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LIGHTBULB SUN

Porcupine Tree

Heavy Prog


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Porcupine Tree Lightbulb Sun album cover
4.01 | 1072 ratings | 86 reviews | 34% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection


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Studio Album, released in 2000

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Lightbulb Sun (5:30)
2. How Is Your Life Today ? (2:46)
3. Four Chords That Made A Million (3:36)
4. Shesmovedon (5:14)
5. Last Chance To Evacuate Planet Earth Before It Is Recycled (4:48)
6. The Rest Will Flow (3:15)
7. Hatesong (8:26)
8. Where We Would Be (4:12)
9. Russia On Ice (13:04)
10. Feel So Low (5:18)

Total Time: 54:49

Special edition second disc:
1. Buying New Soul (edit) (6:07)
2. Pure Narcotic (5:14)
3. Tinto Brass (live) (6:43)
4. The Rest Will Flow Strings Track (2:05)
5. Piano Lessons (video)
Total time: 01:16:16
Audio: 56:07 / Video: 20:09

Lyrics

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Music tabs (tablatures)

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Line-up / Musicians

- Richard Barbieri / analogue synthesizers, Hammond organ, Mellotron, Fender Rhodes
- Colin Edwin / bass, sax, giumbri
- Chris Maitland / drums, percussion
- Steven Wilson / vocals, guitars, piano, samples, banjo, hammered dulcimer

Releases information

Re-released in 2001 as "Special edition" with second disc

Thanks to TR for the addition
and to easy livin for the last updates
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Lightbulb SunLightbulb Sun
Import · Special Edition
Snapper UK 2008
Audio CD$10.05
$9.77 (used)
In AbsentiaIn Absentia
Lava 2002
Audio CD$3.95
$3.47 (used)
DeadwingDeadwing
Lava 2005
Audio CD$6.97
$5.59 (used)
Fear Of A Blank PlanetFear Of A Blank Planet
KSCOPE 2012
Audio CD$7.80
$8.99 (used)
Octane TwistedOctane Twisted
KSCOPE 2012
Audio CD$11.75
$10.00 (used)
RecordingsRecordings
Special Edition
Kscope 2010
Audio CD$9.15
$11.75 (used)
SignifySignify
Special Edition
Kscope 2009
Audio CD$10.58
$9.00 (used)
The IncidentThe Incident
Roadrunner Records 2009
Audio CD$7.82
$5.99 (used)
Up the DownstairUp the Downstair
Kscope 2009
Audio CD$10.59
$10.58 (used)
Stupid DreamStupid Dream
Kscope 2009
Audio CD$10.80
$10.00 (used)
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PORCUPINE TREE Lightbulb Sun ratings distribution


4.01
(1072 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(34%)
34%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(48%)
48%
Good, but non-essential (16%)
16%
Collectors/fans only (2%)
2%
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)
1%

PORCUPINE TREE Lightbulb Sun reviews


Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Sean Trane
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog Folk
3 stars Much an improvement from Stupid Dreams, this is worthy of Signify but now very different from Sky Moves Sideways. This album is the start of modern day P T , although the roots from that dates from Signify . Hoever, PT sort of lost my support because of its new popularity , as I had a feeling of sharing this band with a bunch of non-progheads especially after the short period where Wilson denied that PT did prog rock (just after Thom Yorke of Radiohead did too).

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Send comments to Sean Trane (BETA) | Report this review (#9610) | Review Permalink
Posted Tuesday, February 24, 2004

Review by Peter
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars It's my belief that our reactions to works of art are frequently coloured by the personal associations and experiences that we bring to them. The superb LIGHTBULB SUN, a 2000 release from England's Porcupine Tree, is a case in point: The opening title track, sung by vocalist Steven Wilson from the perspective of an ailing child who hears his friends playing outside while he is confined to his bed, immediately struck a chord with me, and brought tears to my eyes -- I was often in that unenviable predicament myself (due to severe childhood asthma) as a boy: "The sun is a lightbulb, the candle's a treat, and the curtains stay closed now, on my little retreat.... but after a while, the noise from the street, is making me wish I was back on my feet." I really love this sadly beautiful (and often hard-rocking) song!

The rest of this magnificent disc is every bit as good (if less personally moving), and the band have their own sound. This is my first Porcupine Tree CD, but it seems to be the work of a seasoned group who are comfortable in their own identity, with no absolutely blatant progenitors -- a most welcome trait in a newer act! The overall sound is hard to classify -- the songs often tend toward the heavier end of the progressive spectrum, but there are ample moments of soft, sensitive, and intelligent beauty as well. Besides the aforementioned opener, I especially appreciate "How is Your Life Today," with its "haunted fairground" keyboards, and Yes-like vocal harmonies. "She's Moved On" (see the MP3 here) is a moody portrait of lost love and regret, and "Last Chance to Exit Planet Earth," with its L. Ron Hubbard-like voiceover, is an effective science-fictional number which posits that we are due to return "from whence we came." Replete with strings, "The Rest Will Flow" is a very pretty and impeccably-arranged offering that is reminiscent of XTC's fabulous SKYLARKING, while the nostalgic "Where We Would Be" has strumming acoustic guitar and some great lead from multi-instrumentalist Wilson. The thirteen-minute epic "Russia on Ice" proffers a dark, ominous and powerful depiction of the self-destructive tendencies that can push those who would love us away: "Can't stop myself drinking -- can't stop being me. If I call, will you come, and will you save me?... You said you hate me this way -- it's just a matter of time." The final section of the song gets particularly heavy (this track should not disappoint fans of "progressive metal" bands such as Dream Theater), before fading out to church bells and spacey keyboard "atmospherics." Finally, the closing track, with heart-tugging cello and string sounds, masterfully encapsulates modern isolation and the all-too-common failure to make meaningful, lasting human connections: "I was waiting for your email, and each day that you forgot to call just made me feel so low.... I tried to call, I just couldn't wait; and your message was out of date. So I left my voice on your machine, but you did not respond. Okay, okay -- you've won. You make me feel so low, so low."

Overall then, LIGHTBULB SUN is the best offering I've heard yet from any of the newer "progressive" bands. Masterful and moving, this terrific CD is very highly recommended! I plan to check out IN ABSENTIA and SIGNIFY next!

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Send comments to Peter (BETA) | Report this review (#9613) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, March 15, 2004

Review by loserboy
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars Another superb installment in the discography of PT this time emphasizing a much higher emphasis on vocal harmonies and a wider use of instrumentation (Tabla, Banjo, harp, sitar). As you would expect "Lightbulb Sun" contains the patented PT space prog accents with a wide range of sonic and mood changes all wrapped inside the thoughtful lyrics of Steve Wilson. In many ways this album musically builds off of "Stupid Dream" delivering some real thought provoking and "punchy" musical ideas appearing to represent some bad dream sequences. "Lightbulb Sun" actually captures the worldly doldrums and urban existence questions in a similar way "Radiohead" achieved on "OK Computer". Highlight for me here are the tracks "Shesmovedon" and the grand finale "Feel So Low" which concludes the album leaving the listener questioning the whole journey of life itself and our existence. Steve Wilson's musical brilliance is bubbling over here with the mix of orchestral elements on some of the tracks (Minerva Quartet- Violin, Viola, Cello) and raw guitar, bass and percussive musical swoops. All of this is layered over Barbieri's carefully crafted analog keyboard landscaped atmospheres. Deep album with some simply superb musicianship and top notch song writing making this album one of the bright spots of 2000 for this progressive rock music fan... let me call this another essential recording... "Brilliant stuff".

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Send comments to loserboy (BETA) | Report this review (#9612) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, March 17, 2004

Review by James Lee
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars The first thing I noticed was how beautifully produced these tracks are- as clear and detailed as any recording I've ever heard. Musically they don't seem to stray too far from traditional rock sensibilities, but combine the elements in new ways and introduce subtle new sounds to form alternately hard-hitting and lovely compositions. The title track is heartfelt and full of energy, very accessible and well done. "How Is Your Life Today?" has a spooky psychedelic flavor that never devolves into parody, and "Four Chords" has an almost modern-retro sound not a million miles away from a melding of 90s RUSH and pre-electronica RADIOHEAD. "Shesmovedon" is one of my favorites, shot through with stark beauty- the chorus is especially striking (is that subtle vocoder use? I was reminded slightly of ELO and ALAN PARSONS PROJECT in the harmonies, but only in the most favorable way). "Last Chance to Evacuate..." is pleasantly organic and yet flawlessly climaxes around an interesting audio sample. "The Rest Will Flow" is yearning and anthemic- I'd love to see them close a concert with this one. "Hatesong" could almost be a more-organic NINE INCH NAILS track until the middle section, which is pure modern progressive heavy heaven. "Where We Would Be" surrounds a classic structure with lovely sounds, including a fuzzed-out solo that is one of the instrumental highlights of the album. "Russia on Ice" starts stylistically similar to "Shesmovedon", but eventually ventures out into heavier territory and ultimately into space. Finally, "Feel So Low" establishes a simple, beautiful, cathartic mood, trailing off into a quiet conclusion for both the song and the album. This was my first experience with PORCUPINE TREE, so I cannot yet testify to how this one stacks up against other albums, but I immediately liked the sound and was fairly impressed with the band's abilities. Although I wouldn't have characterized it as a prog album had I not discovered it here, tracks like "Russia On Ice" do betray a bit of FLOYD influence- but with more personal lyrics. Indeed, it is the emotional honesty of the lyrics that characterizes this album, counterbalanced by an almost dispassionate vocal quality which prevents any appearance of melodrama. Why only three stars, if I liked it so much? I can't objectively rate this as essential, or even definitively progressive, but it's definitely one of the better albums of the last five years and money well spent.

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Send comments to James Lee (BETA) | Report this review (#9625) | Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, June 06, 2004

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars MODERN PSYCHEDELIC! This probably the right basket on where to categorize the kind of music this album is. What is psychedelic? Well, my prog guru, Andy Julias, put it simply as a kind of music that when you listen to it you'll experience the feeling of being "into the other world". I buy this definition; it's simple but it's about right, I think. You may have different definition, but I feel this definition is good enough for me to digest what kind of animal psychedelic music is. Why I put a "modern" word? Because the original root of psychedelic was dated back mid of 60s with limitation of sound technology. This album is produced with the state of the art sound technology. Yes, Porcupine Tree has a strong competence to produce "incredible sound" of their music.

The opening track "Lightbulb Sun" proves the modern psychedelic music category as it has an acoustic guitar rhythm opening similar to the style of 60s psychedelic music. The only different is in the sound production which is much more advanced than the early psychedelic. This song flows naturally and nicely with great acoustic guitar rhythm dominating the music, accentuated by piano play.

"How Is Your Life Today" is a mellow track with piano as main instrument. Even though this track is drum-less but I believe this is very good one to check your stereo system sound as it has a perfect sonic production sound. The acapella style on vocal line has made his track is unique. You would hardly hate this track, it's excellent!

"Four Chords That Made A Million" is heavily influenced by the Beatles. I'm not a Beatlemania or sort but I think there is a similarity of a track in White album or Sgt Pepper's Lonely Heart Club Band. "She'smovedon" is a medium beat track with soft acoustic guitar and drumming. The solo guitar interlude in the middle of the track is so stunning and is NOT similar with a kind of old style psychedelic music. If I could put it simply, this song is like a BEATLES kind of song but performed in a modern PINK FLOYD way. Great job, Mr. Steven Wilson!

"Last Chance ." is an excellent song opened with a mandolin and acoustic guitar rhythm and melody followed with nice vocal "If you fall asleep with me ." . wow .!!! What a great voice! And you see the nuance? It's inviting you to a journey to "the other world"....!! The interlude part of this song is really stunning - simple music that flows naturally accompanied by a narration sung in a PA way (using public address microphone or sort of that . typically used by PINK FLOYD). It then connect to next track "Rest Will Flow" which to me it sounds like a normal pop song with some influence of RADIOHEAD or MUSE music. This song is too poppy for me and bit boring ..

"Hatesong" is absolutely excellent track opened with a dynamic yet straight forward bass line followed by drum and strange guitar sound at background. Well, I have to admit that no one does better than Mr. Steven Wilson in creating strange and incredible sound effects in their music. Two thumbs UP for him on this. (I sometime imagine how if PINK FLOYD The Dark Side of The Moon was engineered by Steven Wilson in the making of it? It must have sounded much different than we have now, I think. Sorry, Mr. Alan Parson, I don't mean to say yours is not good enough. In fact you did a great job.). There is an interesting segment roughly in the middle where there is a silence followed by solo acoustic guitar with eastern music style and continued with sort of riffs. When the solo keyboard comes into play, it helps in enriching the music. Excellent interlude!

"Russia on Ice" is another fabulous track with its intro a bit or reminding me to the intro of "Sheep" of PINK FLOYD. No no no .. it's not the same. It just gives similar nuances, I think, especially at couple seconds of intro. The first half of this track is purely mellow and the rest is an uplifting instrumental piece with great guitar, keyboard, sound effects and dynamic drumming. This album is RECOMMENDED. - Gatot Widayanto, Indonesia.

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Send comments to Gatot (BETA) | Report this review (#9627) | Review Permalink
Posted Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Review by Certif1ed
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Four Chords That Made a Marillion?

All that glisters is not gold.

