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Porcupine Tree - Up The Downstair CD (album) cover


Porcupine Tree


Heavy Prog

3.88 | 909 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars The line up shown above for this album is, in fact, incorrect, as the band was, essentially, still just Stephen Wilson at this point, (although Colin Edwin appears on Always Never, and Richard Barbieri is on Up The Downstair.) I have the 2004 remastered version, which comes in a digipak, along with the EP that came out round the same time, Staircase Infinities as a bonus disc. Gavin Harrison has replaced the original drums on Up The Downstair with real ones, and, although I haven't heard the original, I have to say this is magnificent. Typical Porcupine Tree we have here, full of atmosphere; strange whirling, cloud-like keyboards, act here as a bed on which is overlaid Wilson's distinctive and rather excellent guitar playing, full of echo and feedback. The album opens with the very short 'What You Are Listening To', a brooding atmosphere, building up to an American voice introducing, well, what we are listening to! This leads straight into 'Synthesthesia', with its dark yet slightly humorous lyrics dealing with a soldier, obviously dying, and writing home 'while he still has time'. a typical PT melody here, with nice guitar work. Then comes another very brief atmospheric affair, 'Monuments Burn Into Moments' which acts as a bridge leading into 'Always Never', which I already knew from the live double album Coma Divine. Excellent guitar work again here, with another typical Wilson melody, almost trance like in its Edwin-led bass work and pulsing rhythm. 'Up The Downstair' I also knew from the live album, and it's in its full glory here, with Suzanne Barbieri adding her voice at the beginning with the line 'Monuments Burn Into Moments'. This is another trance-like song, but with enough melody to keep it interesting. 'Not Beautiful Anymore' is an instrumental, again recognisable from the live cd. It has a female American voice here, talking about it's just enough to hold hands and talk, and not to worry about sex as that will just spoil things! Interesting! Then we have another minute piece, Siren, which bridges into the magnificent 'Small Fish', one of my favourites on the album. A classic PT track this, with Wilson's voice almost whispering the verse and catchy chorus. I love it! This in turn leads to 'Burning Sky' another long instrumental which is hynotic but in a superior way. Wonderful stuff! Finally, things calm down again with 'Fadeaway' which Wilson himself in the liner notes says is one of his favourite songs. Another strong melody here to end this tremendous album. As the the bonus disc,well...I won't spoil things for those who haven't got it, or are in the process of getting it, but, let's just say it's just possibly even better than the album just reviewed! Amazing guitar and keyboard work from the maestro. And full of memorable melodies. Log off, leave the room, go out and buy this. You won't regret it!
chessman | 4/5 |


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