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Porcupine Tree - Up The Downstair CD (album) cover


Porcupine Tree


Heavy Prog

3.88 | 909 ratings

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Symphonic Team
4 stars Porcupine Tree's early album is a surprisingly psychedelic musically driven album with very sombre atmospheres and a great degree of melancholy. Wilson sounds brooding and serious and the music is catapulted by long swathes of synths and gentle vocals. The guitars are often aggressive but as the album progresses the songs get longer and more in the neighbourhood of psych prog with a decidedly spacey soundscape. The music is hypnotic and dreamy overall,

I like the way this opens with a nod towards the Timothy Leary recreation pastime and how essential LSD was to the music of the 60s, similar to what Tool did. 'Synesthesia' is a very good track with some compelling lyrics; "It's only a number, It's only a death, another soldier died in action, The telegram regrets, I'm lying on a stretcher, They're lying to my face, There's no-one left to help me, I'm just a waste of space." The mood is chilling and haunting throughout.

'Up the Downstair' is a mesmirising track with bleak dream of consciousness lyrics "Sleep, Until the colours dissolve, Leave the dream to rain-soak forever, In blessed moments, Viewed from trains of half-truths." The poetic nature of the lyrics is propelled by white hot synth washes and a steady tempo. Another highlight is the improvisational style of jamming as on 'Not Beautiful Anymore' that opens with a woman talking and is experimental and mostly instrumental. I also like 'Burning Sky' with the Hackett like guitars and Ozric Tentacles atmospheres with nuances of Pink Floyd scattered here and there.

Overall, the 1993 album is a very pleasant journey and quite different than other Porcupine Tree albums. I prefer the more recent Porcupine Tree sound but was nevertheless delighted that the band were able to generate such a psychedelic spacey sound back in the early 90s.

AtomicCrimsonRush | 4/5 |


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