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The album was released in September 14 2009 its Porcupine Tree's 10th but latest album to date, it's a double CD and Lasts for just over 75 mins .
It brought the band critical acclaim with the Classic rock magazine naming Porcupine Tree best band and best album of 2009, The band members consist of Steven Wilson Guitars and vocals, Richard Barbieri Keyboards Colin Edwin Bass and Gavin Harrison on the drumkit
Steve Wilson Most wrote of the materiel, and is the main vocal point for the band, an exceptional talent, Wilson is a typical English musician and is good as any of the past rock composers like Roger waters or Peter Gabriel these people had the ability to weave music and themes around story lines and concepts, with an superb vocal delivery and great Guitar work, the Idea of the Incident came to Wilson when he was stuck in a traffic jam and the flashing warning sign was showing Police - Incident.
The word Incident struck Steve Wilson as being rather a detached word in context of the carnage of the traffic accident he had witnessed, this was the trigger for the writing process that spawned the mammoth 55 Min concept piece That takes up the first CD, the band also went on to tour in 2010 and would play the whole incident track.
Track 1 as mentioned a 55-minute concept split into 14 tracks the shortest being 1.26 the longest 11.41
The opening track is Occams Razor a Dramatic opening of drums guitar and bass a pounding three-chord intro that makes way to an eerie electronic sound effects.
2 Blind house an starts with the pounding beat similar to the opening track but is broken up by soothing acoustic guitar and lead vocal and vocal Harmonies, the track then slows and enters into more keyboard weirdness with a gentle Wilson vocal over the top before the pounding guitar and bass finish the song off.
3. Great Expectations lovely acoustic and vocal opening, then with the injection of the rest of the band.
4. Kneel and Disconnect. stars with some slow and steady piano work and vocal background electronic sounds giving the song a nice atmosphere.
5 Drawing The Line. Is a straightforward rock track that could easily been a single for the band as its quite an accessible song.
6. The Incident Quirky slow keyboards and spoken vocals with the drums tapping out a echoed rhythm the words are about this slow creeping traffic jam that Wilson was stuck in that inspired the album, the pace of the number increases over repeated vocals, then the song brakes free into a normal steady rock tune that builds until its conclusion.
7.Your Unpleasant Family. Vocals guitar and double beat bass drum start the song with the opening line your unpleasant family smashed up my car, some nice slide guitar interjects accompanied with bass and drums and at 1 48 that's it.
8. The Yellow Windows of the Evening Train. Once more a short number with atmospheric Hammond organ and choral effects
9. Time Flies. A fantastic track amongst the quirky short bits and pieces it does remind me of Pink Floyd's Pigs On The Wing from Animals its starts off lively enough then comes back down to earth only to slowly increase in intensity this rise and fall in dramatics is very effective and is the standout number here.
10. Degree Zero of Liberty. Opening of Occams Razor is revisited but with a guitar sequence in the middle of the song.
11. Octane Twisted. Back to a steady normalish song with weaving vocals until we move in heavy metal territory for a short while with a blazing chord sequence this then cuts back and forth to a slower tempo but its done to great effect.
12 The Séance. Atmospheric song about a séance with acoustic guitar and Wilson's prominent vocal keyboards melt into the number and then some rock guitar, this is the great thing with Porcupine Tree you never quite know what direction the song will take its full of surprises but not a tangled mess but a woven tapestry that fits together seamlessly.
13. Circle Of Manias. Bobbing and weaving bass Drums and Distorted guitar and instrumental showing the heavy side of the band and when needed this band can churn out a Heavy song as good as the best of them.
14. I Drive the Hearse. Last section on the marathon concept piece, phew still with me.
Another stands out number from the album just a gentle voyage of music that flows downstream with the odd crashing rapid ahead.
Track 1 Flicker. Opens with spacey Keyboards and the mood then rises steadily with some nice guitar solo work, I hate to use these modern day phrases but a chill out track with a slight edge.
Track 2 Bonnie the Cat. Not sure how the title of the track reflects the song but it's not about a cat, it's a dark brooding number that is a about relationship breakdown it has a kind of hypnotic quality and just as your caught by that repetitive rhythm it drops down into darkness, then out of the dark back into the light.
