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Porcupine Tree - The Incident CD (album) cover


Porcupine Tree


Heavy Prog

3.67 | 1520 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

5 stars I await the inevitable backlash.

In these early days of listening, though, I'm in awe, and I flow with the building consensus of the brilliance of Porcupine Tree's latest.

For the sake of the review I'm going to focus on the main event, the epic title track. I agree with others that this may not have the immediacy of the last three releases by PT, but this--and, yeah, I know how stupid this sounds--is an album to listen to. It pays to sit in it, to let the whole experience rise over you like a wave and engulf you. Which is to say, though it is a good album to have on in the background, it is a staggering experience to be surrounded by. (In this way, it's like so many of the classic headphone albums of the 70s.)

Words like "mature" and "abstract" are starting to get attached to "The Incident," and I think that's fair. The album seems to work as a slowly building sound environment. The concept behind it all hovers rather than intrudes. The lyrics also don't have some of that immediate anger that drives "Fear of a Blank Planet," but there is a special depth and beauty here, and something new that builds on the recent albums and takes it all someplace broader (and that is saying a lot). What has been excellent about Porcupine Tree--the evocative jarring movement between soft shimmering beauty and crushing, thundering riffage; the rich and ever expansive textures; and that how-can-you-possibly-come-up-with-yet-another-stunning-melody-like-that quality--is even more on display here. This is a wide aural field. Time to be engulfed.

One note about guitars and resemblances. Much has been said already about how much "Time Flies" resembles Pink Floyd's "Dogs," and it is true that the descending chord pattern that brings the song to its end, starting around 9:48, is quite similar. But while we're at it, the bassish notes (A-E-F sharp) coming in around 5:00 even more strongly resemble movements from "The Wall." Whatever. None of this, I think, diminishes the impact of what is a powerful song. What I love, guitar-texture-wise, is Wilson's use of eerie vibrato-heavy guitar on a number of the pieces, starting with "The Blind House." On "Drawing the Line," it reminds me a great deal of Stephen Fellow's playing with Comsat Angels, which brings out the post-punk element of Porcupine Tree's music (yeah, I said that--hey, it happens if you were born in the summer of 67). "Degree Zero of Liberty" even evokes Hugh Burns's playing on Scott Walker's "The Drift." My point is not that there is a strong influence or stealing happening here. Rather, the music on "The Incident" evokes a dazzling array of shapes and styles of music.

The second disc features four great songs as well ("Remember Me Lover" is actually the weakest point for me at this point, but I'm still being engulfed), but it is the main feature, "The Incident," that adds something glorious to these Prog Archives and to the jawdropping work of Porcupine Tree.

I await the inevitable backlash.

questionsneverknown | 5/5 |


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