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Porcupine Tree - Deadwing CD (album) cover


Porcupine Tree


Heavy Prog

4.11 | 1982 ratings

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Sean Trane
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk
2 stars 2.5 stars really!!

As I usually do, I make it a bit of a duty to keep up with new albums of modern prog bands like PT, SB or TMV. Not because I love particularly the new wave of prog (PT is a little old for that), but because a prog reviewer like me must keep up with what's coming out as much as he can. I had followed PT's evolution from a purely psych bands into a more Floyd-influenced one, than veer from Signify onwards into their actual style of prog. And since Signify (of which I was a moderate fan of), I must say I've grown a bit bored of their successive albums, because they sort of repeat constantly the formula that became theirs. Don't get me wrong; this album is not any worse than Absentia, Lightbulb, Dreams or their previous albums. We have here an undeniably Porcupine Tree album with its distinctive sound with the usual PT twists, ambiances and flaws.

Unlike my young colleague reviewers, I lack the patience to listen to a PT album more than a half-dozen times and I could give many reasons for this, but I'll concentrate on just a few: 1- I find that the usual artwork and presentation lacking any kind of appeal and although the booklet might have taken Wilson great attention and pain, it simply looks botched and meaningless, and the fact that he sacrifices to the latest fad of not publishing the lyrics just proves the point further. 2- the musical and conceptual (if any, but that's precisely the point) propos is still quite impenetrable and does not come easy, even if you are completely enthralled by this type of prog (I have asked many young fans if they had discovered any special theme or made much sense of what Wilson was on about in his music and many were simply at a loss to explain much or even a few). 3- the repetition from one album to the other is simply baffling and a case for semi- rejection. I think that most of us are able to tell on a blind test within twenty seconds that we are listening to PT, but unless an avid and unconditional ultra-fanboy, 90% of progheads would be incapable of telling (quickly) on which album the track they are listening to is.

The fact that three songs stand out slightly (the title track, the 12-min centrepiece and TSOSB) will not hide the fact that there is some much-lesser material: the metallic Shallow, the soppy (and soapy ;-) ballad Lazarus and the Mellotron-less Scratch (yes I know it is the point Mr. Wilson, but also mine), just to name those. Somehow, I think that Ricochet's appraisal of this album to Signify is rather valid, which goes to prove that the PT progression (so-implied by ultra-fans) is more a myth than a reality. And his general proficiency and profusion of recorded works only hints at two things IMHO: 1-Wilson is recording and releasing almost every single note of music, he's ever written and he has a short memory, which means he repeats himself more than reasonably acceptable; 2- his general aptitude at creating concepts that are understandable only to him and maybe those he chooses to give important clues he never includes on his albums is only rivalled by Yes' Anderson gibberish, which is really talking the biscuit for someone denying making obtuse progressive music.

I'd like to differ from my young colleagues reviewers rather strongly: this album is simply just one more PT album, neither good nor bad, but completely "has-been-done- before" and I'd like to address the older progheads: if you are a casual fan of the group, while yet another PT album, you'll not miss anything should you skip this one. Yes my young friends, maybe in ten of fifteen years, you'll come to realize that most of these PT albums have been manufactured a bit like a consumable products, a bit like a hamburger chain restaurant proposing different options on the same old burgers. Double mustard and no ketchup on mine please ;-)

Sean Trane | 2/5 |


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