Track 3. Black Dahlia. This song is another slow burner and most certainly a nod in the direction of Pink Floyd not that's a criticism the band take obvious influences and make them fresh and original.
Track 4. Remember Me Lover. Not my personal favorite its just sounds to messy and really is directionless in the opening minutes but then the band kicks into heavy metal mode and renews my interest but it's a forgettable track in what is overall a brilliant album.
So there we have it, Its quite a big chunk of Porcupine Tree pie to take in one go but this album will grow on you Its dark moody menacing light and heavy, with as mentioned hints of influence here and there if you wish to get into PT then maybe Deadwing or Fear Of A Blank Planet would be a better starting point before moving on to the main course of Incident.
PT are a fantastic band that deserve a listen for all of those who enjoy great musicianship with clever imaginative writing and wonderful varied moods of music, they are not household names but are getting more recognition as the years pass, they are one band that today that holds my interest they could come under the banner of progressive rock but that would be unfair because they are much more than that, go and discover their music.
Porcupine Tree, featuring members Steven Wilson (guitar, piano, vocals, composer), Richard Barbieri (keyboards and synths), Colin Edwin (bass guitar) and Gavin Harrison (drums and percussion), have moved onwards and upwards since 2002's 'In Absentia'. For their latest release, 'The Incident', the band dialled down the heaviness that was enormously apparent in 2007's 'Fear of a Blank Planet', the album release prior to The Incident. The album was release on Sept 14 2009, and is the band's 10th studio release.
The Incident is a concept album. The idea was conceived when Wilson was caught in a traffic jam due to an 'Incident', made clear on the words of a sign: 'POLICE - INCIDENT'. Wilson realised how detached a word 'incident' is for an occurrence that will often evoke a lot of trauma for all people involved. Wilson apparently had a sensation that the spirit of a person who had died in the incident was sitting next to him in his car, and he was inspired. Fixated on the irony of the word 'Incident', Wilson began researching other incidents that had occurred, and in this album, Wilson aims to convey the thoughts and feelings of those involved in certain incidents that particularly stood out. His aim was to bring a somewhat personal element to the table, dismissing this detached feeling that the word 'incident' suggests.
The album spans across two discs, the first of which features only one song: 'The Incident'. Quite like Transatlantic's 'The Whirlwind', the song is more of a suite, and features movements. 'The Incident' in total lasts just over 55 minutes, but the second disc features four separate tracks, but due to the significance and brilliance of track 1, 'The Incident', these four tracks are almost dismissed to begin with, and almost seen as a bonus disc rather than part of the album. The four songs are great in their own respect however, and should not be ignored. All meet the genre of 'Progressive', although there is a mix of both rock and metal in the album, as well as a bit of folk and electronica. The entire track list is as follows...
1. The Incident (55.15)
I. Occam's Razor (1.55)
II. The Blind House (5.47)
III. Great Expectations (1.26)
IV. Kneel and Disconnect (2.03)
V. Drawing the Line (4.43)
VI. The Incident (5.20)
VII. Your Unpleasant Family (1.48)
VIII. The Yellow Windows of the Evening Train (2.00)
IX. Time Flies (11.40)
X. Degree Zero of Liberty (1.45)
XI. Octane Twisted (5.03)
XII. The Séance (2.39)
XIII. Circle of Manias (2.18)
XIV. I Drive the Hearse (6.41)
2. Flicker (3.42)
3. Bonnie the Cat (5.45)
4. Black Dahlia (3.40)
5. Remember Me Lover (7.28)
Total length: 75.56
The album kicks off with three striking chords in 'Occam's Razor' that introduce The Incident fantastically. The effect is strong, and it is emphasised by some great production and sound quality, that speaks for the entire album. The track is short, and moves on rather quickly into 'The Blind House', which is one of my favourite tracks on the album, featuring sharp contrasts between distorted, heavy sections and quieter, mellow sections. The song features some eerie harmonising vocals and some very strange synths, but form an impressive combination. The song is based on a very real and a very serious occurrence that happened in March 2008. A large group of teenage girls were being held in a YFZ (Yearning for Zion) Ranch in Texas, and were being 'groomed' into certain ways and being sexually abused.
