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Porcupine Tree - Up The Downstair CD (album) cover

UP THE DOWNSTAIR

Porcupine Tree

 

Heavy Prog

3.90 | 953 ratings

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Zitro
Prog Reviewer
3 stars What Is it? A more mature follow-up to a joke album. This album retains some of the space rock and psychedelia elements while introducing a bit of electronica and hard rock. There is an emphasis on longer, more structured compositions.

Voice (2.5 stars) ? Steven Wilson's voice is relatively subdued, unassuming, and low in the mix. It floats in and out without leaving much of an impression. Occasionally, the vocals take a greater focus, such as during 'Synesthesia' or the beginning of 'Always Never', but they frankly do not deserve such a spotlight. 'Fadeaway' is an exception, with an ear for melody and an early hint of the eventual vocal style of the band, but not quite nailing the mood as later songs in band's discography.

Sound (3.5 stars) - Steven Wilson continues using the right psychedelic sounds out of keyboards. Bass lines more memorable and fluid. The guitar playing leaves an impression during Synesthesia, Always Never and Burning Sky. There is a strong influence from Pink Floyd and modern electronica music at times. One weak link is the percussion which alternates between a professional sound (Gavin Harrison?) and programmed beats. The sound production is somewhat inconsistent, occasionally suffering from a tinny sound.

Songs (3 stars) ? The songwriting is competent and reasonably structured. There is a clear sense of direction here, especially considering the preceding album. However, the less experimental nature combined with very lengthy compositions can bring unnecessary repetition and lack surprise. The title track is the greatest offender, repeating the same few ideas for 10 minutes. This is one example of a few tracks (e.g. Not Beautiful Anymore) that rely on musicianship as they otherwise revolve around a simple idea or two. Please note that there is good songwriting to be found - A shorter catchier 'Synesthesia' deserve recognition as a proper song while 'Small Fish + Burning Sky' hold the greatest surprises and instrumental themes.

Key Tracks: Synesthesia, Small Fish, Burning Sky

Zitro | 3/5 |

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