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Porcupine Tree - Lightbulb Sun CD (album) cover


Porcupine Tree


Heavy Prog

4.02 | 1523 ratings

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4 stars Melancholic, tuneful rock music par excellence. The nasal tones of Steven Wilson's very English voice work perfectly with the songs on this pleasing album. Perhaps not entirely Progressive Rock music, but who cares when the music is this good. Some of the tracks have an almost BEATLES feel to them. That, combined with some PINK FLOYD guitar licks, makes for a very good sound. Not one of the tracks is a dud.

'Lightbulb Sun' is a song about a bedridden child. Acoustic guitar and piano introduce a lovely song, albeit with melancholic lyrics. Heavy guitar kicks in effectively from time to time during the track. The lyrics are unusual but they seem to fit the music perfectly, and the sound of children playing outside at the end of the track adds to the atmosphere. A very good track.

'How Is Your Life Today?' is another melancholy song, this time about life after a partner has left for good. Simple lyrics, but they are certainly effective in bringing across the miserable mood: "I was kissed on the cheek by a cold mouth while the taxi was waiting like a getaway car. Each second seems like a lifetime, and the cat it's been staring at me all this time."

'Four Chords That Made A Million' is pure BEATLES, and not just because of the giumbri and tabla. Another good tune, the only thing I find annoying being Steven Wilson's pronunciation of "million" (it sounds like he's not using the front of his tongue to sound an L).

'Shesmovedon' is yet another (good) song about being dumped by a 'serial lover'. The lyrics talk of someone who tires quickly of lovers - and anything else, for that matter. There's some good bass, guitar, drums and cymbals on this track.

Unlike the excessive use of overdubbed 'artefacts' on "Signify", only the track 'Last Chance To Exit Planet Earth Before It Is Recycled' has an overdubbed sound bite: Marshall Applewhite, the infamous Heaven's Gate suicide cult leader, and then only following Steven Wilson's pleasant singing over banjo in the first part of the track ('Winding Shot'). I'm not sure what is the point of the sound bite, but it's eerie and I suppose fits in with the general mood of the album.

'The Rest Will Flow' is probably my favourite track of the album: the tune is very good and I also very much like the acoustic guitar, electric guitar and backing strings. It might be the obvious single, but I'm a sucker for a good tune.

'Hatesong' is, as the name suggests, a broody, bitter song about an ex-lover. Why is it that, when a relationship fails, love often immediately turns to loathing? There's some good, heavy bass and FLOYD-ian guitar on this track, which really emphasise the dark mood.

'Where We Would Be' is another melancholy song, remembering how things were and wondering how things might have been had the subject's loved one still been around. Strumming acoustic guitar backs the singing, with some fine electric guitar towards the end.

'Russia On Ice', the longest track on the album, is also about - guess what - misery and drowning one's sorrows (with vodka on ice). It's not clear to me whether the drinking prompted the break-up or followed it, but the track - especially the heavy guitar - brings across the surrealism of the intoxication. 'Russia On Ice' seems to be a favourite with many fans but, although I like it, it's not my favourite track on the album.

'Feel So Low' is another lovely song with sad lyrics: "And I can laugh about it now, but I hated every minute I was waiting for your e-mail. And each day that you forgot to call just made me feel so low." Miserable, isn't it? But I think we've all been there at one time or another.

How the band's record company could let an album as good as this become unavailable I just don't know. Anyway, hopefully the album will be available again in early 2005, and I can certainly recommend it to you. I'm not sure I can classify it as a masterpiece, but I wouldn't want to be without it. Even if it isn't considered Progressive Rock by a purist, it's still darn good music and a 4-star album (Excellent addition to any Prog Rock collection).

Fitzcarraldo | 4/5 |


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