And such 'incidents' are discussed in the movements of The Incident, which can be interpreted through Wilson's excellently written and constructed lyrics. Track 3 'Great Expectations' could possibly be a follow-up to previous track, talking of a person being locked up and forgotten, and 'Kneel and Disconnect' is rather open, perhaps talking of a person who floats from one job to another, never achieving their dreams. The incidents discussed vary significantly, but are conveyed as tragic all the same. It's as if Wilson is comparing all of them, and it is interesting whether or not he is saying that they are equally tragic or not. The way in which all of the incidents are grouped under a singular title: 'The Incident' may suggest that Wilson believes them to all to be equally traumatic.
The summery, light feel of 'Great Expectations', the wonderful but strange harmony of 'Kneel and Disconnect' and the fantastically conveyed rock nature of 'Drawing the Line' deem them to be some of the better tracks on the album, in my opinion, but the musical focus is lost in 'The Incident', that is track VI. Instead, an electronic, moody aura is collected, but it never loses interest here. I don't know whether it is because I know Wilson's concept, but a 'trafficky' feel is created, and it works. Far from my favourite track, but it is good in it's own respect.
The centrepiece of the album, 'Time Flies' is the ninth track of the album, and deals with loss. Written in the first person (although some of the other tracks are too), there are suggestions that the song is semi-biographical. Wilson writes that how time flies is tragic, and the song is pastoral and nostalgic, reminiscing on a simpler time where the protagonist was in love. The line 'And the coat you wore to Alton Towers / It's still the way I see you now' is quite raw and British, but is tragic, and relates to many in a strange way despite being quite personal - there are many who have loved and lost. The music itself, I feel, is the one of the weaker moments on the album, and the instrumental break is quite tiresome, but Wilson does this for a reason. The driving repeated chordal pattern creates a rather boring effect, but, before you know it, the song is over, despite the break being quite lengthy, 'and after a while, you realise time flies'.
'Degree Zero of Liberty' is very similar to 'Occam's Razor', so with that in mind, it could be said that it reintroduces the album, and maybe the last five movements are seen as 'Act II' of The Incident. The following three tracks are all very similar in style, and play around with shared themes, musical ideas and lyrics. From peculiar acoustic guitar arpeggios to heavy, overdriven guitar riffs accompanied by rumbling tom-focused drum parts, and from creepy falsetto-vocal harmonies to an array of brilliant synth effects. There is vast melodic interest in these songs, and I really like them. But the suite concludes with the mellow 'I Drive the Hearse'. Wilson provides a beautiful acoustic guitar part, and compliments it wonderfully with his simplistic vocals. The lyrics are odd but tragic, with lines such as 'Pride is just another way of trying to live with my mistakes'. The hook 'When I'm down I drive the hearse' is particularly downbeat. With an odd bass line accompanying, the orchestration of the piece is odd, but is a great way to conclude The Incident.
The final four tracks, as I mentioned earlier, should not be ignored. 'Flicker' is particularly dense in comparison to 'I Drive the Hearse' but features a lovely synth pattern, a great harmonising bass line and a nice melody. One which I particularly favour is 'Black Dahlia', which is based around a cold keyboard ostinato, creating a rather depressing feel. The lyrics are of particular interest however. 'Bonnie The Cat' has a very dark feel, and 'Remember Me Lover' continues this tragic nature, and is a great finisher to the album.
The Incident reached #23 in the UK albums chart, which was quite an achievement for a Prog album. BBC wrote an article highlighting the new age of Prog that Porcupine Tree were emphasising with The Incident, and the band won many #1 spots with the Classic Rock magazine awards, including Best Album. Although there are moments of weakness in the album, I find that generally, it is a fine piece of modern Progressive music, whilst being extremely accessible for anybody who wanted to get into the genre. The artwork for the album is provided once again by Lasse Hoile, and it's one of my favourite pieces of work by the photographer. It's rather plain for him, but looks great nonetheless. The front cover of the man holding out his hand is particularly striking, and although it looks like it is stopping the listener from coming in, it is intriguing enough to encourage one to explore the world of Porcupine Tree. This isn't my favourite album by the band, but it is up there as one of the greats of modern Prog like 'The Whirlwind', and is definitely worth a listen!
