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Porcupine Tree - Deadwing CD (album) cover

DEADWING

Porcupine Tree

 

Heavy Prog

4.08 | 1493 ratings

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bonestorm
5 stars One evening in early 2007 I was trawling my favourite computer gaming forum and a thread popped up regarding 'night driving songs'. Specifically, members were prompted to list their favourite with this particular theme. One of the answers was "Open Car" by Porcupine Tree.

For some reason that I will never understand, I glossed over Deadwing on its release in 2005. I did hear "Open Car" and "Arriving Somewhere" and loved them. And then? Who knows, but the album slipped out of my consciousness, and it wasn't until this moment a couple of years later that thought to check it out again, this time in earnest.

I was rewarded with, what I believe, is one of the Tree's best albums. At the top, the title track signals a heavier edge to the music than previous PT works, with hard rock riffing verging on metal. It's a nice change and Steven Wilson proves he's adequately equipped to concoct tracks in this style. "Deadwing" features some great lead guitar and a nice transition to an ethereal breakdown before sending the track out with more hard rock and squealing guitar.

"Shallow" is dominated by the catchy Drop D opening riff. It's an instantly likeable and memorable track gives more than a nod to mainstream hard rock. "Lazarus" sounds even more mainstream, but is eloquently formulated and also likeable.

"Halo" is a groovy, toe-tapping number with a great vocal hook. The engine room of Colin Edwin and Gavin Harrison drive much of the track with Wilson chiming in to offer some chugging power chords and a smattering of his trademark lead guitar.

Although that anonymous forum member once touted "Open Car" as a great night driving song, I have to say that track 5, "Arriving Somewhere But Not Here" stakes an even greater claim in this category. Maybe those incredibly evocative initial lyrics are to blame: "Never stop the car on a drive in the dark". With those words and the gorgeous opening riff chiming in the background, I'm instantly transported to a dark highway, no matter the time of day or night. And so begins what I believe is PTs best track. An epic, sweeping monster of a song, featuring an amazing texture of words and music spread across 12 captivating minutes. A song about striving toward a goal and getting lost along the way. How, no matter what we do to plan ahead, sometimes life throws us a curveball. We need to drop everything and start again.

As a songwriter, I'm just in awe of the majesty of this track. It's really that good.

The aforementioned "Open Car" is yet another heavy, riffing track with a stilted, staccato lyrical delivery that matches the rhythm of the guitar. It's very effectively done, and provides a nice contrast with the clean, melodic bridge. The chorus is once again beautifully evocative with lines such as "Hair blowing in an open car, Summer dress slips down your arm".

I will also mention the newer version of "Shesmovedon" as a bonus track. It improves on the original markedly, with more bite and texture from the guitar in particular. I've never been a huge wah pedal guy, but this track makes me want to go and stamp my foot on one every time I hear it.

Overall this certainly ranks in my top two Porcupine Tree releases. If you've never driven down the highway at night with "Arriving Somewhere But Not Here" blaring out your car speakers at full volume, you're missing out on the best life has to offer. And yes, with a claim that grandiose, my tongue is firmly planted in my cheek. But that doesn't mean you shouldn't go ahead and try it.

bonestorm | 5/5 |

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