And with that obscure statement, I turn your attention to "Lightbulb Sun", which has a fabulous production which is almost tangible, producing an album which is, overall, inoffensive - I would use the word "nice" - but not very original musically and difficult to perceive as prog. To quantify that last statement, the songs are generally in the traditional Intro, Verse-Chorus-Verse-Chorus-Bridge-Verse-Chorus format, and do not deviate far from that safety net on the whole, there is nothing new here in terms of song writing or arrangement that you wouldn't hear on "Revolver" and the overall effect is of a pop/rock album of which any track would fit in well on any FM Rock station.

Since many reviewers have taken a track-by-track approach, I will follow suit;

The title track sounds like something from Marillion's "Anoraknaphobia", with flat, uninteresting melodies and a surprisingly unstructured guitar solo that comes across as "intentional bluff". The bass lines are very Pete Trewavas, and the vocals are almost unmistakably h, although somewhat less precious, underlining the Marillion link. It's unremarkable, but nice.

"How is Your LIfe Today?" is in 3/4, but is still just a nice pop/rock song.

"Four Chords That Made A Million", of course, did not live up to the title, and is derivative of 80's indie band the Cult but with vocals that sound like Matt Bellamy from Muse. Basic 4/4 rock with a time change around 2:30 for the bridge.

"Shesmovedon" has an interesting title and is nice overall; The basic E-G riff that is used throughout is the one exception, as that is poorly executed with vertical issues (in the harmony) that cause it to sound muddy. The production is particularly noticeable, as this song as a nice, fat sound, which enhances the BJH style vocal harmonies. The 1st guitar solo is very rough and spoils it a bit, but we do get some proggy textures in the "burn-out" section at the end, albeit with a noodly and directionless 2nd guitar solo.

"Last Chance to Exit Planet Earth" has a great opportunity to do something progressive, with its Roy Harper influenced intro and fretless bass work that puts me in mind of Camel, or "Wherever I Lay My Hat" by Paul Young. The vocal harmonies are interestingly like Crosby Stills and Nash and there is a guitar sample that sounds like it was directly lifted from "Revolver". There are some interesting textural experiments, but layering textures is not a progressive way of writing music - that's been done since the 1960s! This is the most interesting track, IMO.

"The Rest Will Flow" is a nice, gentle MOR song, repetitive but tranquil. The melody lines are the real let-down, as there is no discernable answering phrasing, just repeated lines which serve no dramatic purpose. There is some orchestration, but it is over-produced and somewhat syrupy for my taste.

"Hatesong" is an 8 and a half minuter - hopefully we will find some prog here. Well, only if you consider "Anoraknaphobia" to be a prog album. The breakbeat could have been lifted from any one of a vast number of sample CDs, and is somewhat dull, but I like the bass intro (as a bassist!). The spacey guitar effects and vocals are very Radiohead, and were obviously inspired by "OK Computer" - a far more progressive album than this. Even the vocals sound a little like Thom Yorke. The two stops are a bit irritating as they break the flow, although the heavy Zeppelin-like riff is very welcome. The solos again are directionless, and the song feels about 2-3 minutes too long, especially with that long fadeout. Nice, though.

"Where Would We Be" is an unadventurous pop/rock song, rather dirge-like and directionless. The abrupt and unnecessary guitar solo spoils any ambience this song might otherwise have had. The urge to hit skip is quite strong here...

But I wanted to experience the whole album, and the 13 or so minute track which looms ahead is now daunting, rather than tantalising as it was when I began listening;

"Russia On Ice" has a great intro - superb ambient floaty textures with lots of reverb, reminding me a little of Steve Hillage's "Rainbow Dome Musick". I wish it hadn't, because the light cymbals and guitar soon intrude into the ambience after just a minute. The Pink Floyd riff, straight off the "Animals" album is well executed, but the vocals are pure h. There is a constant stop-start approach taken in this track to get to new ideas, which becomes a little wearying - especially the sudden jump to a major key BJH style, and the piece takes on the form of a patchwork quilt of ideas (many very good and interesting, but none original or consistent) which do not develop or progress in any way.

I couldn't bring myself to listen to the last track, as I'm sure I would have found myself making similar observations.

All in all, despite my focus on the negative (which is what jumps out at me when I put the music under the microscope), a nice pop/rock album, perfect for doing the dishes to - but I wouldn't give it my undivided attention!

Three Stars, and I'm being generous.

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Posted Thursday, August 05, 2004

Review by penguindf12
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Okay. What is this? There's something for everyone on this album: alternative, metal, psychadelia, hard rock, and just a dash of progressive rock...yes, a dash. Much of this album is not prog-related, but dang, it's good. The title track is, as Peter said, sung from the perspective of a sickly child shut up in his room watching TV in bed. It ranges from acoustic, psychadelic bliss to metal, hinting at prog at times. It's actually my favorite track on here.

Track two is "How is your life today?" a somewhat cynical short piano piece with somewhat odd lyrics and a ballad feel. It sounds like an old ballroom dance piece, a haunted ballroom, as it's played in minor key. It also features a couple harmonys in a sort of YES-like fashion, but not quite. "Four Chords that made a Million" is a plastic guitar riff-laden parody piece which sounds very good but is purposefully repetitive. The lyrics mock traditional rock stars and their pointless, artistically empty songs. Next is "Shesmovedon," an alternative/metal sounding piece with some catchy tunes in it and a guitar solo halfway through. Another somewhat standout track.

"Last Chance to Evacuate Earth..." is really in two parts. It begins with some odd acoustic guitar which sounds...like a 12-string, perhaps? I can't tell, but it has this odd sound...oh well. The lyrics are dreamy, nostalgic, and sleepy. Following is another part with a man speaking over the acoustic guitar about some weird sci-fi stuff in a stuffed- shirt manner. Weird. Next is a short, light strummer called "The Rest Will Flow." Nothing exemplary, but a nice little song.

Track eight is "Hatesong," a bass-heavy semi-prog piece with some surprisingly unhateful lyrics about a guy writing a hatesong. Okay...whatever. It stumbles along, but fails to really go anywhere. Sandwiched between this song and the next long track is "Where We Would Be," a great song, but again not standout. "Russia on Ice" is not an epic in the normal sense. It contains a lot of psychadelia, and the mood changes quite a bit, but for some reason it never becomes "epic." After some odd keyboard noises, we get to the closer "Feel So Low," an emotional but fairly simplistic downer. But good nonetheless.

There aren't really too many standout tracks in here, and the diversity of it is not instantly recognizable. It is not really prog rock, more in the alternative and psychadelic vein, but worth buying, definitely.

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Posted Saturday, December 18, 2004

Review by Fitzcarraldo
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
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).

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Posted Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Review by FishyMonkey
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Somehow just calling it another masterpiece doesn't quite do it justice. Lightbulb Sun is the ALMOST the pinnacle of PT's long legacy of awesome albums, from the amazing quiet and sometimes extremely noisy moments of The Sky Moves Sideways to the more recent radio-friendly prog on Deadwing (that is still excellent). This however, is so close to being better than In Absentia...but not quite. Three songs kill it.

On this album we get a perfect combination of mellow psychadelic to some nice PT-style prog metal (which basically means about as heavy as Dream Theater's softest moments), the best on the album being Hatesong. Hatesong is a perfect combination of quiet moments then with loud moments with distorted guitar...overall, the best on the album, besides the lyrics being a bit iffy. The musicianship is awesome, no doubt. Shesmovedon is right behind it as my second favorite. I just like the little groove this piece gets into with great lyrics and good songwriting all around. No real weak part in the whole song. We have the more mellow yet epic in scope Russia On Ice, which has som' amazing moments. Last Chance is a strange song with some strange speech about the earth getting recycled, but some nice banjo work in there with a very good performance by Steve Wilson. Four Chords is an EXCELLENT song, upbeat and really energetic, definitely a good one. It's the perfect single, and has some nice work with...bongos, I think in the beginning.

How Is Your Life Today is definitely the strangest track. It's got a slightly ghostly piano melody playing in the background with Steve singing strange lyrics. Overall, there are some really pretty parts that make it a good song, comparable to Lips of Ashes, although I like Lips Of Ashes more. The title track is a good song, nothing incredible, but definitely excellent. While I can't pick out anything particularily great about, there's nothing bad. Plus, it's a great introduction to PT if it's your first album.

EDIT: I have to apologize. This album is not as good as In Absentia. The Rest Will Flow, Feel So Low and Where We Would Be are not good songs. They're OK. but not good. The rest of the album is awesome, ESPECIALLY Hatesong and Russia On Ice which are awesome. However, those three songs aren't good. This gets four stars, not five. About 3/4s is awesome, incredible listening..but those three songs are just bad.

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Posted Friday, May 20, 2005

Review by frenchie
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars I find "Lightbulb Sun" to be one of the more accessable and interesting Porcupine Tree albums. Steve manages to show of his emotional side in some of the acoustic tracks such as the title track. There is quite an upbeat and positive aura surrounding most of this album. "Four Chords that Made a Million" is an enjoyable track that displays interesting guitar work.

This album is less proggy than most others and it is still difficult to really get into some of these tracks for me. "Russia on Ice" is a brilliant epic. Although this album is rather individual and varied, it still just doesn't manage to amaze me at all. The talent is all here but the songwriting just doesn't capture me.

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Posted Saturday, October 22, 2005

Review by NJprogfan
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars The perfect bridge between Modern Rock and Prog, a sort of safe way to introduce prog to someone who may not like the term "prog" because of association to the dinosaurs of the past, (you know who they are :-)) Recent day Porcupine Tree seems to have embraced metal, and this one has none of that, "Russia On Ice" being the exception with a bit of metal riffing at the 3/4 mark. "Lightbulb Sun" is more Beatles structure with Beach Boys harmony. Steve Wilson definately has a 'Brian' Wilson fetish at times, (see "How Is Your Life?") There are some tracks echoing the past, ("Last Chance to Evacuate Planet Earth Before It Is Recycled" for example). And the Pink Floydish sound is still evident in said song and the beginning of "Russia On Ice". This review is for the 2-disc version with three bonus tracks and a video. My favorite bonus is the live version of "Tintro Brass", (I really miss the psychiness of their early work). And that's pretty much why I rate this less than five-stars. Less prog, more mainstream but done extremely well.

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Posted Thursday, November 17, 2005

Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars Last chance to make a million?

With their previous album "Stupid dream", Porcupine Tree moved into more commercial musical areas. At the same time, they retained much of what made their back catalogue so appealing. "Lightbulb sun" continues that transition by combining several shorter, more accessible tracks with progressive rock structured pieces. Someone coming to Porcupine Tree for the first time via this album, and hearing tracks such as "Shesmovedon" and "Four chords which made a million" might wonder what all the fuss is about, especially in prog terms. These two songs, sequenced back to back, are among the most commercial the band has ever made. Both clearly have an eye on the singles market, with strong hooks and melodic choruses. There are other leanings towards the accessible too, "How is your life today" sounds at times like a reworking of the Beatles "She's leaving home", and the end of the track is reminiscent of the Stranglers out of character "Waltzinblack".

There are though more traditional Porcupine Tree songs too, with distinct Floydian influences. "Russia on ice" is a sprawling 13 minute piece, with a Roger Waters like baseline to start, and some fine lead guitar. This is one of three tracks on the album to feature a string section. Steve Wilson's apparent obsession with hate comes through yet again in the lyrics (see also "Hatesong" on this album and "Don't hate me" on "Stupid dream"). The alternating quiet and loud passages Wilson favours are present on tracks such as the title song, while the strange "Last chance to exit planet Earth.." has some good Jeff Beck like guitar. The final track, "Feels so low" sounds like a straight outtake from Pink Floyd's "The wall".

Whether the theme of the album (relationships and in particular the break-up of relationships) was in any way related to the acrimonious departure of Chris Maitland from the band, is a matter for speculation. Rumour has it that there was an actual fight between Maitland (who was replaced by Gavin Harrison), and Steve Wilson, although Wilson to this day refuses to confirm or deny this. He does however say that he and Maitland are now "good friends", and indeed they worked together recently on their "Blackfield" project

While the song writing credits for each track tend to be shared among the members, Wilson adopts a similar approach to Todd Rundgren with Utopia;. i.e. Wilson writes most of the songs by himself, and the band then develop them, sometimes through improvisation. Tracks such as "Russia on Ice" and "Intermediate Jesus" (from "Signify") came about in this way.

In summary, a rather eclectic mix of some of the most commercial songs Porcupine Tree have recorded, and a few more traditional PT numbers. Well worth investigation.

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Posted Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Review by greenback
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Porcupine Tree is not a conventional progressive rock band: it belongs to the new generation of progressive rock that use marginal, melancholic and mellow textures. "Lightbulb sun" consists in a mix of Blackfield, Radiohead and Barclay James Harvest played in an often mellow manner. The music is rather emotional, pretty melancholic and quite depressing; it is not very progressive. I feel a certain unease and sadness while listening to the more mellow parts of the album. It seems the trip involved is for teenagers who have the blues and have contradictory peaceful and rebel feelings that make them bipolar persons. I do not feel comfortable with the marginal style of all the ambience involved. The electric guitar riffs are pretty annoying: I have never been fond of such unrefined and garage sound. There are omnipresent rhythmic acoustic guitar arrangements. The keyboards are rather timid & atmospheric, and forget about elaborated solos. Definitely better than Radiohead, Porcupine Tree have a better sense of melody and catchiness, but they should work harder on the sound of their guitar riffs and on the complexity of the tracks. "She moves down" and "Russia on ice" contains some Barclay James Harvest's similitudes. There are a few very good passages like the second part of "Last chance to evacuate planet Earth before it is recycled".