Porcupine Tree are a British group who have been gaining in popularity over the last few albums. They have actually been around since 1987, the brainchild over multi-instrumentalist, singer and producer Steven Wilson. They have moved through several musical styles over the years, going from psychedelic through to pop-rock, rock-pop, tinges of metal to this album which is probably best described as neo-prog, but is (as most of their albums are) pretty difficult to find a definitive pigeonhole for.
Their latest album is a two-disc release. The first disc is made up completely from one long track - a 14-part song-cycle. I was a bit put off by the term when I first heard about it, but it's simply 14 tracks faded together, nothing Wagnerian! First track, instrumental Occam's Razor, nails its colours noisily to the mast starting the album with a jolt of loud guitar chords interspersed with quieter moments, some scene setting for what's to come. Next track The Blind House moves on in a similar style with a song seemingly about a cult - the whole cycle is about wondering what happens to people, who have been caught up in accidents or incidents, after the cameras and news crews have gone away and they're expected to return to 'normal', something borne out by the track Great Expectations. The tracks move along quite rapidly, many being quite short, but even what could be seen as fillers between tracks are beautifully written pieces of music - one thing that stands out for me about this album is the melodic nature of the songs. The previous album, Fear of a Blank Planet, lacked melodies to my ears, whereas this release more than redresses the balance while still managing to combine the metal sound occasionally with a more melodic rock and neo-progressive style.
There is an epic within an epic here too. The track Time Flies, an undisguised tip of the hat to Pink Floyd's track Dogs ( from the Animals album ), is almost 12 minutes long but never lets up its pace. Even in the central instrumental section, the sound is constantly building until a it assumes heavy rock proportions. Octane Twisted contains one of my favourite Steven Wilson guitar solos (still not as good as the one in Way Out Of Here on the previous album...) which isn't nearly as long as it ought to be. The album finishes on the curiously titled "I Drive The Hearse", with the protagonist at a very low point, feeling the weight of life and its disappointments. Despite the title it is actually a beautiful song. In fact, all of the tracks are musically excellent - this is real thinking person's music, and hard to pigeon-hole. There are elements of rock, metal, pop and folk there, and no small measure of progressive rock, albeit in a contemporary way.
Disc 2 contains the songs Flicker, Bonnie The Cat, Black Dahlia and Remember Me Lover. Bonnie strikes me as a candidate for being reworked by a growl-voiced death metal band, with it's menacingly whispered lyrics. My favourite of these four is Remember Me lover - it's a kind of a rock-pop song, an edited version would probably make a pretty good single, as it has the kind of chorus that gets stuck in the head for hours afterwards.
All in all, I find it great to listen to, very satisfying melodically, with a good amount of noise too, and great musicianship, arrangements and production.
CD1 : The Incident
Occam's Razor (1.56)
The Blind House (5.47)
Great Expectations (1.26)
Kneel and Disconnect (2.03)
Drawing the Line (4.43)
The Incident (5.20)
Your Unpleasant Family (1.48)
The Yellow Windows of the Evening Train (2.00)
Time Flies (11.40)
Degree Zero of Liberty (1.45)
Octane Twisted (5.03)
The Seance (2.39)
Circle of Manias (2.19)
I Drive the Hearse (7.21)
Bonnie the Cat (5.45)
The Black Dahlia (3.40)
Remember Me Lover (7.31)
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Occam's Razor
2 Blind House, The
3 Great Expectations
4 Kneel And Disconnect
5 Drawing The Line
6 Incident, The
7 Your Unpleasant Family
8 Yellow Windows Of The Evening Train, The
9 Time Flies
10 Degree Zero Of Liberty
11 Octane Twisted
12 Seance, The
13 Circle Of Manias
14 I Drive The Hearse
Disc #2 Tracklisting
2 Bonnie The Cat
3 Black Dahlia
4 Remember Me Love