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Porcupine Tree - Up The Downstair CD (album) cover


Porcupine Tree


Heavy Prog

3.88 | 909 ratings

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The Sleepwalker
Prog Reviewer
3 stars I will only discuss the first disc as I have already made a seperate review of the second disc (Staircase Infinities). Porcupine tree is in the middle of their psychedelic era with this album, it's not as psychedelic as The Sky Moves Sideways, but synths and strange noises can be heard throughout the entire album. The album contains two mini-epics and several shorter songs, even several songs of one minute or even less, but they are absolutely no filler.

The album starts with the spacey introduction "What You Are Listening To", which is a very short soundscape that segues into "Synesthesia", an up-tempo song. "Synesthesia" is not the bands most psychedelic work, but the piano combined with the distorted guitar create a very pleasant effect, a pretty good song.

The 20 second long "Monuments Burn Into Moments" takes us from "Syesthesia" to "Always Never". The vocals in this song aren't very special I think, they are pretty cheesy and uninteresting. After a kind of dissapointing beginning of the song Steven Wilson makes everything good by some excellent guitar playing, being joined by Richard Barbieri's atmospheric synthesizers.

The title track, "Up The Downstair" is the first of the two mini-epics on this album, lasting over ten minutes. The song starts out very promising, with strange voices, choir like synths and interesting drums. Soon a bassline comes in and the song becomes a strange techno-like thing. Though at first listen this might be a bit annoying, it doesn't take much time to get completely used to it. The song continues with some powerful riffs and becomes a bit more structured by repeating the techno and distorted riffs, the song ends with spacey synths again. "Up The Downstair" is not a perfect song, but it's a very nice listen.

"Not Beautiful Anymore" is not a very momorable song, though not being a bad one. It lasts only three minutes and seems to fade away a bit, standing between much lengthier songs.

"Siren" is an interlude that takes us to "Small Fish" which is quite the same story as "Not Beautiful Anymore", a short song that doesn't really gets its place between the two mini-epics.

The second of the two mini-epics is "Burning Sky", which starts, just like the title track, with synths and drums. After a short while guitar comes in and the song is meant to become epic, but unfortunately it doesn't. Just like "Up The Downstair", "Burning Sky" has a powerful riff that's repeated several times, the riff unfortunately is not very special and doesn't really succeed giving the song a powerful feel. The only thing that does prevent this song from being totally uninteresting, is the outstanding guitar playing from Steven Wilson, which makes the song in the end a very decent one.

"Fadeaway" is the final track on the album, and it's a great way to close it. The song starts out with Wilson's very Gilmour style guitar playing, and turns into a mellow ballad. This song is very much like what you will hear on the Staircase Infinities disc, but I'm not going that here, great track.

Up The Downstair is a very good album, though it has quite a few flaws. Some songs feel like being on the wrong place and I can't keep my interest at some parts of the album, because of them being cheesy or just feeling unfinished. I rate this album three stars, as it is no masterpiece at all, it's just a good (unfinished in some ways) album.

The Sleepwalker | 3/5 |


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