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Posted Thursday, May 18, 2006

Review by Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars Steven Wilson would use more mellotron on this release then any of his previous records. Not surprisingly this is the darker of the two "song oriented" albums PORCUPINE TREE recorded. Of the two I prefer this one more than "Stupid Dream", I think it's the melancholic and dark vibe on this album. The "Lightbulb Sun" cd I have is a double with the second disc containing three tracks namely "Buying A New Soul", "Pure Narcotic" and a live version of "Tinto Brass". I like what it says in the liner notes: "Steven Wilson uses Boots nasal spray. Richard Barbieri uses outdated keyboards". Haha.

"Lightbulb Sun" contrasts the heavy and light very well. Love the lyrics too.The guitar 2 1/2 minutes in is aggressive, and it's even better after 3 1/2 minutes as it goes on and on. Nice. Awesome song ! You can hear children playing in the background to end it. "How Is Your Life Today" is a silly song with piano and vocals. I like it. "Four Chords That Made A Million" is BEATLES-esque to open before it settles in with percussion. It turns spacey 2 1/2 minutes in.This is probably my least favourite song on here. "Shesmovedon" is one of my all time favourite PORCUPINE TREE songs. Mellotron, organ and a splendid guitar solo. Great chorus too. I like when it kicks back in 3 1/2 minutes with heavy drums and grinding guitar, then he starts to rip it up. Emotional track for me. "Last Chance To Exit Planet Earth" is another highlight for me. It just flows beautifully. And check out the opening banjo. A change 2 minutes in with spoken words to follow. This is so cool ! A full sound kicks in at 3 minutes and I like the bass lines a minute later.

"The Rest Will Flow" is kind of poppy, it's ok. I like the Hammond organ, and there is a string quartet helping out too. "Hatesong" is dark (what else would it be) with mellotron. Love the bass lines to open as eerie synths come in. It builds to an amazing sound 3 minutes in.The light and heavy are contrasted throughout. Excellent atmosphere before 7 minutes. It ends with birds singing. Haha. "Where Would We Be" is a tranquil song as the birds continue to sing then strummed guitar and vocals come in. Beautiful song. Nice guitar solo 2 1/2 minutes in. "Russia On Ice" the next tune is a dark, heavy yet uplifting song. The string quartet is back for this one. Love the lyrics too: "Can't stop myself drinking, can't stop being me, if I call will you come and will you save me ?" This is simply one of the best songs they've ever created. So dark and at times heavy. Check out the church bells 11 1/2 minutes in as it ends with lots of atmosphere. The record closes with "Feel So Low" a melancholic, beautiful song. The string quartet is back for this one too. A sad ending to a beautiful album.

Easily 4 stars and a must have for PT fans.

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Posted Thursday, November 02, 2006

Review by Tristan Mulders
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Porcupine Tree - Lightbulb Sun

Porcupine Tree's finest moment according to many, I simply think it's good, but definitely not their masterpiece.

"Lightbulb Sun" sees this band incorporating a more mainstream, Britpop to be precise, sound within their music. Okay, we knew Wilson must have really like Pink Floyd/David Gilmour, the whole "Sky moves sideways" album is enough evidence to prove that fact, but here it's The Beatles. Just listen to the second track on this album: How is your Life today?. This is a tune that sounds like it was written by the pioneers themselves. Compared to the remaining songs on this album, the song's rather short and simplistic, but just listen to the way the keyboard progresses: sheer magic.

As I said earlier on, this album's a lot more accessible than PT's previous works, at least for those out there unaware of prog music and it's abstract tendencies. Sure, there are a few complex and eerie sections included in some of the songs, but most songs have the gift of being catchy from first played note.

A good example of this last category is the song Shesmovedon. Starting of as a typical rock ballad (emphasize on 'rock'!), the song gradually changes into a Steven Wilson guitar solo show-off section, which, in my opinion as a humble Porcupine Tree fan, is one of his finest moments up to date. In fact this song was one of the first PT songs I listened to and it was perhaps the reason for me to discover more of this band! And yes, it did make me an adept to this band's music.

Whereas most of the music compiled on this album shows the direction the band would head on for the next couple of years, there's also a bit of 'nostalgia' included. Last Chance to evacuate Planet Earth before it's recycled is basically an instrumental song (apart from the first minute) with resemblances with the earliest PT works, especially because of the highly typical keyboard sound which reminds me of some of the songs on the "Yellow Hedgerow Dreamscape" album.

According to many Russia on Ice is one of PT's finest songs. It's also a song that sounds a lot like what we're used to from Porcupine Tree at the time of release. A bit of the laidback guitar playing from the "Sky moves sideways" album, with a twist of signify and some new elements that proved to be the bands trademark for the set of albums that followed: heavy guitar parts accompanied by pretty aggressive drumming and experimental keyboard patterns.

I would dare to say there aren't any bad songs included, but I have to admit that Where we would be never managed to work for me. It simply doesn't grip me the way the other songs do work for me. Overall, this is a great starting point for those unaware of Porcupine Tree's music and like to try it out.

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Posted Saturday, November 04, 2006

Review by Zitro
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars 3.9 Stars in Prog rock standards

Accessibility rating: 9/10

An excellent accessible album that increases enjoyment after each listen as more details are grasped. Lightbulb Sun is an album where the band focused mainly on songwriting as opposed to extended atmospherics and spacey jams from their Sky Moves Sideways/Signify phase. This may be a good or bad thing, depending on your taste of music. Personally, I do not see it as either a good nor bad move by the band as I enjoy this style equally the same. Do not think that by accessible Im saying that Porcupine Tree turned uncreative. Creativity is still present, certainly more than in Sky Moves Sideways which sounds like a clone of Pink Floyd's masterpiece "Wish you Were Here" at times. Instrumentation and musical ideas are still explorative in nature and it is easy to see that Porcupine Tree is not selling out, instead, it is exploring a new sound, somewhat heavier in nature, and more focused on melodies.

The opener and title track is a clear example of what I mean. This song could be a great radio hit as it is catchy, accessible, and its guitar riffs could draw alternative rock and heavy metal fans while the impressive songwriting is just interesting to any music fan. She's Moved On is a better example of this, a wonderful rock/pop tune with irresistible melodies, simplistic beauty, and one of Porcupine Tree's best guitar solos. Meanwhile, you can also get accessibility from the other side of the specrum: laid back and relaxing songs such as "Feel so Low", "Where We Would Be", and "Rest Will Flow" , drenched in mellotron and acoustic guitars. Where We Would Be 's guitar playing is uncomfortably similar to Renaissance's "Midas Man." LightBulb Sun also has inventive and unorthodox songwriting, showcased in Last Chance to Evacuate ... which is one of the most interesting compositions in this album as a result of its unique sound and great use of acoustic guitars, especially in minute 2. How is Your Life Today , on the other hand, relies on musical simplicity and vocal harmonies, yet it is not really a conventional song at all.

For diehard fans of progressive rock, I doubt Hatesong and Russia on Ice will disappoint! Hatesong is possibly the heaviest Porcupine Tree song of all times, featuring a mindblowing and skull crushing guitar riff in the middle, plenty of mellotron, great vocal melodies, excellent use of the bass guitar for the rest of the song. Russia On Ice is longer than 10 minutes and will please any fan of their album Signify. It goes back to the wonderful spacy, extended, and creative music that Signify brought and the inventive style of bass playing in there. The album is by no any means flawless though. There is a song that does not really work in my opinion: Four Chords That Made a Million . I dont know if this song is a parody because it really sounds quite silly and uncomfortable. You really got simple four chords, played like an untalented punk song would do. The vocal melodies and performances are unimaginative and mediocre at best, being at their worst on the verses. Also, the main guitar riff has quite an unusual tone that I do not like. Not to forget, I do not now what Steven Wilson was thinking by allowing the drummer to use that tribal style of percussion at the beginning because it is realy out of place.

Song Ratings for number freaks like me:

1. Lightbulb Sun (8.5/10)

2. How Is Your Life Today ? (6.5/10)

3. Four Chords That Made A Million (4.5/10)

4. Shesmovedon (9/10)

5. Last Chance To Evacuate Planet Earth Before It Is Recycled (8.5/10)

6. The Rest Will Flow (7/10)

7. Hatesong (9/10)

8. Where We Would Be (6.5/10)

9. Russia On Ice (8/10)

10. Feel So Low (8/10)

Who Should Get this album: Any Porcupine Tree fan, Any alt. Rock fan who can listen to songs over 5 minutes in length, anyone who can enjoy relatively simple music as long as it is masterfully crafted, any fan of Pink Floyd.

Who Should Not Get this album: Geez, I really don't know what to say here. This is an album that should please all masses. I guess if you don't like Porcupine Tree, or if you are looking for an album for dancing or headbanging.

My Grade : B

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Posted Saturday, November 11, 2006

Review by evenless
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars The 2000 issue of LIGHTBULB SUN was good, maybe even very good. However: I'm desperately awaiting their 2006/2007? re-issue also being remixed in multi channel 5.1 This has to become PT's definitive version of the album as the band initially intended it to be! A similar re-issue from the STUPID DREAM album has been issued in 2006. If you don't have this album yet I would certainly advise you wait a bit and get the 2006/2007? re-issue as PT's 5.1 mixes are simply astonishing. You should play it on a DVD- A player, but it is also playable in Dolby Digital or dts, making it enjoyable on almost any surround home theatre set. PORCUPINE TREE has won several awards for their multi channel album mixes and this one proves that they really take this very seriously and put a lot of effort in it.

So what makes LIGHTBULB SUN worth while? Well, even if it only had the track RUSSIA ON ICE on it I would already have bought the album! To me this track is a great example of what PORCUPINE TREE really is. Initially the song is heading in a certain direction and you'll already like it. Then, suddenly it kicks off in a completely different direction, something you would not expect and I love it! Why does a song have to consist out of a verse followed by a second verse followed by the chorus? F*ck musical rules! As an artist you can do with your music whatever you want. You could call it musical freedom or call it whatever you want, the result is mind blowing!

Other favourite tracks of mine are the title track, Shesmovedon, Last Chance To Evacuate Planet Earth Before It Is Recycled and Hatesong.

This album is as good as STUPID DREAM and therefore also deserves at least a 4 star rating!

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Posted Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Review by TRoTZ
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Rating this album was not an easy task. While continuing the Stupid Dream's effort to put their sound towards the more convencional pop/rock structures, the band still managed to explore, perhaps their most with great success, new domains for progression.

Nevertheless, in the more "conventional" side of the band, we clearly regognize Steven Wilson's signature. Tracks like "How is your life today", "The Rest Will Flow" and "Shesmovedon" flow, very balanced, in a cascade of nostalgic backing vocals. The latter, "Shesmovedon", would rapidly become a Porcupine Tree's classic, blending to its memorable chorus an heartbreaking guitar solo in its final. The opener "Lightbulb Sun", though not being specially complex, the band shows high mastery on balancing perfectly its several arrangements, making it as almost as it had in fact a basic structure. Every aspect of its components was placed perfectly, from several accoustic guitar moments, modern heavy guitar riffs, feeled guitar solos creating a perfect ambience of nostalgic joyfulness. In "Four Courds That Made a Million" the distorted electric guitar create a strange effect while in the spacey three-phase-structure "Last Chance to Evacuate Planet Earth" is memorable for its incorporation of the videotape of the Heaven's Gate leader's last words before the massive suicide in 1997. The inventive "Hatesong" is the most psychadelic of the collection, a song that the band would transform later in their technical peak.

But the album standout is the impressive "Russia on Ice", a memorable space epic, in an almost post-rock way, incorporating several symphonic arrangements. The music flows transmitting a horde of feelings in the depressive camp, giving the sensation of a cosmic pause in Time, until the sonic power of its cathartic end. Once more the celestial backing vocals help to encore a ethereal beauty on it. An impressive moment of music!

A very delicate aproach to music in a very dynamic album. Within its pretension, it reinvented progressive rock, particularly in Russia on Ice.

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Posted Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Review by Eclipse
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Although i prefer Sky Moves and In Absentia much more to this one, i still like it because of its occasionally catchy music, though not as deep as i like. I never liked albums whose themes are "i'm a sad teenager who can't get a girlfriend and i enjoy drawning in my own self-pity", or anything related or similar to that. I think such messages can induce negative feelings for socially weak persons, who haven't learnt to work on their emotional intelligence. Music is to feed the soul, and not to rise depression feelings. So, if you are sad because the hot chick or the handsome guy of your classroom doesn't want you, go listen to Close to the Edge or anything like that, upbeat and happy. There's no reason to go deeper and deeper on the blackhole of depression and self shame. That's why i don't give too high ratings for PT or Radiohead albums, musically both bands are very different, but their messages are very similar most of times.

But, back to the album, here we have some nice PT gems, with some FLOYDian accents (it impresses me that some of the same people who complain about ELOY ripping the FLOYD off occasionally are fans of this particular band), and a dark atmosphere. I think "Russian on Ice" is overrated, but tracks like "Feel So Low", "Last Chance...", the title track and its catchy riff, the second track and its floydian copycat face, "Rest Will Flow" and "Hatesong" are all good and make this album worthy. I don't agree with the message of these tracks though. I don't listen to music to remember my bad love experiences, it would be a stupid kind of nostalgia, after all. So, i prefer to ignore what's being said on the not so impressive lyrics here.

