Porcupine Tree - Deadwing

Year of Release: 2005
Label: Warner/Lava
Catalog Number: 7567-93437-2
Format: CD
Total Time: 59:54:00

Regardless of the many side projects Steve Wilson is involved in, his little baby will always remain Porcupine Tree. For sure Steve's diverse egos are able to nestle within the various guises of his musical genius, with PT being more a result of his everyday feelings. When you open your eyes you might start the day in a soft romantic mood only to acquire tons of stress at work steering you towards an overdose of agression which has to calm down with a steaming pot of tea in the evening. It's all of those ups and downs which find their way into Porcupine Tree's music. An extra plus no doubt has to be the record company's attitude giving Steve and the band no restrictions at all. So there's no pressure in delivering a hit single, there's no demand for songs of a certain length in order to lift them as singles. Of course Steve has been around long enough to know that he has to include at least a couple of shorter tracks which can be used for airplay purposes in order to promote the band's brand new full length CD. On Deadwing these tracks are the fierce "Shallow," the laidback atmospheric "Lazarus" and the Anathema like "Open Car."

With In Absentia being the very first album with the new line-up, of course we all were very anxious to know which direction the new PT album would take. In short I can say that Deadwing sounds like a compromise between the "older" sound and the more contemporary approach from the last couple of years. As during his stint with Japan, Richard Barbieri uses his keyboards more as percussive patches and soundscape modules rather than use them to deliver pure symphonic solos. The rhythmic combination between Colin Edwin and Gavin Harrison is more straightforward, leaving behind a more experimental nature with preference for jazz influenced structures, as is illustrated during the album's title track. With "Shallow" the band fits in nicely with the indie community and could therefore get heavy rotation on indie radios and university radios. "Lazarus" is more of an acoustic song with nice melodic vocals resulting in a soothing arrangement. When Adrian Belew steps in during "Halo," it almost sounds like Soft Machine on acid. Of a more experimental nature toying with sounds is "Arriving Somewhere But Not Here," which also includes extra harmony vocals and second guitar solo by Opeth frontman Mikael Åkerfeldt. Since working with Opeth, Wilson has also absorbed ideas from this part of the musical spectrum turning Porcupine Tree towards even more varied results.

The very first time I heard "Mellotron Scratch," it was as if I was listening to a tune I had heard a million times before, that I was brought up with during my childhood, which one way or another felt comfortable and peaceful. Next to the divine music, which occasionally gets close to Pink Floyd magic, I also very much like the title "Mellotron Scratch," which sees the band merge acoustic guitars with electronic outbursts. Only a handful of simple guitar riffs is sufficient to make "Open Car" an immortal piece of PT conundrum which drifts towards an imaginary desolated island on the back of mellotron waves. Atmospheric floating sounds do exactly what its title implies: "Start Of Something Beautiful." Based around a repetitive bass pattern Steve's distorted guitar melts with sharp arpeggios and lush bottleneck parts. Simply a stunning piece of work! Gilmour-esque guitar swims throughout the closing track "Glass Arm Shattering," which gets you in Meddle-era mood. Wilson's rather naïve piano playing adds extra spontaneity to the whole with vocal harmonies leading the song to an absolute climax. A perfect ending to a perfect album. I also like the tongue-in-cheek approach from a productional point of view here as noises from a needle scratching a vinyl album have been inserted to make it sound like an old 33 1/3 rpm.

Deadwing certainly is not as accessible as No Man and less commercial than Blackfield. It's also different from In Absentia, although references as far as The Sky Moves Sideways and Lightbulb Sun crept under Wilson's nails here. Deadwing definitely did not put Porcupine Tree in a deadlock. In other words the creativity of Steve Wilson and his band never ceases to amaze me as they once again have proven with this outstanding album. Another important step in the direction towards world domination!

Deadwing / Shallow / Lazarus / Halo / Arriving Somewhere / Mellotron Scatch / Open Car / Start Of Something Beautiful / Glass Arm Shattering

Steve Wilson - guitars, vocals, piano, keyboards, hammered dulcimer, bass
Richard Barbieri - keyboards, synths
Colin Edwin - bass
Gavin Harrison - drums, percussion


Adrian Belew - solo guitar (1, 4)
Mikael Åkerfeldt - harmony vocals, second guitar solo (5)

On The Sunday Of Life... (1991)
Voyage 34 (1992)
Up The Downstair (1993)
Voyage 34: Remixes (1993)
Staircase Infinities (1994)
Moonloop E.P. (1994)
The Sky Moves Sideways (1995)
Signify (1996)
Coma Divine - Recorded Live In Rome (1997)
Stupid Dream (1999)
Voyage 34 - The Complete Trip (2000/2004/2005
'4 Chords That Made A Million' (2000)
Lightbulb Sun (2000/2008)
'Shesmovedon' (2000)
Lightbulb Sun - Special Edition (2001)
Recordings (2001)
Stars Die: The Delerium Years 1991 - 1997(2002/2005)
Metanoia (2002)
In Absentia (2002)
In Absentia (European version) (2003)
Warszawa (2005)
Deadwing (2005)
Porcupine Tree (2006)
Fear Of A Blank Planet (2007)
Nil Recurring (2008)
The Incident (2009)

Arriving Somewhere... (DVD) (2006)

Genre: Progressive Rock

Origin UK

Added: May 16th 2005
Reviewer: John "Bobo" Bollenberg

Artist website: www.porcupinetree.com
Hits: 1484
Language: english


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