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Porcupine Tree - Stupid Dream CD (album) cover


Porcupine Tree


Heavy Prog

3.99 | 1376 ratings

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4 stars This is Porcupine Tree's unsung hero album, too often neglected by the "latest release" aficionados, who forget that this was another great leap forward from the majestic "Signify" and its live companion "Coma Divine". Steven Wilson wastes little dilly-dally in getting the message across in grand fashion hurling the oppressively brilliant "Even Less", a true PTree standard played at each of their concerts to this day. Yes ladies, it's that spectacular! A rushing riff pummeled forward by that steamroller rhythm section, some suave singing in that desperately apathetic voice and a miraculous guitar launch that exudes all the power and rage of social alienation. Great here, even greater live, I assure you! "Piano Lessons" has a pretty psychedelic Donovan quality to it , poppy weirdness allied with hushing beauty , a prog ballad with that unique British feel for the oblique, a groovy guitar fill decorating the whole. The title cut is very short electro blip and then we have the pastoral "Pure Narcotic" that hints at Anthony Phillips whilst fragile and whimsical, a good but not great track. "Slave Called Shiver" has that patented Colin Edwin-led bass groove that worms through the doom and gloom, pushing the plastic sonics and the jaded voice along. Tossing in a few Beatles-ish quotes ("More followers than Jesus Christ") and a lashing Wilson guitar rampage that devastates with impunity, the bass still rumbling audaciously, this is another classic and amazing live. In my opinion, this is way better than the poppier melancholics they like to mix into the stew. The monumental "Don't Hate Me" is another unparalleled PT jewel, a spacier mood with punchy drums, very arid at first only to better explode with a genius theme, a melody achingly painful , a wounded soul looking for some kind of empathy. The chorus is simply to die for, like a shining star in the cosmic universe, leading to a stunning Theo Travis flute and then sax solo, giving this a plethora of convulsive blush that wanders deep into the psyche. Amazing live as well! The next tracks can only pale in comparison, "This is no Rehearsal" being a jaunty issue with a wah-drenched axe solo that shivers and twitches. "Baby Dream in Cellophane" is very Fab Four reminding us that all Steve Wilson songs have a John Lennon tinge, lest we forget; forever flirting with the outskirts of breezy psychedelia. "Stranger by the Minute" is in the same vein, a solid melody on a simple carousel with some snazzy guitar solos and some smart lyrics. "A Smart Kid" is a somber tune floundering in minimalistic simplicity, Wilson's resonating and cool voice showcased as a weapon of sheer construction, different tones at will seemingly. The man can sing, heavy breathing and all but supplies a superb axe solo once again. The ominous "Tinto Brass" is a welcome return to the highway star riffery they do so well, Edwin buzzing intensely and Maitland pounding energetically, flute flutterings at 12 o'clock high and sibilant synths paving the way for some turbo-charged guitar slashes. Darn good music, this! "Stop Swimming" is another occasional live standard, a slow crawl build-up to a fabulous lyrical observation, hurting words and sorrowful souls collide in obvious copulation, hungry for another embrace. The notable instrumental restraint is utterly indescribable, synth heavy and impenetrable, the forlorn voice doing all the damage until the inevitable scream bellows from the inner self, an uncontrolled vortex of upward spiraling harmony. The only thing I cannot fathom with Wilson is why is there only one DVD of their live experience out there? Is he like Fripp when it comes to cameras in a concert hall, or what? 4.5 Idiotic delusions
tszirmay | 4/5 |


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