A nice PT effort, but there's much better stuff done by this band before and after Lightbulb Sun.

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Posted Saturday, January 20, 2007

Review by Fight Club
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Another killer Porcupine Tree album!? What!?!

As most of us know, Porcupine Tree has had a pretty great career! Starting with the collection of random psychedelic songs, On the Sunday of Life... and moving all the way up to their latest output, Fear of a Blank Planet, Porcupine Tree has made quite some notable albums. This album is no exception! Lightbulb Sun (along with Stupid Dream) is where they took more conventional pop styles and combined their signature psychedelic sound to make a sort of "progressive pop" record. Don't be fooled though, this is no radio friendly album.

Things kick off with an upbeat acoustic intro to the title track. The song flows nicely with switching acoustic and electric guitars all the way through. The melodies here are beautiful and catchy yet they have a strangely psychedelic feel. The album continues with a sort of "linking" track How Is Your Life Today. A short piano, piece, nothing spectacular, but it serves it's purpose.

Four Chords That Made a Million is probably my only complaint about the album. It's not a bad song, it just doesn't quite fit in with the rest. There is a very melancholic aura over the album that just doesn't seem present in this song. Everything is back on course again though, once Shesmovedon begins. This song is one of the greatest highlights of the album, and of Porcupine Tree's entire catelog. Just listen to the incredible outro solo and you'll instantly know this is a uniquely amazing album.

The unique blend of pop and psychedelia continues through the whole album taking the listener on a journey through another world. In my opinion, the best albums are always the ones that make you completely forget the where and the when and just allow the listener to float into another dimension. Each and every PT album does this with great effectiveness, however are all different from one another.

While reviewing this album, I couldn't decide whether or not to give it 4 stars or 5 stars. A simple 4 doesn't seem to do it justice, as most albums do not absorb me like this one. But compared to In Absentia and The Sky Moves Sideways, which I believe to be complete masterpieces of music, this album doesn't quite reach up with those. However I believe Russia On Ice to be the deciding the factor here. One of the greatest achievements in PT's career. This song is a tour de force. One of those songs that seems to last only a single moment. All time and space is left behind.

Feel So Low sums up the album, and very well. A nice melancholy track, that leaves the listener just craving more PT and wondering how someone could create such genius melodies. If anyone ever had a doubt they could be highly melodic and sophisticated at the same time, this album would show them otherwise.

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Posted Saturday, March 24, 2007

Review by OpethGuitarist
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Turn on the lights.

Porcupine Tree really comes to form in its "2nd era" if you will, on this album. A very accessible and easy to enjoy PT album that would help draw in a new audience, although hardly to the degree that In Absentia and Deadwing would achieve in that regard. Call it prog-related with progressive structures, regardless, this album probably has a little something for most music listeners.

This falls in line with what many would call a more aggressive approach to progressive rock, with the distorted guitars being a bit more distorted and essentially creating a clashing of sound compared to the almost "glass-like" presence found on classic albums by bands like Camel. This is pretty evident throughout, as it is more a stylistic approach by the band than anything else.

Those familiar with Steven Wilson will recognize his trademark songwriting ability, which essentially is why the band is so good. Porcupine Tree have never been technically proficient, but what they lack in wankery they make up for in the ability to craft music that is captivating and unique, even if it does draw from many sources. While Lightbulb Sun may not be their best, it is still quite a nice release and I think most all prog fans will find some kind of enjoyment in it.

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Posted Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Review by obiter
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars I suppose one of the best feelings about being into prog is that bands push the norms (or asthe US puts it the envelope) a little bit. it makes it difficult to describe the music by analogy.

This is a really fine album. It's beautifully put together. Crafted. Last Chance to Evacuate Planet Earth is a MUST LISTEN TO song. It's almost pointless to describe it. How do you describe Topographic Oceans, Broon's Bane, Shine On, Afroclonk?

There are some tremendous tracks which your non-pog friends will love: Four Chords. Shesmovedon, The Rest Will Flow. Hatesong reminds me of the cool groove of Slave Called Shiver in Stupid Dream. Mmmm nice, High Five as Bhorat would say.

it's odd but "Where We Would Be" maps the change in prog. Gone is the postiive Golf Girl of Caravan and Yes I've Seen All Good People. THis is an interesting contrast. Listen to PT and then play yes or canterbury and there's a similarity in musicianship and approach but the sentiment seems (at least to me) vastly different.

Russai on Ice is a fairly banal self-pitying piece of tripe: give me a break. Deal with it. I obviously would have been a rubbish therapist. if you want deeply moving dark and emotional listen to Mozart's Requiem.

Then we have the happy disney club anthem "Feel so Low". For pity's sake! With uplifting lines like "I hate every minute ... You make me feel so low Thanks". Where's Britney??

So Lightbulb Sun on its own ... 2.5 stars (of which 2.49 stars are for Last Chance) . Ah but if you get the one with the bonus disk you also get Pure Narcotic & Piano Lessons. Quite frankly with Last Chance .... this scrapes it up to 4 stars.

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Posted Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Review by ZowieZiggy
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Porcupine tree will deliver a very pleasant rock album with "Lightbulb. Traditonal "PT" music like during the title and opening number which is just amazing. It started as a mellow song and as this song buids crescendo, it gets little by little fully rock and a great and furious guitar solo will dynamize the whole quite a bit (but there will be several during this album). "Hatesong" is a bit in the same vein (I mean typical "PT" song). This hard and hypnotic riff is fully Crimsonesque of course.

Several genres formed this album.

"How Is Your Life Today" is mostly melancholic, even childish. It fully reminds me "The Beatles" at some point. Some pop-rock song as well like the very good "Four Chords To Make A Million" (philosophically punkish).

One will also have some indication as to know some "Riverside" influence.This is noticeable during "Shesmovedon" : these riffs are pretty similar to those of Piotr (the guitar player from "Riverside"). It is another beautiful song from "Lightbulb" with so inspired vocal harmonies. The closing guitar solo is brilliant and passionate. A highlight.

Some weaker parts are also featured but not too many ("Last Chance To Evacuate Planeth Earth" and the mellowish "The Rest Will Flow"). This album is one of the most melodic of the band. A wonderful example is "Where We Would Be". Pastoral start, and an incredibly beautiful guitar solo again. I just like them. So much passion. I NEED these moments, they are so enjoyable and relaxing. This song is also fully Floydian.

The band also somehow returned to their roots when displaying a fully space-rock music. The long "Russia On Ice" is the best example. It is my favourite song of this album. It has an hypnotic but slow-paced riff, beautiful guitar (hi David) and such Floydian oriented-vocals. The link is more than obvious here (but not only). It is one of their most melodious song ever written. It wouldn't a true "PT" song if some harder elements weren't involved. So, we'll get them as well here. During these, Crimson is not far away.

The closing number is on the mellow side (with such a title, I guess that it is all but normal : "Feel So Low"). There are several options to close an album. Either you have a great epic and almost the best track or you have some sorts of left over to fill the album. IMO, this song belongs to the second category and could have been skipped. "Russia On Ice" would have such a great way to end this album...

Three stars.

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Posted Thursday, September 27, 2007

Review by kev rowland
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover Team
4 stars Porcupine Tree are a rarity indeed, a prog band that dares to be fashionable. The line-up is also extremely stable, having been the same for seven years. Steve Wilson provides vocals/guitar (as well as others instruments, and most of the songs), Richard Barbieri is on keys, Colin Edwin on bass and Chris Maitland on drums. Porcupine Tree are truly progressive in the sense that that bring together many musical styles and are not content to stay in any one musical area for too long. They are not copyists or wannabes; they are very much in control of their own musical destiny.

The opening song, "Lightbulb Sun", is a case in point. It starts life as a gentle acoustic guitar number, with some delicate piano. Apart from the vocals, it could be classic Tull tinged with The Beatles. This suddenly becomes a rock number, and then as the rhythm section finally makes an appearance, it is a more upbeat indie number, yet all the time continuing the initial melodic theme.

The next number, "How Is Your Life Today?" reminds me of Godley & Crčme, with no rhythm section but mostly piano. From there, of course it is just one step to the psychedelic "Four Chords That Made A Million", while "Shemovedon" of course bears no musical relation to the songs that have preceded it whatsoever.

When I had listened to this album all of the way through for the first time, I immediately played it again. It is just a superb piece of work, one that easily surpasses the last studio album of theirs that I heard, 'Signify'. With this release, Porcupine Tree have definitely come of age. If you love progressive music, have ever thought that it would be great if the bands of the Seventies were still cutting it in the Zeroes (well what else can you call them, the Noughties?), then look no further.

Feedback #59, July 2000

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Posted Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Review by Prog Leviathan
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars A musical odyssey of melancholy delights and uplifting power which, in my opinion, remains one of the band's finest releases. All the pieces which make Porcupine Tree unique shine here more brightly than almost anywhere else.

The songwriting is first rate, with a masterful blend of styles, dynamics, and emotions for the listener to enjoy, while the group's playing reaches new levels of virtuosity-- albeit through the subtle veneer of incredibly smooth and approachable sounds. Wilson's voice is positively seraphic, and his guitar work is phenomenal; his solo on "Shesmovedon" might just be his best ever, and I assure will absolutely lift the listener off their feet. The lengthier songs, "Hate Song" and "Russia on Ice" are refined and classy, while the ballads soar with catchy emotion. The very straightforward "Four Chords That Made a Million" takes some flak for sounding very bland-- but to those who get the sarcasm will find it quite fun.

I never grow bored of listening to this album, and I highly recommend it to any even slightly interested in Porcupine Tree's music-- it has tons of variety and songs which will make connections with the audience unlike anything else out there.

Songwriting: 5 Instrumental Performances: 5 Lyrics/Vocals: 4 Style/Emotion/Replay: 5

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Posted Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Review by russellk
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars This is a good, even very good, collection of songs. PORCUPINE TREE will never be guilty of making anything less than top-quality music. However, one simple thing prevents this release reaching the heights of their previous and their next release: they simply didn't include all their strongest songs. It's all about compositional strength, and no matter how glorious the production and packaging, if the basic songs aren't there, there's little to be done.

The problem is, of course, that a number of the more evocative, atmospheric songs written and recorded during this period didn't make it on to 'Lightbulb Sun', included instead on 2001,'s 'Recordings' - possibly the strongest 'rarities' album ever released. Many of the songs on 'Lightbulb Sun' could have been replaced by those on 'Recordings', thereby making a stronger album. Song selection must be such a difficult part of any band's work. They didn't get it right for me, though I note many others are enthused by this album.

'Lightbulb Sun' explores the same musical territory as 'Stupid Dream'. Meticulously arranged, the songs veer from the tight, introspective alt rock of the first six tracks to the broader canvas of the last four tracks. At this point in their career PORCUPINE TREE was a very tight band, with a strong rhythm section underscoring the delightful melodies, pretty hooks, harmonised vocal choruses and occasionally soaring guitars and synths. The result is an accessible album, not overly challenging and certainly not likely to be at the top of a dedicated progger's list of favourite records - though neither will it be anywhere near the bottom.

So we have a mixed bag here. There are strong songs: the title track, 'Shesmovedon', with its intricate harmonies, its build and scintillating guitar solo - go on, STEVEN, give the axe its head! - the dreadful cultish reality of the instrumental part of 'Last Chance to Evacuate Planet Earth' (with splendid bass), the crushing 'Hatesong' and the wonderfully spacey, progressive 'Russia on Ice' are all worthy PT tracks, and on their own make this a four-star album. But the rest of the tracks are unremarkable, and 'Four Chords' is as close as PORCUPINE TREE gets to genuine dross. We get their point, but they were to make it so much more successfully in 'The Sound of Muzak'.

The album lacks a unifying theme, either musically or lyrically (I can't identify one, in any case, apart from the usual maudlin sentiments and self-deprecation), and is divided in two by a pause after 'The Rest Will Flow'. I suppose this divides the poppier stuff from the proggier stuff, but I see no need for the division. Other PORCUPINE TREE albums are more integrated than this, to their betterment.

Plenty of stuff to be going on with, enough quality to reassure us that 'Stupid Dream' was no fluke, but not quite an essential album.

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Posted Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Review by The Crow
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Another excelent Porcupine Tree's album...

Lightbulb Sun was the first Porcupine Tree's album I heard... My first impression when I listened to it was the variety of the work, with some pop influences, psicodelia, folk, electronic rythms, pure rock... Really brilliant mixture of genres and feelings, with a great instrumental work. In this album, bassist Colin Edwin is over the top... The long tracks were a little weird and hard to listen to me, even when I was really accoustomed in hearing hard progressive music. But after some playings, the album grew up in me...

And after having heard a lot of Porcupine Tree releases, Lightbulb Sun is maybe not the best, but it's still great... Poppier, not so heavy like In Absentia or Deadwing, and not so psychedelic like Up the Downstairs and The Sky Moves Sideways, with many mellow tracks, this is a pleasant album, with a lot of good ideas good accomplished. Not so brilliant and innovative like some previous and later Steve Wilson's works, but it deserves a good hearing. Maybe is the most commercial PT's release I've heard...

