic. Wilson shows how he is a master of his craft here, encouraging the listener to anticipate the repeating of the track title at various points.

Do not expect a mellotron-fest from "Mellotron scratch", the title refers to the lyrics and the emotions the instrument incited from an unnamed girlfriend. This and the remaining tracks feel like something of an anticlimax after "Arriving somewhere". "The start of something beautiful" is a melodic piano based piece with some fine synth. The track is a grower, which only really reveals itself after a number of listens.

"Glass arm shattering" is a downbeat closer which might have been better placed somewhere towards the middle of the album. It does feature some relaxed but pleasant instrumental work though.

In all, a highly accomplished Porcupine Tree album with a couple of real treasures. Steve Wilson continues to refine and develop the sound and style of the band, while creating an album which succeeded in finding a wider audience. This inevitably incurs the wrath of some of those who have followed the band since their early days, and who appear to resent having to now share them. Accusations of selling out or not "progressing" are however mischievous and misplaced. This is a fine album by any standards, and fully justifies its accolade as this site's Top Prog Album of 2005.

Easy Livin | 4/5 |


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