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1. Lightbulb Sun 5:31 2. How is Your Life Today? 2:46 3. Four Chords that Made a Million 3:36 4. Shesmovedon 5:13 5. Last Chance to Evaculate Planet Earth Before It is Recycled 4:48 6. The Rest Will Flow 3:14 7. Hatesong 8:26* 8. Where We Would Be 4:12 9. Russia on Ice 13:03** 10. Feel So Low 5:18 All titles by Wilson except: *by Wilson / Edwin & **by Porcupine Tree. Arrangements by Porcupine Tree. Recorded and produced by Wilson at "No Man's Land" studio 11/99 - 01/00. Line-up: Steven Wilson - lead vocals, guitars, keyboards, harp Colin Edwin - bass Richard Barbieri - synthesizers Chris Maitland - drums, backing vocals
In one of my Key (Progressive Rock) Reviews "Clones, Clowns, Strangetudes" I was enumerating some of the Titans of our favourite genre more than once, and the name of Porcupine Tree is present there along with the names of Pink Floyd, Jethro Tull, Gong, Hawkwind, etc constantly. Being deeply impressed by the true Grandeur of "Signify", "Up the Downstair" and "The Sky Moves Sideway" albums, in that review I openly called Porcupine Tree Giants of the genre. I like also "Stupid Dream", though, probably, less than the aforesaid works. So, I was really happy when, according to my request, Steven Wilson helped me to get their new one from the current PT label "Snapper Music" (thank you, Johnny)... To be honest, after such a (little though) step backwards as "Stupid Dream" I was really expecting to hear something in the vein of "Signify" (of course - as it is my favourite album from PT). Well, I was in a state of pleasant, waiting just until I listened to "Lightbulb Sun" to the end. Then I was playing it again and again, hoping to find there something really significant, that, possibly, was "slipping away" from my attention... As a result, very soon I did understand: this album is a coin of two sides.
The band to which I dare to compare Porcupine Tree is Pink Floyd. Having in "archive" a few really strong progressive albums (first of all, "Signify" and "Up the Downstair" thanks to their distinct originality, then "The Sky Moves Sideway" I find (a good album yet) almost obviously influenced by the same Pink Floyd), released by PT in their early period, I apprehend the appearance of such a work as "Lightbulb Sun" like the appearance of "The Dark Side of the Moon" after "The Piper at the Gates of Dawn" and "A Saucerful of Secrets". And although I honestly consider "The Dark Side..." a little stronger than "Lightbulb Sun", both they are logical continuations of development of these (not only stylistically similar) bands in their as if predetermined purpose to achieve the stardom status (of course, presently we can talk of a stardom status just relatively, unlike the gold'n'old 70's). On the one hand, both these albums by PT & PF are much less progressive than their best early efforts, on the other hand they, as truly mature works, sound on the whole very solidly and... "prettily" that makes them typical "progressive" blockbusters, ie Progressive Rock albums for masses. In that meaning (to interest masses in Progressive Rock again!) the "Lightbulb Sun"'s importance is really huge. But as for me personally, I highily appreciate yet don't love even "The Dark side...".
There are two outstanding songs (progressive hallmarks!) on the "Lightbulb Sun" album. The first one is Russia On Ice (I remember, it was a "working" title of the album before it was released: quite a right album title from the "standpoint of progressivity", btw), and the second one - Hatesong. Both are the longest compositions on album, both are the only long compositions on album, carried over towards the "Pure Progressivity". All the other songs are just simple songs, simple excellent songs, though. So, first off, of course, please do not forget that Porcupine Tree is, on the whole, an extremely original band, but if you like structures-textures of the titlesong from the "Wish You Were Here" album by PF, you will love a new work by PT, too. But, that's the main thing, if you consider "The Dark Side..." a masterpiece, order "Lightbulb Sun" right now! I promise, then you will consider it an excellent album, at least.
VM. July 3, 2000
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