Best Tracks: Lightbulb Sun (great opening, with a superb bass line and a great riff...), Shesmovedown (definitely the best track of the album, and one of the best short Porcupine Tree's songs... Hypnotic and beautiful), The Rest Will Flow (good pop song), Where we would be (impressive and innovative guitar solo) and Russia on Ice (maybe not one of the best Porcupine's long track, but's still nice...)

Conclusion: mellow and shining Porcupine Tree, not so dark like other albums, and definitely not so heavy like their last stage. Some tracks like Four Chords that made a Million make this album a bit irregular, but the usual quality of every Steve Wilson's release is here. Maybe is the most accesible Porcupine Tree's album, but in my opinión, there are better choices to start with, beacuse Lightbulb Sun is not really a faithful summary of their style... But if you like Porcupine Tree in their softer face anyway, this is your album.

My rating: ****

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Posted Sunday, January 13, 2008

Review by progaardvark
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Lightbulb Sun was Porcupine Tree's sixth studio album and their first release of the new millennium. Like Stupid Dream, this album is also fairly accessible and included two tracks being released as singles: Four Chords That Made a Million and Shesmovedon. Even though Lightbulb Sun continues Porcupine Tree's trend toward more radio friendly material, a number of longer, more developed songs made their way on this album. Two of these, Hatesong and Russia on Ice, are somewhat reminiscent of the band's earlier years.

What attracts my attention the most with this album is that the band's sound is tighter and more mature then on previous albums. The preceding two albums were exceptionally well done, but the difference in band cohesiveness is more noticeable on Lightbulb Sun. Another thing that caught my ears were the wonderfully driving rhythms, some slow-paced, some fast-paced.

Even though I was more happier with the space rock of the earlier Porcupine Tree (containing numerous nods to Pink Floyd), I have to admit that this and the last two studio albums have shown a sound that it is all Porcupine Tree's. So much so, that newer bands are sometimes compared with and have Porcupine Tree listed as an inspiration. That is usually a good sign for a band to have reached this stage.

I very much have enjoyed the more accessible period of Porcupine Tree, but I still prefer their earlier experimental period and regard those albums as the key acquisitions for a progressive rock fan. Their next album would begin a new phase for the band as they incorporate metal into their music and another turn down another musical road.

Three stars for a very respectable release and listen. Hardly anywhere near the adventures of The Sky Moves Sideways or Up the Downstair. This would make a perfect album to acquire if you're interested in progressive rock, but just want to get your toes wet instead of taking a plunge into the prog-pool.

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Posted Monday, January 21, 2008

Review by ProgBagel
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars Porcupine Tree - 'Lightbulb Sun' 5 stars

How could one expect the lightest, most melancholic Porcupine Tree work to be in between the fusion of pop and psychedelic work that is 'Stupid Dream' and the fusion of hard rock and psychedelic apparent on 'In Absentia'.

This is the first Porcupine Tree album where I can say every song is a masterpiece in its own special way. Everything nuance seemed to be fixed and all the gaps were filled in, a perfect album. This album also certainly gave-way to the Blackfield side-project. Fans of that band will learn where that sound largely came from.

The CD is dominated by the acoustic guitar; I found that to be the driving force on this disc. The effects are always dominated too, so obviously they are a driving force as well, but never absent anyway. Wilson also experiments with some other instruments like the banjo and there is a trace amount of string sections in the album as well.

The line-up is once again unchanged since the Signify sessions which include Steven Wilson, Colin Edwin, Richard Barbieri and Chris Maitland.

'Lightbulb Sun' does not hesitate on the newfound power and drive of the acoustic guitar on this album. It quickly gives way into the intro and continues along all throughout the verses as well. The chorus is a short but sweet onslaught of some heavy rock.

'How is Your Life Today?' is an acoustic piano driven piece. It is the most psychedelic piece of Porcupine Tree music since 'Up the Downstair'. The piano is just a trippy line repeated throughout with some obscure lyrics and unique vocal placement and harmonies.

'Four Chords That Made a Million' opens up with a distorted/flange effect on the guitar giving a trance- like intro. Later some bongo's and electric violin are thrown in towards the end of the intro, really symbolizing the variety on this album. The verse has some poppish lyrics (hence the song title) and some catchy guitar lines.

'She's Moved On' is a slow moving work for the most part. The lyrics on this one are very sensible. they remind me of quite a lot of people. The intro on the guitar is repeated throughout the verses until the chorus. After the chorus is done, there is a distorted version of the intro including Steve Wilson shouting with distorted vocals, repeating some lines already showcased in the song itself. A standout track, lyrically.

'Last Chance to Evacuate Planet Earth Before it is Recycled' opens with a banjo! The acoustic guitar then complements with a solo over the intro line. This is largely repeated until the middle of the song, where there is a vacuum of space. Some voice samples are brought in regarding the Heaven's Gate cult's leader speaking before committing mass suicide. Really cool track because of the variety of instruments (you can hear a flute in the middle as well), a thoughtful concept and the jam towards the end being really interesting.

'Rest Will Flow' is another track that hits me personally. This one is the epitome of beauty put into music form. This song is entirely acoustic for the guitar parts and a violin is added in, which is very prominent in the chorus. Another moving vocal piece done by Wilson.

'Hatesong' is one of the two 'proggiest' songs on the album. Colin Edwin's signature bass leads are prominent throughout the song. The chorus has some heavy guitar work and drums thrown into the mix. The acoustic break comes in with some distorted guitar crashing in. The last 4 minutes of the 8 minute track is just a sweet jam.

'Where We Would Be' is another acoustic ballad. One of the most beautiful Porcupine Tree tracks created. The chord structure is repeated throughout the entire track. An extremely harsh guitar solo is thrown in the middle of it, but that is all the variety in the song. An extremely moving piece.

'Russia on Ice' is probably most people's favorite on this album. I like it quite a bit myself, but am more of a fan of the acoustic ballads. This is yet another psychedelic trek. One of Wilson's most developed that could have honestly been on the first two albums since it has such a similar sound. This track is very open ended, there is a lot of direction in this one that truly makes it feel complete when it is over. A string section is also added in here.

'Feel So Low' is my favorite Porcupine Tree closing track due to the emotional value. A simple clean guitar lick is repeated for the nearly 5 minutes. The only manipulating factors were some carefully chosen effects, synth work and the occasional backing of an acoustic guitar. Perfect way to close the album.

A very angry CD, despite the light instrumentation. There is a ton of variety in this work and beautiful songs. I highly recommend this. It is my second favorite Porcupine Tree album.

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Posted Sunday, March 23, 2008

Review by LiquidEternity
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars As far as Porcupine Tree albums go, Lightbulb Sun has plenty to offer, though there seems to be a lot lacking throughout.

For the most part, Steven Wilson stripped down the sound of the album, turning out a couple of acoustic numbers and, with a couple of exceptions, much more straightforward song writing. Plenty could call much of the music here pop, though perhaps equating it more to the indie style would be more precise. The psychedelia of earlier Porcupine Tree releases, some of which still hung on in Stupid Dream, is basically nonexistent, though there are a couple of instrumental portions that focus more on mood than on musicality. However, this album is still not quite as hard-hitting or melodically impressive as its successor, In Absentia. What we have, then, is a liminal musical effort from the band that more or less exists in its own era of Porcupine Tree. Though Stupid Dream is similar, there is no other album from these fellows that sounds much like Lightbulb Sun.

The album opens with the title track, using acoustic and electric guitars to kick the album off in a straightforward, semi-rocking way. The vocal melodies are nice and the guitar riffs somewhat memorable. How Is Your Life Today? is even more simplistic, featuring a more mellow outlook and Wilson vocals over some basic piano. Near the end, the vocals split up and harmonize in the manner that will be much more thoroughly addressed on In Absentia. The album continues as Four Chords That Made a Million enters with some Indian sorts of sounds. Soon, though, the music returns to a pop/rock style and lets Steven vent a bit by singing the title quite a number of times. Shesmovedon is the first true standout on the album. While it sounds more or less as simple and mellow as those before it, it becomes a nice showcase for Maitland's drumming styles. A full and melancholic chorus keeps the song moving, and it closes with a wild Wilson guitar solo. The pace is continued fairly well with the also impressive Last Chance to Evacuate Planet Earth Before It Is Recycled. This song begins with some sitar-like strumming, and moves forward with another traditional Wilson vocal line and so forth. The second half, however, builds in dark atmosphere while the clip from the Heaven's Gate suicide plays in the foreground. It represents a significant change from the mostly one-directional music on the album before it.

The Rest Will Flow is a gentle and pretty song powered by some strings and a somewhat redundant set of lyrics. Hatesong is the first actually long song on the album, at about eight and a half minutes. It opens with some impressive bass guitar, and things gradually get added. The instrumental post-chorus is a sequence of particularly interesting and well-produced chords. The song features, next to the parts on Russia on Ice, the heaviest guitars to be found on the whole album, effectively foreshadowing the band's future developments for In Absentia and those following. Some guitar solos and heartfelt vocals give this one a solid feel. The slightly basic Where We Would Be lets the pace of the album slack quite badly, and keeps this release from being as on-the-whole impressive as it should be. The guitar solo is a nice one, though, and more or less is the only highlight of this weak track. A quiet beginnings starts of the album's epic, if you will, Russia on Ice. The first half of the song is a straightforward, melancholic song about a breakup with nice harmonies and beautiful strings. The second half, though, begins with a slippery bass line and builds to as much metal as the band had ever touched before In Absentia. It ends with sounds of bells and quiet atmosphere. The closing track is Feel So Low, and while it does a good job of providing a sense of completion, on the whole it is a fairly standard and dull mellow track.

There is lots here for a Porcupine Tree fan, but even still, the album is particularly average. Lots of weaker and less unique songs turn this album into something like Wilson's closest stab at radio-friendly music. I would recommend waiting on this album until you've heard In Absentia and Fear of a Blank Planet first.

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Posted Thursday, April 24, 2008

Review by Queen By-Tor
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars The ever elusive Lightbulb

This is an album that has received a lot of hype and attention as of late. Mostly because for the last five or six years it has been unexplainably out of print until just now coming back hot off the presses. Back is it ever as well, now housed in one of Porcupine Tree's (patent pending?) ''super jewel cases'' and with bonus material. Good timing by the label - or five year brilliant marketing ploy, the world will never know. However, history aside, this is a fine release by the band which further raises the question about why it ever disappeared in the first place. In terms of style, this is the Porcupine Tree that we all know and love - but it's them at a very transitional time. Take the heavy brooding aggression of In Absentia and mix it with the sedated 90s musings of Stupid Dream and you have yourself a record!

This one has more in kin with Stupid Dream in terms of music, but it sounds like they've improved upon the method since then. The title track which opens the album, Lightbulb Sun, is something that could have come strait off the previous record. A heavy mixing of acoustic guitar with electric madness this one tells a melancholic tale of a kid who can't leave his home thanks to an illness. Such is the tone of the music as well throughout the entire album. While the music can get pretty upbeat at points the lyrics are turning more and more cynical by the second coming from Steven Wilson. Take for example the very well riffed Four Chords That Made A Million which is a title that makes so much sense when you realize he's talking about the uncreative musical industry that's churning out songs by the bucket load. A theme he's later visit on the next album, this one is quite a fun song thanks to how catchy it is. Isn't it ironic that whenever Wilson writes a song that's very catchy and basic he makes about how the music industry and his problems with it?

A couple of the slower songs really have that evil feel to them. While we haven't quite reached the Deadwing level of heaviness or evilness yet we're getting there. And fast. Steven must have been having relationship troubles at this point at well with some obvious and unobvious break-up like songs. How Is Your Life Today? is a slow and lo-key song about a man sitting in his home watching time pass after his significant other took the taxi outta there. Hatesong seems to suggest this as well with the line ''Oh it's a lonely life in my empty bed'', while the music is just as brooding as the title would suggest. Perhaps Wilson just wanted to tell tales of people who don't want to leave the house - but let's not get into semantics. Another one of the very dark songs is the longest track on the album, the 13-minute long Russia On Ice. While this track is not quite as accomplished as some of their later long works such as Arriving Somewhere... But Not Here or Anesthetize it still is quite a trip and can really be seen as the precursor to the other two mentioned songs. It's long and it's slow and it's icy. A very cool and brooding track the instruments all work well together here and create a very chilling atmosphere that propels the song well.

A couple other songs on the album are also well worth noting. Another breakup song, the seeming inner-monolog of Shesmovedon makes for a great rock tune while The Rest Will Flow is a beautiful tune that has a wonderful melody led by Wilson's voice. A very calming yet haunting song at the same time it is a truly engaging song indeed that fits very well where it is on the album working as a segue between Last Chance... and Hatesong.

While the material on the album may not always be what is on everyone's mind (breakups) all the time the music really excuses any time the lyrics may not apply to the listener. This is an excellent album that joins Stupid Dream to In Absentia wonderfully - a perfectly ''in between'' album that, if you were fans of either of those albums, you should get without hesitation. The bonus material on the album is also quite alluring as it includes a bonus DVD that has the entire album on 5.1 surround mix as well as 5.1 surround mixes of the tracks Disappear, Buying New Soul and Cure For Optimism. Just be warned - they won't work unless you actually have a 5.1 system. However - since the album can be picked up for quite cheap at the moment I definitely recommend this album if you can get your hands on it seeing as how a month ago the only way you could hear it would be to buy it off eBay for a ridiculous sum. Price, hype and bonus tracks aside this is a wonderful album which should not be missed by any Porcupine Tree fan or anyone who is interested in their music. 4 chords out of 5! An excellent addition to any collection.

