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Porcupine Tree - Stupid Dream CD (album) cover


Porcupine Tree


Heavy Prog

3.99 | 1371 ratings

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4 stars I only got this about three weeks ago, but I have played it consisently since, so I am well used to it now. This is another wonderful album from PT, and it captures the band in transition from the earlier 'spacey' days to the later 'heavier' days. Nevertheless, it is instantly recognisable as PT, mainly through Steven Wilson's dreamy vocals. 'Even Less' is a good opener, with a smooth flow to it, nice jangly guitar and a typical PT melody. (I have the two disc re-release, and their is a 14+ minute version of this on the second disc. Unfortunately, I have no equipment on which to play this yet! But I think a friend of mine will be very interested to hear it, and he has the necessary equipment!) 'Piano Lessons' is probably my second favourite track on the album. A shorter piece, it is ridiculously catchy, with jerky piano work, a beautifully sung chorus, and very funny lyrics. And, as the end approaches, the trademark Wilson guitar comes in, not as a solo, but backing the repeated chorus. You can recognise it as his work instantly, and it only enhances a wonderful song. It fades then into the very short instrumental title track 'Stupid Dream', which barely lasts half a minute, and could easily be mistaken as part of the ending of 'Piano Lessons'. Non essential but acting more like a bridge, it leads into 'Pure Narcotic'. This is another sombre song, with less instrumentation and a typical quiet Wilson vocal. Not bad, but not my fave. 'Slave Called Shiver' shows the direction the band were to take on later songs such as 'Strip The Soul' and 'Halo'. Not my favourite type of PT song, but nevertheless interesting, with heavier 'stop-start' guitar and vocal effects in the chorus. 'Don't Hate Me' is the longest track on the cd, and is a lovely, melancholy filled piece. Wilson's vocals are imploring here on the chorus and he sings the song wonderfully. Very atmospheric, the song is full of 'spaces', similar to the type of song Pink Floyd were good at writing. In other words, the music doesn't crowd out the melody or words. 'This Is No Rehearsal' is another funny piece, about a woman (presumably) who makes a habit of losing children in the shopping arcade! Nice acoustic guitar on this mid paced track. And this leads into 'Baby Dream In Cellophane', which appears to be the baby's take on affairs. A gentler piece, it strangely fits the picture of a baby contemplating life. (Well it does to me!) 'Stranger By The Minute' is, without doubt, my favourite track on the album. This is another of those short(ish), very catchy tracks. Nice guitar work here, with some effective slide guitar thrown into the mix from verse two. I love the way Wilson sings, at the end of verse three, 'But I'm a twisted boy.' Very strange, yet strangely charming. The chorus too is super smooth, with Chris Maitland adding his vocals here. As much as I admire Gavin Harrison, their current drummer, I still have a soft spot for Maitland. Something about the man stands out. Anyway, a song that will have you singing along from the second listen. 'A Smart Kid' remind me a little of 'Don't Hate Me' in its tempo and mood. More clever lyrics here that I will leave you to discover for yourself. Another track full of spaces. 'Tinto Brass' is a superb instrumental, with Theo Travis supplying some excellent flute and saxophone work, whilst Wilson's trademark spacey guitar plays a big part again. Finally, we have 'Stop Swimming', a gentle, slow paced song that finishes off the album nicely. It doesn't really go anywhere, and it doesn't particularly stand out, but it's inoffensive, and is sung in typical Wilson fashion. This is another excellent offering from PT (I have yet to hear a weak album from them!) but I doubt it will ever be my favourite album. I suspect some critics might call it a bit bland. For me, it is what I expect from PT really. Very good. Next I am looking forward to the re-release of 'Lightbulb Sun', which I suspect is an album in similar vein to this. This is another four start effort.
chessman | 4/5 |


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