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Porcupine Tree - The Sky Moves Sideways CD (album) cover


Porcupine Tree


Heavy Prog

4.06 | 1268 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
5 stars I first heard this album about 4 or 5 years ago, borrowing the tape from a friend. I thought it was excellent, but never really went out of my way to buy the cd. Well, earlier this year, I decided to get it. To my surprise, it was a remastered version, in a slip case, with a bonus cd! So what do you get for your money? Well, The Sky Moves Sideways Phase 1 starts things off in a very Floydian way. In fact, when I took this down to a friend and we were listening to it, his wife came in and he asked her who she thought it was. She immediately said, 'Pink Floyd'. This album is strongly influenced throughout by Floyd, but that doesn't detract from the superb compositions in any way. If you had never heard Floyd, you would still enjoy this as a damn good album! Anyway, the title track is a dreamy affair to begin with, Mr Wilson doing his best Mr Gilmour impression, before it livens up and slips into a snake-like rhythm, over which the guitar soars proudly. Vocally it is more than adequate too, Wilson being in no way inferior to Gilmour in that department. At the end, a lovely combination of keyboards and acoustic guitar finishes the track nicely. Then comes what is probably my least favourite track, not that it is a bad one in any way, just maybe a tad too repetitive. Dislocated Day still has a dreamy feel, but a more insistent and jarring guitar accompanies the chorus. Next is a wonderful track, The Moon Touches Your Shoulder. Very Floydian again, with excellent, gentle guitar work echoes seductively through the first part, before it turns a little heavier and plays out with a wandering solo. The keboards,as in all the tracks here, are mainly in the background, but add to the atmosphere immenseley, creating symphonic dreamscapes as a backdrop to the vocals and guitar. Richard Barbieri is not an obvious player; he is not a Wakeman or a Banks, but he has a very effective style and knows his stuff. His playing fills out the sound and is especially gorgeous when listening through headphones. I must say here that Chris Maitland is an unsung hero on the drums, as he is integral to the sound of the band, and his occasional backing vocals add to the sound too. Colin Edwin, on bass, is controlled and skilful, and again contributes quietly to the fullness of sound that PT have. Considering this band started out as Steven Wilson's brainchild, the band are tightknit, and work wonderfully well together. Next up is Prepare Yourself, a short, guitar dominated piece that serves to lead into The Sky Moves Sideways Phase 2. This seems to roll round in your head at first, like a musical ocean before the guitar comes in with spacey atmospherics again. This is replaced in its turn by percussion and keyboards, drizzling like fine rain into your ears. As the end nears, a solid bass and drums heralds in more powerful guitar work, finally fading out to the sounds of an ocean. One's first reaction is to say 'wow' to oneself, and immediately play the thing again. This is classy, well produced prog, with no dull points, and very 70's in its approach. A modern day classic! On its own, that would make this a must-have. When you then consider the bonus disk you realise that you are only half way through a superb hallucinogenic trip, one that is an antidote to loud, fast, rock. We start off again with The Sky Moves Sideways, this time the alternate version, all in one movement. It is very similar to the original, but still worth listening to. Then comes a beautiful short song, Stars Die. Inspired by early Floyd, this has the traditional verse/chorus set up, accompanied by brilliantly understated guitar. The simple yet lush melody makes you want to play this track again and again. One of my favourites this one! Then comes a track that was on the original album, but is here relegated to the second cd - Moonloop. Another favourite of mine, the guitar and keyboards combine in a loose, almost improvised way to send your head soaring back into the cosmos. (That's if it has come down at all since beginning the first cd!) The the Moonloop coda finishes off the album in quiet, delicious style. This cd is a must have, and I for one enjoy it every time I play it. I have no hesitation in giving it 5 stars. A contender for the classic 'desert island' collection.
chessman | 5/5 |


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