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Posted Saturday, June 07, 2008

Review by Chicapah
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars Let me come clean about something right up front. I'm a fanman of Porcupine Tree. A porker. A tree hugger. I'm a sailor on the PT boat. Whatever you want to call it, that's fine with me. Steven Wilson and his cohorts make the kind of prog that fits my needs and sensibilities like a favorite pair of sneakers and there's a lot to be said for that in today's world. They're also one of the few modern bands that delve into mature subject matter that I can pore over and derive meaning from. So when I finally got the newly remastered/remixed CD of "Lightbulb Sun" I fully expected it to delight me and I gotta say the boys didn't let me down at all. It's magnificent.

Being able to view it in light of the three albums that came after allows for my opinion that it marks the end of a phase that sprouted with the uneven "Signify," bloomed with the spectacular "Stupid Dream" and reached ripe fruition with this fine collection of songs. After this Steven would shift his lyrical point of view from first to third person, keyboard man Richard Barbieri would get to play a larger role and drummer Chris Maitland would be replaced in order to pave the way for the group to go in a new direction. All of these changes proved to be dramatic but they don't subtract from the greatness they collectively achieved here. This is excellent progressive music from start to finish.

"Lightbulb Sun" has a deceivingly delicate beginning with acoustic guitar and piano streaming under Wilson's vocal until a striking slide guitar and Chris' forceful drums turn it into a strong rocker featuring their signature stacked harmonies. While Steven sings about a sickly, quarantined child spending his lonely life in a bubble I get the feeling that it's all a metaphor for his personal yearning to break free from his self-imposed insecurities and try to make a bold splash in the world. "The curtains stay closed now/on my little retreat/but after a while/the noise on the street/is making me wish/I was back on my feet," he sings. "How is your life Today?" embodies the spirit of the previous album in this stripped- down, piano-based tune presented sans drums. The symbolic words convey that he's packed up his belongings and is ready to vacate the premises, leaving his comfy but too familiar surroundings behind. "The neighbors have guessed/'cos I've cancelled the milk/and they don't hear your voice/through the walls anymore," he sings. He's ready for a challenge.

A strange, raga-like Indian aura pervades the outset of "Four Chords that made a Million" until Maitland's drums roar in and take the wheel. It's an obvious slap in the face of the record biz "morons with checkbooks" that undoubtedly dispensed reams of worthless advice into their ears ad infinitum. Thank God they weren't listening. It's a straightforward, no-frills rocker that doesn't let up in the sarcasm department, making a defiant statement that I admire. "Shesmovedon" is brilliant. (Having said that, I must confess that the version included as a bonus track on "Deadwing" with the amazing Gavin Harrison on the drumkit blows this one clean away.) A well-crafted number containing densely layered harmonies and an emotional guitar solo, it thoroughly describes the pain of realizing that the one you love has hopped a train out of your life. If you've never experienced that feeling be grateful because it's like a hollow, empty hole in the middle of your being that lingers for years. "I'm left behind like all the others/some fall for you/it doesn't make much difference if they do," he laments.

Ever unpredictable, they segue seamlessly into a lighter mood fronted by strumming banjos and acoustic guitars for the odd "Last Chance to Evacuate Planet Earth Before it is Recycled." Colin Edward's fretless bass playing is excellent as, bit by bit, the group slowly transforms the song into a playful psychedelic jam session. Lyrically Wilson initially describes a somewhat carefree summer of romantic love before a frank spoken word segment ensues, the speaker sounding like an extraterrestrial lecturer orating from a college classroom podium. It's a weird juxtaposition but it works. "The Rest Will Flow" follows and it's a gorgeous mix of an orchestral string section, acoustic guitars and organ beneath an understated vocal. Here Steven relates that he's going to let his creativity be led by his muse and trust her guidance with "eyes closed/all the rest will flow." (This kind of sensitive songwriting would rarely grace future albums as Wilson would soon join forces with Aviv Geffen to create "Blackfield," providing a needed outlet for his more personal tunes.)

Stalking bass lines characterize the opening of "Hatesong," creating a tension heightened by hot, distorted guitars that cut like a sharp scythe. Here Steven indulges in the malicious resentment that he often feels towards his former lover, spewing lines like "this is a hate song just meant for you/I thought I'd write it down while I still could/I hope when you hear this you'll want to sue." The group later introduces a hard rock riff into the proceedings and then a sound like Lucifer cranking up his demonic Harley in the bowels of Hell for a beer run to Dylan's desolation row ensues that is terrifying. Afterward they lead you through an interesting spacey segment to the tune's conclusion. Good stuff. Fat, lush acoustic guitars provide the backdrop for the next track, the bittersweet "Where We Would Be" in which Wilson reminisces a time when everything was perfect and he and his lady love would talk of the future they would share together. "Strange how you never become/the person you see when you're young," he sadly reminds us. The guitar lead he performs is exquisite. It conjures a mental image of a fiery sparkler creating streaked patterns on a black velvet canvas, as brittle and edgy as his shattered heart.

As impressive as the album is to this point, the final two cuts send it soaring into the stratosphere. "Russia On Ice" is an epic song that takes a backseat to no other in their rich repertoire. After a mysterious beginning on electric piano a wonderful, moody atmosphere augmented by a symphony surrounds your consciousness as Steven calls up from the well of self-pity. "You think I deserve this/you said I was stupid," he cries, "Can't stop myself drinking/can't stop being me/If I call will you come/and will you save me?" The man's soul has been annihilated and some of us know what that feels like. But one thing you can count on from Porcupine Tree is that they'll take you on an intriguing musical journey and when a monster, industrial/metal guitar line is added to the equation the track approaches the sublime as Mr. Maitland shows us all what a talented stick man he really is. He's ferocious in his attack. The whole thing dissolves into what brings to mind church bells tolling in the night under an ocean of stars. The final song, the tragic "Feel So Low," is awesome in its simplicity. Over a combination of acoustic guitars and a string quartet Wilson lays out his broken heart one last time. There is no pain equal to the wounds caused by unrequited love and these lyrics may be the best description of that physical and mental ache I've ever heard. "I hated every minute/I was waiting for your email/and each day that you forgot to call/just made me feel so low/so low." I've been there. I know of what he sings and the memory of that agony stays with you throughout your life. You never forget it. As the beautiful strains of the score settle to the ground he utters a humble, condescending "thanks" to the woman who abandoned him. There's a world of hurt contained in that one single word. It's genius.

In all fairness you should digest my review with a grain of salt. Every CD since "Stupid Dream" has been 5 star caliber in my estimation and I haven't repeatedly awarded that kind of accolade to any other artist/band I've encountered in my many years of listening. These guys just write, arrange and record music that strikes at the very core of my being with amazing accuracy yet I realize that not everyone shares my enthusiasm for their art. So be it. I only hope you find someone who thrills your soul the way these artists thrill mine.

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Posted Saturday, June 14, 2008

Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Ligthbulb Sun is the 6th full-length studio album by UK progressive rock act Porcupine Tree. Porcupine Tree drifted one step closer to alternative rock with their last album Stupid Dream (1999) and continue down the same path with Ligthbulb Sun.

The music on Ligthbulb Sun is overall alternative pop/ rock with some progressive elements. The song structures are very much in the vers/ chorus formula with few instrumental excursions. The two longer tracks Hatesong and Russia on Ice are the exceptions with their extented instrumental sections. Last Chance To Evacuate Planet Earth Before It Is Recycled is also a bit different from the rest of the tracks with its extensive use of samples. The atmosphere on the album is as usual melancholic. I need to make a special mention about Steven Wilsonīs vocals on the album as they are simply beautiful. Excellent vocal melodies and beautiful harmony vocals. The production, which is professional and warm, needs a special mention too. This album is simpy a joy to listen to.

Ligthbulb Sun is an excellent album by Porcupine Tree and as you can see in my original review below thatīs taken me quite some time to discover. I guess I was fooled by the simple nature of most of the songs on the album, but Ligthbulb Sun is a school example that progressive rock donīt need to be complex to be called progressive rock. This one was a grower for me. 4 stars are fully deserved.

Disclaimer:

The below review was my original review of Ligthbulb Sun, but this is simply one of those cases where repeated listens of an album over a couple of years have won me over. Iīve kept my original review instead of deleting it because it serves as a reminder for me that some albums may not appear to be essential until youīve listened to them for years.

The original review:

Lightbulb Sun is the sixth studio album from UK progressive rock band Porcupine Tree. Their 1999 album Stupid Dream was a very pleasant and warm album that I enjoyed. It never really excited me beyond being good and pleasant and I was a bit hesitant before purchasing Lightbulb Sun as I had heard that it was a sibling album to Stupid Dream. Donīt get me wrong here. I do like Stupid Dream, but itīs just a bit too average and without edge IMO.

The music on Lightbulb Sun is very pleasant and warm and does remind me a lot about how Stupid Dream sounds. Most of the songs on the album are pretty simple atmospheric rock songs with a progressive touch. The only three songs that stand out are Last Chance To Evacuate Planet Earth Before It Is Recycled which is different because of the atmospheric samples which are used, Hatesong which is longer than the normal 3-5 minute tracks that this album mainly consists of and therefore has time to develop which is great IMO, and the 13:04 minute long Russia on Ice which has great atmospheric instrumental sections. All songs have nice and memorable song melodies.

The musicianship is excellent and everything works perfectly on the album.

The production is polished and pleasant. Nothing to get offended about.

My conclusion is that Lightbulb Sun is a very similar album to Stupid Dream and I will rate it with 3 stars just as I rated Stupid Dream with 3 stars. There are excellent moments on this album. Particularly the three aforementioned songs, but my general feeling after listening to the album is that itīs a good solid piece of work but not an excellent one. If you like your progressive rock simple, atmospheric and pleasant you should check out Stupid Dream or Lightbulb Sun. Just donīt expect to be challenged or hear something you havenīt heard before.

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Posted Saturday, October 04, 2008

Review by progrules
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars This album is in the same league to me as the latest, Fear of a Blank Planet, although I believe that one is slightly better. Another minor difference is that this album shows the last remains of psych/space by PT shown in the 5th, 7th and 9th track. But already on this album Porcupine Tree is presenting itself as a heavy prog band on Shesmovedon and Russia on Ice. With these two songs as well as with Hatesong we are talking about the highlights of this album.

But three songs of very high quality is not really enough for a 4 starrating I'm afraid. And this hurts a bit because Russian on Ice is a very special epical effort and I would have liked to reward that in the rating but the remaining 7 songs are a vast majority quantitywise and most of these seven are at best fine songs but nothing outstanding with these. So I can only give this 3 stars (3,3).

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Posted Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Review by Epignosis
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Eclectic Prog Team
3 stars I have mixed feelings about this album. Had it been the first Porcupine Tree album I ever purchased, I might not have acquired anything by them for quite a while. On the other hand, there a few outstanding compositions that make this one a bit difficult to rate. This album (along with some work before it) marks Porcupine Tree's transition from spacey rock to heavy progressive rock.

"Lightbulb Sun" A melancholic song about a bedridden child, I love the acoustic guitar and subtle piano. The bass and drums are especially good here, and I relish the electric guitar interlude.

"How is Your Life Today?" The piano accompaniment sounds like dark cabaret. The part that stands out about this otherwise uncomplicated song is the complicated vocal layering.

"Four Chords that Made a Million" Stringent guitars, exotic percussion and instrumentation, synthesizer, and one of Porcupine Tree's lamest vocal melodies ever, make up one of the strangest (and worst) songs they've done since the turn of the century.

"Shesmovedon" This one has a solid riff and a great melody during the chorus, retaining a pop structure. The vocal harmonies are well done, but the production is grungy. I recommend getting the redone version that exists as a bonus track on one edition of Deadwing.

"Last Chance to Evacuate Planet Earth Before it is Recycled" The music has a slight bluegrass tinge to it at first, although the verses themselves sound more like coffeehouse acoustic rock. The song plays audio footage from a speech of Marshall Applewhite (the leader of the Heaven's Gate cult), which he'd left just before he and thirty-eight members committed mass suicide.

"Rest Will Flow" More acoustic rock, this one features a pleasant string section and some pretty vocal work. While closer to something Collective Soul might have done years earlier, it's a highly enjoyable song.

"Hatesong," Over a deep bass riff, various instruments build for over a minute until Wilson's vocals come in. The lyrics aren't particularly good ("I hope when you hear this, you'll want to sue"), but overall it's not a bad song. The polyrhythm of the heavy riff and the rest of the instruments (including the drums) takes a while to get used to. Colin Edwin's bass harmonics are a nice touch.

"Where We Would Be" The sound of birds from the end of the previous track bleed into this one, and soon there is an acoustic guitar and vocal in the vein of mainstream 1990s acoustic rock. But this song strikes a chord with me personally- my wife painted while I wrote my songs, and I've often reflected on how my image of myself as a youth is not what I am, for better and for worse.

"Russia on Ice" The second to last song is closer to space rock than anything here. It hinges very closely to Pink Floyd, especially with that guitar riff Wilson frequents. The lyrics are mildly depressing. The chorus over the strings is very pleasing, probably the best part of the song. There is some much heavier music later, however, interspersed with spacey segments that highlight the drumming.

