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Porcupine Tree - Stupid Dream CD (album) cover


Porcupine Tree


Heavy Prog

3.99 | 1376 ratings

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Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Beginning of the peak?

I think most PT fans probably fall into two camps, those who prefer the early spacier stuff and those into the latter day, harder-edged albums. For now my preference has been the middle ground. I believe the band made a good leap on "Stupid Dream" from the inconsistency of "Signify," and then made perhaps their two best albums in "Lightbulb Sun" and "In Absentia." Relax John buddy, I know I still need to hear "Up the Downstair" before I can say that. ;) The 3-album run beginning with Stupid Dream is where the band mixed the heavy prog, metal, and space elements with their most overtly commercial pop sound. Turns out Wilson is as good at pop music hooks and melody as he is at everything else. Right out of the gate "Even Less" shows a certain confidence we didn't hear on the previous album. It would continue with "Piano Lessons" which is one of their poppiest numbers and could easily get airplay anywhere with its lush harmonized vocals and tasty slide leads. "Pure Narcotic" adds in acoustic guitar and piano to another very accessible track. We have the funky track "Slave Called Shiver" to show off the talents of Colin Edwin, though it is tracks like this one that most cry out for some of Harrison's unreal fills. "Don't Hate Me" is the centerpiece track with lots of mood, mellotron, a spicy sax solo by Theo Travis, and a sweet electric solo. There's even a funky space-tronica bit with a flute solo on "Tinto Brass!" The closer "Stop Swimming" is one of those beautiful, slow, moody PT tracks where the piano and narcotic vocal lull you into a bit of haze. "Stupid Dream" is not quite as successful as Lightbulb or In Absentia, but it's reasonably close- a very well-rounded, enjoyable disc and certainly one every fan will need to get to. It's the Wilson brand with more alt-pop/rock feeling, after the cosmic itch was scratched but before the metal edge came into play. While this middle period of PT generally loses the fan polls, where most fans like the space excursions or the metal-edged stuff, I love this unapologetically melodic phase. And this first one from this period is not unlike Rush's "Permanent Waves", maintaining just a bit of what made Rush tick to that point, but alerting fans that big changes were coming.

Finnforest | 4/5 |


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