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Porcupine Tree - Up the Downstair CD (album) cover


Porcupine Tree


Heavy Prog

3.90 | 1008 ratings

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3 stars Up the Downstair ? 1993 (2.6/5 almost 2 stars) 9 ? Best Song: Synthesia/Small Fish

Is it another case of outsourced heart and unsold mind? Apparently they were too busy huffing synthesia to make a gripping record on the first attempt. All's fair ? lots of major groups soiled their pants on the beginning swing and later on recovered in full force. You think a band like Van Halen were hammering out metal brilliance like Running with the Devil on their DEBUT? Wait, well yes they were, but I never much cared for Eddie Van, anywhan. This is Steve Wilson's waste of time- project projected star pocket protector. It's loads of astral psychedelia and alternative hard rock, and this time it isn't fifteen half-minute sound collages in row. 'Synthesia' has some honestly competent hooks to it. Not many, mind you, but you can see the group is actually interested in writing songs this go around.

So there's some wah-wah rock, and some sound effects (you thought you'd gotten rid of them, hadn't you?) and then there's the wimp behind the microphone; with no balls, no range, and no personality to grab ahold of. 'Always Never' is a stumbling waterecho trip, not stirring or rousing or any of that, but a real haven for the 1990's hippies that polluted the streets. Porcupine Tree is the ultimate underground band, because their intended audience is guaranteed to never be able to afford their music.

The title track is boring, recalling Tangerine Dream in a dance club. If you think of outer space and planets and marijuana, it's because that's the only atmosphere they could come up with, as opposed to things folks have a chance of relating to. The goddamn wind chimes are slapped on every song moronically like a big fat fathead flag. Why is that? There is a harder rock sound emerging, but you have to dig for it in the spare instances, like with 'Small Fish', everything else is on the positive side of pathetic.

Alitare | 3/5 |


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