"Feel So Low" The final song is a soft but sad one, about unrequited love. The strings make a reappearance. Again, it reminds me of Collective Soul.

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Posted Monday, December 15, 2008

Review by poslednijat_colobar
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Lightbulb Sun continues the standards established with Stupid Dream. I think this album is almost mainstream rock, something strange from the point of view of (for example) Up the Downstair. It's quite sleepy album, focused on the dark tensions and probably any folk moments. It's strange, because Lightbulb Sun give birth to mixed feeling - simultaneously mainstream and depressing, which doesn't captivate me well enough. If I have to determinate a couple of songs, which stand out of the album, I can't. All of them have the same continual sound. without any surprises. For me typical average album and surely at the back of my Porcupine Tree's list!

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Posted Friday, February 27, 2009

Review by Conor Fynes
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars 'Lightbulb Sun' - Porcupine Tree (8/10)

This is an album I really tried hard to love. Porcupine Tree stand as being one of my favourite bands of all time, and records such as 'Fear Of A Blank Planet' and 'Deadwing' stand as being some of my favourite albums of all time. 'Lightbulb Sun' on the other hand, came to me highly recommended. However, while I do find it enjoyable, it took me a fair while to truly appreciate it.

While Porcupine Tree has certainly never been the most progressive band out there by any standard, many of these songs definately lack the prog element. That is not to say however, that I do not like them. 'The Rest Will Flow' for example, is a wholly unprogressive singer- songwriter piece from Wilson that I greatly love. The title track is also a great song thats perfectly representative of the band's sound and style.

However, theres alot of material on 'Lightbulb Sun' that has either not hit me quite yet, or never will. 'Russia On Ice' while definately aspiring to be the 'epic' of the album, comes across as being immensely overdrawn to the point of being drowsy and tedious. For 12 minutes, it's more or less the same riff, with variations along the way.

'Hatesong' is another one I found a bit uninspired. While it's the most progressive song on the album in terms of style and structure, theres very little of that beauty that Wilson is so good at bringing out in his music.

While 'Lightbulb Sun' is definately dissapointing, this isn't to say however that I do not enjoy it. I do (being it's Porcupine Tree) and I would figure that if this was my first Porcupine Tree experience, I would fall in love with it... However, knowing that there are much better offerings of the band out there, I will have to give 'Lightbulb Sun' a good, but imperfect rating... Although I was certainly close to rating it four stars on several occasions listening to it.

UPDATE: After a few months since purchasing 'Lightbulb Sun' and after having given it many more listens, I have to say the album has grown on me quite a bit. Still doesn't compare to 'Deadwing' or 'Fear of a Blank Planet' but I'm really liking it! FOUR STARS.

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Posted Thursday, June 04, 2009

Review by Finnforest
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Ohh this is beautiful...

Paralyzes temporarily that part of the grey matter which frets over outside issues and causes the body stress. Frees it up. Takes you in. Not all albums do, not even all good ones. I've always wondered what made Porcupine Tree, this swirl of Beatles, Pink Floyd, Brit-pop, Rush, and Radiohead so able to attract prog fans like moths. The run of great albums from this era through today is admirable under any circumstances, but Wilson has a knack for selling his own visions to a wider swath than most. And none are any lovelier, more poetic, strange, or magical that Lightbulb Sun. Those who love heavy crunch will get more bang from the likes of FoaBP, but for those looking to lose an afternoon in a cloudy head....is there any better ear candy than this? The harmonies and melodies laced throughout are beyond good, the little aural jackpots come from all directions: biting electric guitar, dreamy acoustic guitars, tight rhythms, soft keys, and devilishly good ideas. The only songwriting pitfall here was trying to do too much in one album, so many colors are introduced, but Wilson absolutely manages to craft a fine album--one of the 90s very best proggy alt-rock mutations. Such melancholic themes of isolation and loss pervade just as the presentation of them leaves one spellbound in a good way.

A few adjectives from the reviews of others... "the PT stuff I love, it has dimension, lush, retro, worldly, best midnight music, transmitting a horde of feelings, cathartic, celestial, has cast a spell over me." I would say it's the musical equivalent of one's first kiss.

The tracks so fresh and alive will be developed further on the next several albums but here they are all in their childhood, and just like with kids, there is a wonder and naivety that hasn't been lost from maturing. Nothing against later work but Lightbulb has a very special spark that albums like Rubber Soul had, as heard in the uninhibited glorious vocals of "Shesmovedon." There is pure McCartney in the piano of "How is your life today." There is the overcast of a good Floyd album, the occasional power of a Rush movement, the coy pop-smirk of certain Brit-pop, the Radiohead guitar solo of "Where we would be." (Side note: while sharing Radiohead's production sheen and control of sound, Lightbulb Sun is just so much more FUN than Radiohead.) There are feelings of XTC's "Skylarking" and moments of Graham Nash. There's a slow-motion urgency in some spots, a full-body smooth buzz in others. "Russia on Ice" is an absolute masterpiece, a 13-minute painting that covers an icy post-rock Mono soundscape, then climbs from a hole in the ground, lumbers, changes shape again, takes flight, lingers, and finally becomes a lightshow seen for miles around. The end stretch is some groove that sounds like putting a Sabbath and Chili Pepper riff into a blender--I'm thinking a young Tony Iomni crushin' it with Flea in some alternate universe. If finally drifts off like a leaf on water. After nine such perfect little vignettes one is left to decompress quietly with "Feel So Low." You look around you, wondering if anyone saw you getting slightly lost in the music. You've just flashed way back to a day you could afford to live with a little more abandon. To smile like you mean it.

Yeah, perfect score here because this one brings a unique charm that the others don't, good as they are. And while there might be more impressive individual tracks on other PT albums, this strikes me as their most memorable and consistent set.

5 first kisses, as a certain Tszirmay might say.

" The curtains stay closed now on my little retreat"

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Posted Saturday, November 28, 2009

Review by Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog Metal Team
4 stars If someone had asked me in the year 2000 whether I liked progressive rock, I would have had a hard time answering that without requiring what that person exactly meant with 'progressive rock'. Around that time the combination of those two words had left a sour taste in my mouth due to the deplorable state the classic bands had been in for decades. Also, a huge amount of faceless neo-prog and prog-metal bands had somehow managed to change the meaning of the word 'progressive' into 'creative standstill'.

But then in 2001 I stumbled upon the 3 most amazing songs that I had heard in years: Katatonia's Dispossession, Opeth's Blackwater Park and Porcupine Tree's Hatesong. I was nailed to the ground. I sure hadn't seen that one coming.

Lightbulb Sun was music from a band that also shied away from the label 'progressive' but that was spot on about the essence of progressive rock to me: original, creative, demanding and touching rock music that tried something else each time you looked and that kept developing from album to album. Music that wasn't about stale technical wizardry but about fusing a vast scope of influences into something entirely new, unique and of high musical standards. A mix of style and substance, of high-quality music and pop's emotional sensibilities. So there you have it, the essence of the phenomena called prog for me.

Given that Hatesong and Lightbulb Sun were my introduction to Porcupine Tree, they hold a very special place in my heart. And even though not all tracks are equally deserving, the mix of extended prog rock pieces with tasty ballads blends together very nicely into a diverse and well-balanced album. Lightbulb Sun also has the most personal and emotional bite of any Porcupine Tree album and it is amazingly diverse. With Russia On Ice and Last Chance the album has two obvious contenders for any space-rock best-off compilation. Shesmovedon and Four Chords are great pop tunes and with Where We Would Be and especially Feel So Low the album has moving sad songs like only Wilson can pen them. Only The Rest Will Flow is a bit too sweet for me but still it has its place on the album.

It's hard to give an objective assessment of this album. I'm sure you know the feeling, no one can neutralize the overwhelming impression left by the first album you heard from your favourite bands. It's a solid 4 stars that I have a very personal affection for.

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Posted Thursday, December 17, 2009

Review by Marty McFly
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Errors and Omissions Team
5 stars Heh, Chipacah said it very nicely. I'll add my part in this PA play: I'm Lightbulb Sun fan. Big fan. In fact it was my first PT album I heard (by recommendation of, let's say friend), because I was long afraid after I heard their first album. Yes, with this second track (...Island). But this, this get me into their music instantly. Every song that is here has its history (except first one, which I used to skip, but don't understand why I did it at all now). So let's assume that I was first listening this in December 2008, there's even story related to this album (like with most of my favourite albums), with ill-fated relationship and romance with certain girl, who loved this album as well. There are many reasons why I rate this so well. Memories, fortunately good ones, pleasant music, melodic music, thoughtful lyrics, rememberable songs (I remembered them all very quickly), great replay value (twice a day ? sometimes yes, songs for tired soul and body ? also yes) and also prog foreshading of their future (and previous) albums. Something like "Taste the band" in family package. You won't get harm, but you'll be treated well and rewarded also very nicely.

5(+), and of course, the instrument on Last Chance is banjo.

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Posted Friday, December 18, 2009

Review by Rune2000
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog Metal Team
3 stars Following the new direction of Stupid Dream the band conceived another work of art. It might still not be the Porcupine Tree that I enjoy so much, but what this album offers is definitely a step in the right direction with a great deal of sparkling moments!

I like how the band was slowly going for much shorter song structures. Where the previous release featured mostly 4-7 minute tracks this one shifted into the 3-6 minute territory. Trust me when I say that this type of transform is difficult to achieve over a short course of one studio release. After all, it took the Beatles eight albums to expand their sound beyond their 3 minute song format!

Although compositions like the album's title track or Four Chords That Made A Million might not have recruited Porcupine Tree any new fans, and probably alienated some of their long term followers, the material really shows a linear progression here. I'm surprised that the excellent wonder titled Shesmovedon went completely unnoticed in the mainstream media since I definitely consider it strong performance coming from a band like Porcupine Tree.

What I don't enjoy as much are the two longer pieces called Hatesong and Russia On Ice. I know that the former has become a huge concert favorite over the years but I can probably name a dozen much better compositions off Coma Divine that are far more superior in both the structure and delivery. This is also what drags this otherwise excellent performance down a notch for me.

Lightbulb Sun is another step further for Porcupine Tree and although it alone doesn't really explain how the band made their transition on In Absentia it definitely adds an important piece to the puzzle. Just like Stupid Dream, I wouldn't recommend this album to anyone unfamiliar with Porcupine Tree and their more well know albums. Hence, another good but non-essential release from the Wilson/Barbieri factory!

***** star songs: Shesmovedon (5:14) Feel So Low (5:18)

**** star songs: Lightbulb Sun (5:30) How Is Your Life Today ? (2:46) Four Chords That Made A Million (3:36) Last Chance To Evacuate Planet Earth Before It Is Recycled (4:48) The Rest Will Flow (3:15)

*** star songs: Hatesong (8:26) Where We Would Be (4:12) Russia On Ice (13:04)

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Posted Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Review by The Truth
COLLABORATOR Post/Math Rock Team
5 stars The perfect Porcupine Tree.

This is their best album to me and it probably will never be surpassed by any further releases because of one thing: The circumstances under which this album was made were perfect! It is the perfect mix of their spacey side, their experimental Signify-esque side, they're poppy Stupid Dream side, and their soon to be metal side. The formula creates one tasty treat.

The Stupid Dream side and the metal side are mixed in the title track and it is my favorite track on the album for many reasons. The lyrical theme reminds me of Roger Water's Amused to Death and the fact that the song is insanely catchy! How Is Your Life Today? is a pretty little piano song on which Wilson shows off his high-pitched voice (the switch from title track to this makes them so genre-defiable) and Four Chords That Made a Million is a nice little catchy metal track. Shesmovedon is a pop oriented love song (another catchy one at that) which fades into Last Chance to Evacuate Planet Earth Before It Is Recycled which displays some of their Signify sounding music. The Rest Will Flow continues the pop-rock stuff wonderfully and Hatesong mixes metal with their spacey sounding stuff. Where We Would Be sounds much like The Rest Will Flow (not a bad thing by any means) and Russia On Ice is the big epic that mixes almost every genre they've been a part of or are going to be a part of. Feel So Low is somewhat of a dismal way to end the album but it leaves you satisfied.

I'm not good at describing songs, that's not what I try to do, but this album is a truly progressive album by a band that was far from being progressive in their previous effort. They created something great here though and it deserves attention from any progressive rock fan.

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Posted Friday, June 18, 2010

Review by Andy Webb
FORUM & SITE ADMIN GROUP Admin / Heavy Prog Team
4 stars Rest will most certainly flow

Lightbulb Sun is the legendary album by one of the more famous modern progressive rock bands today, Porcupine Tree. A relatively large leap from their more psychedelic era only a few years prior, the album really starts the more metallic and "rocking" era of Porcupine Tree, which is truly initiated with the almost metallic album In Absentia two years later. This album, despite its very relaxed and easy going atmosphere, is one of the band's more steadily rocking albums, continuing in the vein of Stupid Dream a year prior. The album has an almost Brit folk and country feel to it, with a heavy use of slide guitar and acoustic guitar. The overall atmosphere is very relaxed; with many songs have a very simple beat and a nice acoustic riff and chord progression to go along with that. Overall, the whole album is a rather pleasant experience and it proves to be one of the band's more relaxing albums.

