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An Incident Worth Investigating
The Incident - Porcupine Tree
Member Name: melinda3536
The Incident - Porcupine Tree
Date: 10/03/10, updated on 10/03/10 (64 review reads)
Advantages: A great and satisfying rock album
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)
Summary: Porcupine Tree's excellent latest album