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Porcupine Tree - Up The Downstair CD (album) cover

UP THE DOWNSTAIR

Porcupine Tree

 

Heavy Prog

3.92 | 705 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

UltimaPrime
5 stars In more modern times, music is totally different than how it was a couple-few decades ago. Artists and bands have branched out in different genres, all influenced by others from the past who "pioneered" their particular styles. Most of the products vary in result, good or bad, but in my opinion, a great deal of what I hear these days seems fairly dull and uninspired. But...

Artists like Porcupine Tree don't come around very often. If there's one band that's given me hope for the future of truly inspired, heart-felt music, they would be that band. Steven Wilson has nearly single-handedly carried the torch of Progressive Rock into the future, maintaining the meaning of the word "progressive" in just about every aspect imaginable. Everything he does sounds different - none of it is very much the same; however, everything he does is inspired - everything PT does is inspired. It's unbelievable.

Up The Downstair is definitely no exception. I've listened to every single studio release by Porcupine Tree, from the early cuts to Deadwing, and no other album has the same effect on me as this one. It was largely a Wilson project, with the future members of the band itself only appearing as studio musicians in a handfull of the tracks. That said, it also had the largest heart. Mr. Wilson performs his ideas and ambitions well, taking it seriously, but rightfully so.

Anyways, onto the individual tracks:

What Are You Listening To is simply an introduction to the album, but it gives you a feel for the psychadelic mind-trip you'll feel like you're taking throughout the album. There really isn't much to say about this one. Great intro.

Synesthesia is one of PT's early classics. Here, you're given a taste of Wilson's excellent guitar work, along with his harmonic vocals, with....himself, and metaphoric lyrics. Oh well, it's still an awesome, aebit catchy track. This one proves that psychadelic and progressive music can be catchy and still fantastic.

Moments Burn Into Moments is just psychadelic filler, but it's friggen cool sounding in headphones. It's the perfect length for the type of affects displayed.

Always Never is where the dreamy, atmospheric, and ambient soundscapes really begin to take full affect. Again, Wilson's guitar is excellent, as always. A very dreamy song, especially during the middle section. Doesn't progress as much as following songs on the album, but what's here makes up for it.

Up The Downstair - now THIS is what I'm talking about. This lyric-less track progresses from a quiet, haunting ambience with a woman's voice-over to sort of a electronic, multilayered, symphonic masterpiece, complete with dazzling, psychadelic effects. The future keyboardist for PT makes his debut here, providing an excellent synth texture to the fantastic bass line throughout this track, eventually leading up to the explosive climax, literally...it explodes into your ears. This album is worth hearing this song alone. It's great insight into the multilayered, textured work of the future. This is head music, for sure.

Not Beautiful Anymore is another display of Steven Wilson's multilayered, heavy guitar work. In addition, the interludes between feature a woman explaining the effects of LSD from a personal perspective. The song's worth both, but moreso on the guitar riffs. Cool stuff.

Siren is another psychadelic interlude, but this one's easily the strongest of those featured on the album. The fifty seconds progress well into the next track...

Small Fish is the weakest link on the album, but thankfully, it's one of the shortest songs as well. It's more of an introduction into the mammoth epic that follows. It's a pleasant song, but it feels slightly out of place on this record.

Burning Sky. They saved the best for the end of the album. This is the toughest song to describe on the album, mainly because I don't think that'll do it justice...it needs to be EXPERIENCED to be understood. This is an unbelievable display of musical compsing talent, by far. If you love guitar wor, get ready, this has some of what I believe to be the most amazing guitar work I've ever heard in my entire life - believe me, I've heard some enchanting stuff.

Last, but not least, we have Fadeaway. The strongest elements of the album are all displayed here, in a very dreamy and almost anthemic overtone. Like the former song, this one is another one to be experienced. I will tell you this though...this is one of the best album closers of all time, of any album, any genre, period. Just listen; open your mind.

Overall, Up The Downstair outdoes itself in all ways possible for the genre. It gives the listener a sense of accomplishment, along with the common "what the **** did I just listen to?" reaction. Rock lovers, ambient lovers, and psychadelic lovers alike will find something out of this that's some sort of holy grail. It also has a nice, comfy spot on my top ten albums of all time, and that's saying alot. Give it a listen. I dare you to be unsatisfied.

UltimaPrime | 5/5 |

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