Of course, many call this one of their most accessible and almost "poppy" album, which is understandable, for most of the melodies and guitar riffs are peppy little pop-inspired and extremely catchy lines of song. From the pleasantries of the childish daydream title track (in a good way) to the haunting yet oddly attractive Last Chance to Escape Planet Earth Before it is Recycled, the whole album has a very accessible feel, with that subtle Porcupine Tree charm that truly makes it the gem that PT albums tend to be.

What truly amazes me is the extreme amount of diversity found on the album. There is, as any listener would note, the overhanging theme of mellow acoustic guitar riffs, but the album fluctuates rapidly, from peppy poppier songs to Southern-esque rockier moments with heavy use of a slide (much to my despair ? I hate the slide), to mellow jazzier moments, to so much more. The whole alum truly emanates a supreme sense of compositional grace, with supreme harmonies between the instruments, especially the bass and guitar on many of the songs. Whether it is the surprising ease of Rest Will Flow, or the dour mood of Hatesong, or even the more psychedelic and epic (and also quite dour) throwback with Russia on Ice, the entire album is a nice breath of fresh air for prog fans.

For a rating, I was stuck whilst listening for a while. The album, in a progressive sense, isn't very progressive, with some songs having that twinge, but the majority of the album being an artsy rock piece. However, as I listened and listened and listened again, the true depth of the music began to sink in. The incredible vastness of this music is truly incredible. Although it may be a more pop based album, this collection of genius composition is truly awe inspiring. I can't help but smile when Wilson's nostalgic-sounding melodies in tracks such as Where We Would Be and Feel So Low begin to play, with their almost cheesy quality and overall very peppy and very happy overtone. Overall, this album is really great. Although it may not be an incredible masterpiece, it truly is a great recommendation of mine, if you don't mind a slow grower. 4 stars.

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Posted Friday, May 27, 2011

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Symphonic Team
4 stars 10 songs that made a million...

Porcupine Tree's "Lightbulb Sun" ages well like fine wine, and listening back to this after a long hiatus from Porcupine Tree and indulging in so many other artists and styles was sheer bliss. The relaxing feel of the band, the powerful melodies and Steven Wilson's brilliant crystalline vocals were outstanding. The songs that jumped out and brought instant satisfaction include 'Lightbulb Sun' with such a wonderful melody and serene atmosphere. The heavy guitar riff is never overbearing but such a mark of excellence. The quality of the sound is a high point of the album.

'4 Chords that Made a Million' has such an infectious tune that is was hard to get out of my head. 'Shesmovedon' is absolutely moving and of course had featured on other Porcupine Tree albums following this such as 'Deadwing' and many live albums. The lead break is incredible and rises to a crescendo.

It segues into an acoustic jangly passage and Wilson's vocals are mixed to the front, more intimate and not so distant and spacious as usual on the memorable title 'Last Chance To Evacuate Planet Earth Before It Is Recycled'. Barbieri's keyboards are a beautiful chiming augmentation and the starman alien narrative is a nice touch adding to the atmosphere.

The album is the 6th studio album and, after some intricate lengthy spacey projects with huge epic pieces focussing on instrumentation over lyrics, this was a much more mature offering. The songs are short and memorable and I believe it was the beginning of worldwide success for the band. The floodgates well and truly broke open after this 2000 album with the likes of 3 masterpieces in a row, "In Absentia" 2002, "Deadwing" 2005 and "Fear of a Blank Planet" 2007.

The band were exploring new territory from "Signify" onward discarding the massive epic length tracks which had to happen in order to break into a more profitable market. The shift in style worked for the band and of course they have become one of the most well know bands in the prog circuit. The DVD "Arriving Somewhere" features a lot of past songs from the band's history and from "Lightbulb Sun" the intricate 'Hatesong' is chosen, a song showcasing the heavier side of the band especially the repeated awesome 7 note riff that drives the song with the odd time signature. The musicianship is always exceptional. The band have extraordinary talent and this album is the first truly consistent work in terms of musicianship and song structures.

The dreamier side of Porcupine Tree with strong acoustic flourishes is a major focus such as the lightweight 'Where We Would Be', the catchy 'How Is Your Life Today?' and the ethereal 'The Rest Will Flow'. The longer than 10 minutes track on the album, that became obligatory on Porcupine Tree works in more recent years, is the 13 minute 'Russia On Ice'. Unlike 'Arriving Somewhere But Not Here', or 'Anesthetize', that are both works of brilliance and indispensable in Porcupine Tree's catalogue, 'Russia On Ice' is not as well known. In any case it still is a song with some epic playing and very powerful sections. It begins with spacey keyboards and a heavier guitar, slow and brooding, creeps along the temperate drums. Wilson's vocals sound like the post "In Absentia" tones, reflective and distant; "Can't stop myself drinking, can't stop being me, if I call will you come and will you save me?" The slow cadence is very relaxing but melancholic especially the guitars. The bassline becomes the main instrument in the mid section, and then a crunching metal distorted guitar enters. The rhythm locks in and the song changes into a metal style which is jarring, given all the ambience previously. The sound that follows is industrial like Gary Numan, with mechanised percussion and effects, and even the guitars are machinery like, especially at 10 minutes into it. A bell begins to toll after this lengthy instrumental section and the ambience returns.

The album closes with 'Feel So Low' which is lulling and dreamy. Wilson sings quietly "I can laugh about it now, but I hated every minute I was waiting for your email, and each day that you forgot to call, just made me feel so low, so low". Once again Wilson injects modern technology into his lyrics such as emails and later on "FOABP" the X-box. It is a soothing way to close the album, though Wilson is singing about a broken relationship.

At the end of this album one comes away feeling refreshed and satisfied as the music is uplifting and pleasant ear candy throughout. The best was yet to come but this is a solid album worthy of many repeated listens.

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Posted Saturday, January 07, 2012

Review by Warthur
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars With the opening title track regaling us with an anecdote about falling ill with the flu as a child, it's no surprise that Porcupine Tree's Lightbulb Sun has a rather doped-out, feverish tone to it. With gorgeous vocal harmonies on psychedelic progressive pop gems like Shesmovedon and extended ambient space rock workouts like Russia On Ice, the album refines and develops the approach of Stupid Dream, whilst at the same time some of Steven Wilson's guitar work begins to lean in a harsh, buzzing heavy metal direction prefiguring the band's radical transformation on In Absentia. If you liked Stupid Dream, this is the second half of that sandwich.

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Posted Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Latest members reviews

3 stars 3.5. Not their brightest moment. Lightbulb Sun (LS) is very much a transitional album. Their psychedelic past is close to gone and for the first time metal is being added to their sound. Don't get me wrong there is no where near as much metal compared to their later albums, but it is definitely ... (read more)

Report this review (#1047442) | Posted by LakeGlade12 | Sunday, September 29, 2013 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Lightbulb Sun is the last album of what many call the pop-prog era of the band. Song-wise there really isn't anything that jumps out significantly, which is probably due to this being a pretty consistent album from beginning to end. You have your standard pop-rock tracks in '4 Chord That Made A Mill ... (read more)

Report this review (#883236) | Posted by Mr. Mustard | Friday, December 28, 2012 | Review Permanlink

5 stars 9.5/10 Woah! Certainly the most beautiful and depressing album that Porcupine Tree has created, and his best along with the acclaimed In Absentia and Fear of a Blank Planet. Like many others here, I'm a fan of Lightbulb Sun. A BIG fan. this album is very, very, very catchy and contains ... (read more)

Report this review (#593729) | Posted by voliveira | Wednesday, December 21, 2011 | Review Permanlink

2 stars The first album by Porcupine Tree I bought in 2001 or 2002 due to some glowing reviews I read at that time. Back than I thought it was kind ok, but couldn't understand all the hype around the album. Now many years later, lets give it another try. The music on this album is atmospheric, slow and m ... (read more)

Report this review (#452907) | Posted by King Manuel | Saturday, May 28, 2011 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Being a massive Porcupine Tree fan, there are two PT albums that I recommend to the uninformed. One is Fear of a Blank Planet. The other is this one. Not only is this is the last album Porcupine Tree would record before Chris Maitland was replaced by Gavin Harrison, but it also represents a cu ... (read more)

Report this review (#401205) | Posted by Fyrus | Tuesday, February 15, 2011 | Review Permanlink

4 stars An overall good album with diversity. With some resemblence with Porcupine Tree's previous album, Stupid Dream, this album brings multiple styles of songs that both hit and miss. 1. Lightbulb Sun. This song gives us an insight to their next masterful album In Absentia. Starts off slow and ... (read more)

Report this review (#394296) | Posted by Viscera | Friday, February 04, 2011 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Herein contains STEVEN WILSON & CO's most consistently interesting, melodic, diverse and engaging song collections (albums). These songs are not as heavy as later PT will produce and not quite as Floydian as previous. IMHO, this is the perfect STEVEN WILSON/PT album. Yes, it's poppy, it's light. It ... (read more)

Report this review (#377618) | Posted by BrufordFreak | Monday, January 10, 2011 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Porcupine Tree is one of my favorite bands because they're capable of reinventing their sound and incorporating many styles while maintaining interest. I rate songwriting much more highly than technical ability as well, and this fact also has much to do with my love for the band's music. Lightbul ... (read more)

Report this review (#353408) | Posted by Mystery | Wednesday, December 15, 2010 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Definetly a transition album. PT or, better, STEVEN, was certainly making an excursion in pop, and I have to say that they did a good work, this cd is not bad at all. But I remember how frightened I was when I listened LIGHTBULB SUN for the first time. I thought: oh no he's falling in pop... But L ... (read more)

Report this review (#303904) | Posted by progknight94 | Thursday, October 14, 2010 | Review Permanlink

3 stars The sun is a lightbulb To me, this is one of the band's more boring releases. I like 6 of the tracks, but the other 4 aren't that great. Still, it's a decent album, but nowhere near the band's best. A description of the music: The title track is a poppy acoustic song with an incredibly ... (read more)

Report this review (#291796) | Posted by DisgruntledPorcupine | Saturday, July 24, 2010 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Carrying on from the monumental weight and sound of Stupid Dream, this album had a similar but more out there approach, with more experimental compositions and more of a steer away direction from alternative rock. Again, this album is amazing with every song leaving an impact on you, as they sh ... (read more)

Report this review (#275968) | Posted by arcane-beautiful | Friday, April 02, 2010 | Review Permanlink

4 stars 4.3/5 Porcupine Tree is a unique force in the world of progressive music. To be more precise, Steven Wilson is a unique force in the world of progressive music. Wherever he is, you'd better be there to listen. Anyways, about Lightbulb Sun: "Lightbulb Sun" is a very touching song about a y ... (read more)

Report this review (#273395) | Posted by TheMadHatter | Sunday, March 21, 2010 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Make me feel so high... so high My introduction to PORCUPINE TREE was Lightbulb Sun, a record my father had picked out for me some years ago when he was searching for some modern prog music. I am ever so grateful for the discovery as it is still my favourite PORCUPINE TREE record and one of my ... (read more)

Report this review (#218340) | Posted by Yoke | Tuesday, May 26, 2009 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Even though I've had this album in MP3 format for several years, I didn't feel right about posting a review until I actually owned the album. That sentence requires a bit of explanation. A good friend of mine, who had bought the album all those years ago (2001), didn't much care for it (or the ... (read more)

Report this review (#215137) | Posted by infandous | Tuesday, May 12, 2009 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I know this record is hated on by many Porcupine Tree fans, who state that it was aimed too much at the mainstream. I, however, love this album. I think it contains some of the best Porcupine Tree songs. Aside from How Was Your Life Today and Four Chords that Made a Million, every song on this ... (read more)

Report this review (#194542) | Posted by evantate09 | Saturday, December 20, 2008 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Last Chance To Evacuate Porcupine Tree Before They Are Recycled Apart from the joke of the title we got a strange change, from a most-psychedelic group to a Heavy Prog (Rush-like or more exactly Dream Theater-like), it is the last album where we see Maitland and to complete the picture the last ... (read more)

Report this review (#190521) | Posted by Erik Nymas | Wednesday, November 26, 2008 | Review Permanlink

5 stars I'm not rating this 5 stars because of its progressiveness, or its heavy progness or its spaceyness or whatever-you-want definition-ness - I think it's a masterpiece simply because I love it from start to finish and that it is Porcupine tree and that is what it is. Period (as the Americans would ... (read more)

Report this review (#171366) | Posted by PinkPangolin | Sunday, May 18, 2008 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Lightbulb Sun is very similar to its brother Stupid Dream: 1. both contain no weak song or filler, 2. both are rather mellow and untainted by metal, 3. there are some outstanding tracks on both while the rest is decent. Special mention should be made of the ever recurring acoustic pieces (someti ... (read more)

Report this review (#169639) | Posted by strayfromatlantis | Saturday, May 03, 2008 | Review Permanlink

4 stars This album was the bulb that enlightened my mind regarding progressive rock. No doubt about it, Lightbulb Sun presents a very melodic music focused much on more classical structures adopted especially by the acoustic guitar which is why I found it very accessible when I first listened to it. Bein ... (read more)

Report this review (#168676) | Posted by Zarec | Friday, April 25, 2008 | Review Permanlink

4 stars This is one of my favorites by Porcupine Tree. It is a great balance between prog metal and a nice acoustic side. A track that features just that is the amazing title track. It is pretty heavy, but also a beautiful song. The most powerful rocker on the album is probably Four Chords That M ... (read more)

Report this review (#160524) | Posted by pinkpork | Saturday, February 02, 2008 | Review Permanlink

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