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Porcupine Tree - Arriving Somewhere... CD (album) cover


Porcupine Tree


Heavy Prog

4.57 | 543 ratings

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5 stars Strange that a band with such a prolific discography/live history has only one DVD released, as I would have deeply enjoyed their live album Coma Divine in a video setting! I guess Wilson "the Prog basketball", simply had too little time on his hands to set up more visual documents. This package is clearly from the "Deadwing" phase, which means that the harder edge espoused with In Absentia (in sequence with the Opeth producing experience) is in full evidence. As a few other PA reviewers have commented already, the various spooky/grainy effects added on by editor Lasse Hoile are really unnecessary in the whole scheme of things , perhaps a tad kitsch which may be more in jest (Wilson does have a somewhat impish sense of humor) than any serious attempt at being original. Psycho- psychedelic has been done already! "Open Car" certainly kicks off in rambunctious fashion, alternating crackling swagger with sweeping melodies and bone crunching drums. Wilson actually displays fine voice with various interesting modulations and the Richard Barbieri keyboard colorations are really way more vivid in a live setting than on record (heavy Roxy Music influence in his playing , even all these years after Japan) ! "Blackest Eyes" offers up some more steamroller/rollercoaster rides, meshing pile driver rhythms with one of the sweetest main melodies ever , showing off Gavin Harrison's undeniable talent (the man is a beast live), with bassist Colin Edwin merrily keeping everything stitched tight. "Lazarus" mellows the tone, showing off Wilson the tunesmith, creating an almost pop standard , having everyone "follow me down to the valley below", with pastoral piano and a simply honest guitar solo. This is not about technique or chops but more musical poetry which Wilson certainly knows how to turn. "Hatesong" is this scribe's favorite PT track, so I will drool a tad if I may. A simple bass riff repeated ad nauseam ( somewhat remindful of Roxy Music's "The Bogus Man", check it out -wink), with some exalted keyboard patterns , whirling dervish guitar pirouettes, odd drum fills a la Paul Thompson and Wilson's "yeah, yeah, yeahs" combined with a screeching axe solo that would make Manzanera/Eno proud, treatments (Barbieri again) and all. A manic showstopper, a fantastic track that deserves being seen/heard in a live context. I slurp up the sweat and the saliva 'cause I really hate my ex wife. The rage fits, thank you very much! "Don't Change Me" has become another darling branch of the quill's tree, a moody, broody and sooty sarcastic lament with a melodic hook the size of Holland (the Dutch fans will get this one), Wilson proving again that he can sing with passion and despair, the 2 words that best characterize Porcupine Tree, BTW. Here again, Barbieri gets to add his special touch, giving off more dreamlike sequences on his various Rolands, combining with Wesley and Wilson's dual guitar attack with sinuous dexterity and spatial eloquence. Another masterpiece! "Mother and Child Divided" proposes more eccentric tonal architectures, altering the whoosh with the brawn, almost Crimsonesque in stature with Harrison pounding relentlessly and the axes grinding ferociously, extended noisy interludes vying with spooky synthesizer sweeps, a whamming, jamming affair. "Buying New Soul" again showcases the keyboardist flair in expressing complex simplicity with Wilson's acoustic guitar grabbing the torch, another pop ditty much like Lazarus or Trains, a simple song with sad lyrics and terse arrangements (symphy keys). Wesley gets to solo electric. "So Called Friend" returns back to the edge and the falsetto voices are amusing in context of the thinly veiled sarcasm, draped in a sea of atmospherics and propulsive melodrama but this tune does not venture into new territories. The title track provides Eno-like soundscapes, again with a strong early Roxy vibe, with superb video backdrops to accentuate the groove, sweet expressions of desperation perfectly evoked with a limpid Wilson green guitar foray, Harrison pummeling along in subtle simplicity, a second more raging solo from the leader with a raunchy section and a peaceful outro. It arrives somewhere, I assure you. Mushrooming blue skies and all. Another high point, very nice, indeed. Fire flames on the screens, more hints of Roxy's "In Every Dream home" early on, very moody and labored, with stunning chorale vocals, the massively gorgeous "Heartattack in a Layby". "The Start of Something Beautiful" is led by Edwin's bopping bass and a funkier groove than ever, evolving gloriously into a raging anthem, still careening on the four string track, steam rising from the synths, Wesley "wah"-ing his fretboard, masses of atmospherics and Wilson plaintively expressing some kind of hope both with his voice and green guitar. "Halo" is another groove sizzler, Edwin and Harrison laying down a funky beat, suddenly morphing into a Lennon-ish rant about God, cell phones, freedom, truth, power, fame and of course, pain. Sounds like this tune is dedicated to those bushleaguers who want to lead the world into the abyss. No need to stand up! This is where the concert, as such ends and the encores begin. Get to see a few hot babes in the crowd. "The Sound of Muzak" is a big fan choice, so it's no surprise that the return attack begins with this marvelous tune, a main chorus that just sticks to your brain, a simmering lament that has everyone singing in unison with Wilson and crew. A tortuous, curvy, rapacious solo captures the attention of each and all. One of the wonders of the world, no one cares..."Even Less" is another big moment, possibly even the tops, a typical incursion into the groovy world of spiny psychedelia, with Wilson's rifferama guitar plowing mercilessly, Harrison bashing confidently and a magnificent chorus sung masterfully by the castaway, possibly PTree's finest moment ever , as both lyrics, music, intent, passion and despair combine into a crescendo of pure genius. By this time, the Chicago crowd is spellbound and near delirium, or is it shock? "Trains" ends the show and I am not ashamed to say that it isn't and never was a big deal for me, yes its pretty and cute and even mildly amusing when Wilson pops his strings and has to ad-lib a return (very coolly pro BTW) and I guess this DVD will get me to really like this song too . I am dying of love, too. Great job Steven, and the Montreal show was a memorable blast. If any had doubts about P Tree's raison d'Ítre, then get this DVD and you will arrive somewhere in the higher reaches of Progland. 5 Fedexed basketballs
tszirmay | 5/5 |


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