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Porcupine Tree - Lightbulb Sun CD (album) cover

LIGHTBULB SUN

Porcupine Tree

 

Heavy Prog

4.02 | 1523 ratings

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TheMadHatter
4 stars 4.3/5

Porcupine Tree is a unique force in the world of progressive music. To be more precise, Steven Wilson is a unique force in the world of progressive music. Wherever he is, you'd better be there to listen. Anyways, about Lightbulb Sun:

"Lightbulb Sun" is a very touching song about a young boy confined to his bed. It starts off with clean vocals over strummed guitar chords and some piano in the background. The music changes abruptly as a distorted guitar riff and drums come in. The acoustic guitar from the beginning returns and the bass comes in. This song switches back in forth between tense and mellow and is a very interesting composition. I find that all of the slight touches from synthesizers/keyboard are what makes this song so great. The lyrics are very well-written and Wilson's voice is unique. One of the better tracks on the album.

"How Is Your Life Today?" to say the least is creepy. It opens with some harmonic minor piano chords and Wilson's voice. At times, it almost reminds me of the second half of "A Day in the Life" except this version is sluggish and a lot more dissonant. It ends with a frightening synthesizer solo. This is a very short but good tune.

"Four Chords That Made a Million" is a well-written song about the problems with pop music. It opens with a guitar riff and very eastern sounding drums and a giumbri (I believe that's what they are using). The bass on this song is pretty loud compared to the other tunes and makes this tune feel pretty heavy. The song structure is pretty simple with some interesting vocal melodies. I especially like the vocals in the half-time section towards the end of the song. Overall, this is a decent track.

"Shesmovedon" is a very good track. The song opens with a mid-ranged guitar melody over some simple drumwork. The melody is repeated almost throughout the entire tune (except the chorus) and is slowly built upon. Lyrically, this song is about some lost relationship. Vocals come in singing the melody. After a few verses, the chorus comes in with some interesting vocal effects by Wilson. After another verse and a chorusesque thing, Wilson plays an awesome guitar solo. The song ends after this solo with some spacy vocals and strummed chords from the chorus. Very good tune. (As a sidenote, PT put another version of this song on Deadwing).

"The Rest Will Flow" has a very nice melody. At first glance, it almost comes across as a simple pop rock song, but after a few listens I can really appreciate the melodies and harmonies. This is a short track without too much musically unfortunately and is probably the weakest on the whole album, but this song builds up a lot of different melodies towards the end. Very tranquil (which contrasts the previous and next track).

"Hatesong" is as the title suggests: dark and vengeful. It opens with a nice bass riff and slowly builds throughout the song. About halfway through the track, after a calm portion, some guitar riffs come in and then there is a very avant-garde guitar solo. It's essentially just a out of key distorted guitar note that is slowly raised in pitch. It's a very cool aspect of this song. After many bars of that unpleasant note, Wilson puts in a decent pentatonic solo. After that, Wilson begins to sing again. The goes back into the spacey psychedelic side after that and Wilson puts out another solo. Towards the end, the music fades and the sound of birds chirping takes over. Overall, a fantastic song. Very memorable.

"Where Would We Be" is a mellow track. This album is generally tense, then soft, then tense, then soft almost all of the way through. Without this, I feel that it would be very hard to listen to the whole album as a whole. This song is okay, and although different from "The Rest Will Flow," I feel it's much in the same vein. Nice melodies but a tad bit dull. The next song makes up for it.

"Russia On Ice." All I can say is spectacular. It opens with dissonant spacey guitar chords. There is no real melody just levels of tension for over a minute. Some keyboards in the background swell and everything becomes very dense. It dies down for a second and the [i]tap tap[/i] of cymbal comes in with a heavy bass part. The tempo on this song is pretty slow. The guitar chords and keyboards in the beginning continue on and the song picks up as the plays the bass the riff. As the tension keeps building, Wilson comes in with the vocals. The lyrics in this song are very well-written, and I believe it is about an alcoholic who can't get past his addiction. After the first verse, there is a guitar solo and then it goes back to the verse with some guitar doodlings in the background. After this verse and some tension, the song changes from minor to major in the chorus relieving a lot of stress. This bit is very beautiful. After this the song returns to before with some solos. There is some very touching violin bits (I believe its violin) parts. After the major chorus comes again everything dies down except the bass. The song then becomes very violent and raging as the bass is built upon by a distorted guitar and heavy synthesizer use. This is where the song really takes off. This dissonant electronic section is my favorite part of the whole album; it's very transcendental. I feel like the beginning of this song is about how an alcoholic is depressed and self-pitying, and at this part he becomes violent. At about eleven and half minutes end the song degenerates into what sounds like a belltower ringing and after that into some random noise. Probably signifies the blackout period after drinking. Overall, this tune is one of Porcupine Tree's all-time best. If you could only listen to one track on this album, it should be this one.

"Feel So Low" is very sad. As the previous track was tense and angry, this one is mellow. This track is okay. Its about someone who hurt Wilson it seems. Through out the entire song, there is a guitar chord being plucked out. The melody is decent nothing groundbreaking. A calm ending to this album. I wonder why this is chosen as the final track when the penultimate one was much better. At the end of this track, Wilson says "Thanks." Possibly to the listener who listened to the whole album, but more likely to the person who made him "feel so low." Overall, this is okay and kind of similar to "Where Would We Be" and "The Rest Will Flow"

At the moment, this is my second favorite PT album (behind Fear of a Blank Planet). Probably, from reading my song descriptions, this album might sound like a simple rock production. As is true, with most PT productions, but PT does something weird with there music. I don't know if its prog or not (compared to classic prog like Genesis, Yes, and King Crimson, it probably isn't.) PT is hard to define, but if I was going to give it a shot, I'd say it was rock done right. At first glance (ignoring there heavy electronic inspired sections), they do appear overly simple, but the production, atmospheric touches, and the delicate harmonies really reflect that what your listening to is the brainchild of a musical genius. In PT, there aren't any virtuoso musicians, and they don't use any groundbreaking rhythmic devices or insane chord progressions. PT takes a wide variety of simple musical elements and combines them in such a unique way that they defy genre and expectations. I give this album 4.3/5 stars (considering that although this isn't a breakthrough in progressive music, this a very good album and every prog fan should give this a listen.)

TheMadHatter | 4/5 |

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