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Porcupine Tree - Lightbulb Sun CD (album) cover


Porcupine Tree


Heavy Prog

4.02 | 1523 ratings

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Queen By-Tor
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars The ever elusive Lightbulb

This is an album that has received a lot of hype and attention as of late. Mostly because for the last five or six years it has been unexplainably out of print until just now coming back hot off the presses. Back is it ever as well, now housed in one of Porcupine Tree's (patent pending?) ''super jewel cases'' and with bonus material. Good timing by the label - or five year brilliant marketing ploy, the world will never know. However, history aside, this is a fine release by the band which further raises the question about why it ever disappeared in the first place. In terms of style, this is the Porcupine Tree that we all know and love - but it's them at a very transitional time. Take the heavy brooding aggression of In Absentia and mix it with the sedated 90s musings of Stupid Dream and you have yourself a record!

This one has more in kin with Stupid Dream in terms of music, but it sounds like they've improved upon the method since then. The title track which opens the album, Lightbulb Sun, is something that could have come strait off the previous record. A heavy mixing of acoustic guitar with electric madness this one tells a melancholic tale of a kid who can't leave his home thanks to an illness. Such is the tone of the music as well throughout the entire album. While the music can get pretty upbeat at points the lyrics are turning more and more cynical by the second coming from Steven Wilson. Take for example the very well riffed Four Chords That Made A Million which is a title that makes so much sense when you realize he's talking about the uncreative musical industry that's churning out songs by the bucket load. A theme he's later visit on the next album, this one is quite a fun song thanks to how catchy it is. Isn't it ironic that whenever Wilson writes a song that's very catchy and basic he makes about how the music industry and his problems with it?

A couple of the slower songs really have that evil feel to them. While we haven't quite reached the Deadwing level of heaviness or evilness yet we're getting there. And fast. Steven must have been having relationship troubles at this point at well with some obvious and unobvious break-up like songs. How Is Your Life Today? is a slow and lo-key song about a man sitting in his home watching time pass after his significant other took the taxi outta there. Hatesong seems to suggest this as well with the line ''Oh it's a lonely life in my empty bed'', while the music is just as brooding as the title would suggest. Perhaps Wilson just wanted to tell tales of people who don't want to leave the house - but let's not get into semantics. Another one of the very dark songs is the longest track on the album, the 13-minute long Russia On Ice. While this track is not quite as accomplished as some of their later long works such as Arriving Somewhere... But Not Here or Anesthetize it still is quite a trip and can really be seen as the precursor to the other two mentioned songs. It's long and it's slow and it's icy. A very cool and brooding track the instruments all work well together here and create a very chilling atmosphere that propels the song well.

A couple other songs on the album are also well worth noting. Another breakup song, the seeming inner-monolog of Shesmovedon makes for a great rock tune while The Rest Will Flow is a beautiful tune that has a wonderful melody led by Wilson's voice. A very calming yet haunting song at the same time it is a truly engaging song indeed that fits very well where it is on the album working as a segue between Last Chance... and Hatesong.

While the material on the album may not always be what is on everyone's mind (breakups) all the time the music really excuses any time the lyrics may not apply to the listener. This is an excellent album that joins Stupid Dream to In Absentia wonderfully - a perfectly ''in between'' album that, if you were fans of either of those albums, you should get without hesitation. The bonus material on the album is also quite alluring as it includes a bonus DVD that has the entire album on 5.1 surround mix as well as 5.1 surround mixes of the tracks Disappear, Buying New Soul and Cure For Optimism. Just be warned - they won't work unless you actually have a 5.1 system. However - since the album can be picked up for quite cheap at the moment I definitely recommend this album if you can get your hands on it seeing as how a month ago the only way you could hear it would be to buy it off eBay for a ridiculous sum. Price, hype and bonus tracks aside this is a wonderful album which should not be missed by any Porcupine Tree fan or anyone who is interested in their music. 4 chords out of 5! An excellent addition to any collection.

Queen By-Tor | 4/5 |


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