Porcupine Tree - Lightbulb Sun - Special Edition

Year of Release: SMACD841X
Label: KScope
Catalog Number: 2001
Format: CD
Total Time: 76:16:00

Having lived in west Wales for four years in the early 80's, I was heavily exposed to the neo-progressive movement, BBC Ireland (God bless the Beeb!), BBC's 1 and 2, Celtic folk music, and the influences that UK bands exert on each other. Listening to Lightbulb Sun Special Edition, I get an intense sense of deja vu for my life in Wales and the wonderful music that abounded on the radio (and Top Of The Pops and The Tube) during my stay there. Porcupine Tree combine every bit of the music I remember hearing and their own singular personality to create a sound that is uniquely British and quite unlike most other modern progressive units. Influences show up everywhere, especially that of early 70's Pink Floyd during the longer pieces, but Porcupine Tree's musical identity is so strong that there's no mistaking who made Lightbulb Sun.

Both Stephanie Sollow and John Bollenberg have already reviewed the original Lightbulb Sun, so I won't spend much time rehashing what they've already covered. Lightbulb Sun Special Edition consists of two discs, the original release as Disc 1 and several additional tracks from other Porcupine Tree releases as Disc 2. Disc 1 is a superb release from start to finish, containing some of the best original rock music I've heard in quite some time. My favorite song is "Shesmovedon", a medium-paced heavy rocker divided by beautiful folkish choruses featuring Clannad-style harmonies, and its segue piece, "Last Chance To Evacuate Planet Earth Before It Is Recycled." "Hatesong" and "Russia On Ice" comprise the album's two epics, both of which inspire visions of Meddle-era Pink Floyd and Fates Warning, and showcase Porcupine Tree's instrumental prowess. "Hatesong" is made especially heady by the mellotron, which sounds as if it came straight from Yes' "Heart Of The Sunrise". "Feel So Low" closes out Disc 1 with the taste of bittersweet, as Steve Wilson intones one last one-sided conversation with a departed lover, closing the song with an irony-laced "Thanks."

Disc 2 opens with an edited version of "Buying New Soul" (the full-length version is included on Recordings, released in May 2001). The song opens with quiet ambience and transforms into a sweet jazz-folk piece featuring a Bruford-style drum solo by Chris Maitland. "Pure Narcotic", taken from the 1999 release Stupid Dream, is a gentle acoustic ballad that has Steve Wilson fretting about his inability to be the man his imagined lover desires. "Tinto Brass" is the live version included on the "Pure Narcotic" cd-single, also released in 1999. A rocking instrumental neatly built around samples of a telephone's busy signal, "Tinto Brass" highlights Porcupine Tree's dynamic interplay, but is somewhat strange in that the audience has been completely edited out! Weird.... Also included but not listed is a fourth audio track, one that took me a couple of spins to pin down. As it turns out, the very familiar track is the string arrangement to "The Rest Will Flow" from Disc 1! Again, weird.... For video enthusiasts, Disc 2 includes the video for "Piano Lessons" in QuickTime format (as well as the QuickTime program so you can watch the video). And there are band biographies, a thorough discography, and links to web sites where one can pick up further information on Porcupine Tree.

If you have the original Lightbulb Sun, then you really don't need Special Edition. Nothing genuinely new is presented here and, if you happen to be a Porcupine Tree aficionado, then you probably already have everything in its original form. For first-timers, though, Special Edition is a great introduction to a great band and a pretty good deal to boot - both CD's for the price of one.

Lightbulb Sun (5:31) / How Is Your Life Today? (2:46) / Four Chords That Made A Million (3:36) / Shesmovedon (5:13) / Last Chance To Evacuate Planet Earth Before Its Recycled (4:48) / The Rest Will Follow (3:14) / Hatesong (8:26) / Where We Would Be (4:12) / Russia On Ice (13:03) / Feel So Low (5:18)

Disc 2: Buying New Soul (edit) (6:07) / Pure Narcotic (5:14) / Tinto Brass (live) (6:43) / The Rest Will Flow Strings Track (2:05) / Piano Lessons (video)

Steve Wilson - guitars, keyboards, vocals, banjo, harp, percussion, samples
Richard Barbieri - keyboards, synthesizers, mellotron, synthesized percussion
Colin Edwin - electric basses, double bass
Chris Maitland - drums, percussion, vocals

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: July 26th 2001
Reviewer: David Cisco

Artist website: www.porcupinetree.com
Hits: 729
Language: english


[ Back to Reviews Index | Post Comment ]