Prog rock for modern ears
Reviewed June 2005
By Porcupine Tree
Lava Records: 2005
To hear sound clips or learn more about this release, Turbula recommends viewing its Amazon.com entry.
Porcupine Tree is to Yes, ELP and King Crimson what Guns 'n' Roses was to Deep Purple and Aerosmith: the second generation.
Porcupine Tree has had a much longer, more productive (and creative) run than GNR ever had, though. First founded in the early 1990s as a sort of lark by singer/guitarist Steve Wilson (who was playing around with the idea of creating a "lost" '70s band), Porcupine Tree has since continued to bring progressive rock fully into the present.
The band's twelfth album, "Deadwing," brings a sound that is experimental, playful, majestic and edgy. With themes and figures that still hearken back to the earliest days of art rock, "Deadwing" is also full of modern influences from alt-rock to grunge to hip hop.
More rhythmically varied than most first-generation prog rock outfits, Porcupine Tree's new CD has a fresh edge throughout. Full of fresh ideas and great melodic hooks, "Deadwing" maintains prog rock's willingness to aim big, to create broad, sweeping themes.
Porcupine Tree is an intelligent alternative to both the forced minimalism of alt rock and the shallowness of the latest bubble gum pop.
Review by Jim Trageser. Jim is a writer and editor living in Escondido, Calif., and was a contributor to the "Grove Press Guide to Blues on CD" (1993) and "The Routledge Encyclopedia of the Blues" (2005).