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Porcupine Tree - The Sky Moves Sideways  CD (album) cover

THE SKY MOVES SIDEWAYS

Porcupine Tree

 

Heavy Prog

4.09 | 921 ratings

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1 stars Blow me Sideways

Opening sounding something like The Orb, phase 1 of the title track has some quite nice spacey sounds - but what happens? There's a bad edit, where the music stops, and then it goes into something resembling WYWH Pink Floyd - you can hear what PT are trying to achieve, but it's like the rock and roll feel has been surgically removed - everything sounds a bit too pristine and somewhat unmusical.

It's not Prog Rock either - it's a slowly shifting pattern of two chords, over which not a lot happens in sumptuous instrumentation. It's not involving or journeying, like a Hawkwind album, not mesemerising like The Orb, and has none of the feel of Floyd (but then, who has?). It's kind of nice, but not engaging or interesting, musically, and there's no feel of composition or improvisation. In fact, it's downright boring.

After a mere 7 minutes, I'm edging closer and closer towards the Skip button, as the endless-feeling dirge continues on and on and on... it's like Barclay James Harvest on mogadons. But I stick with it, and lo! There is finally a change at 8:30ish to a pop/disco kind of thing with wooey noises - like a kind of disco Hawkwind or Ozric Tentacles, with a terminally repetitive bass line and quite the most horrible guitar tone I think I've ever heard. I am seriously not digging this pop music or its vulgar, sterile, derivative sound.

Fast forward, and there's a kind of floaty flute thing going on around 12:45ish - but if you dig floaty flute music, then Gong would probably be more your cup of tea (sic). This is an extended jam that increases in intensity for a couple of minutes, then strips it all back in time for a reprise of the opening material - but does not ever develop the music progressively - hence not Prog Rock. As for heavy - well, it's hardly heavy considering what else was around in 1995, so methinks this is miscategorised.

Continuing the Pink Floyd theme, specifically with The Wall in mind (there were a lot of nods and winks to The Wall in the previous piece), Dislocated Day starts off with precisely the same musical idea - a pair of chords. This is followed by an Eastern-sounding riff that someone will probably tell you is based on some mode or another - but from listening to the compositional qualities, I'd suspect that this is an accident not by compositional design. There is little compositional design at work - this is the work of the modern day bluffer, and the end result is 1990s psychedelic rock, for this is the same compositional method as that revered genre.

This stays in the same ballpark for the remainder of its time, and does not progress.

Moon Touches Your Shoulder is in a slightly different vein - the two chords are now picked. OK, make that 3 - E, A and D, the simplest chords on the guitar, even if notes are left out to modify them slightly. Still reminding me a bit of Wall-era Floyd, but not as interesting. This drags on until 2:40ish, where the keys join in to make a new texture, but this is real wrist-slitting stuff. It kinda reminds me a bit of OK Computer Radiohead - but obviously not in a good way. It's like Radiohead might have been familiar with Porcupine Tree and decided to do it properly. The only new material left in this piece is a dull as ditchwater riff around 4:50 that's used to burn out.

Prepare yourself is mercifully short - but seemingly pointless. A delayed acoustic/electric guitar duet based around a single chord with a descending bass line, filled with bluff. A kick joins in, and I'm preparing myself that this might be the intro to the last piece... well, sort of.

When phase 2 of the title track insinuates in (it doesn't kick!), it's a let down, and any potential feelings of continuity are lost. If you've heard phase 1, you know what you're in for - more Floyd, Hawkwind, Orb and Ozrics, more floaty keys, but thankfully, no more disco, from what I can tell.

However, it's pure psychedelic rock, not Progressive Rock - so don't get your hopes up for some Heavy Prog, coz it ain't here.

This album also consistently bores the hell out of me, so I'm rating it as poor - I couldn't find anything to like except some of the sounds, and I'm quite capable of making those on a synth or guitar myself.

Certif1ed | 1/5 |

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