Reviewed by Others on 08 Jan 2002
- - Review/Comments by Uwe - -
After their very successfull album (in terms of sales) Stupid Dream, PT returned after a really short
break with their album Lightbulb Sun. So it isn't a big surprise that the new album continues, where the
predecessor ended. But for me Lightbulb Sun is more balanced, as PT tried to bring back some of the
experimental aspects that had been lost to some degree on Stupid Dream.
The whole album contains very personal lyrics from Steven Wilson, e.g. about broken relationships
(How Is Your Life Today?, Shesmovedon, Russia On Ice and Feel So Low) and also, as a
continuation to Stupid Dream, some songs about the music business in general
(Four Chords That Made A Million, Hatesong).
The highlights of the album are Russia On Ice (great floydian intro and metal like ending), Shesmovedon
(great chorus, superb wah-wah guitar solo), Hatesong, Last Chance To Evacuate Planet Earth Before It Is
Recycled and Feel So Low (very depressive and emotional).
Lightbulb Sun is one of my all time favorite album and with Russia On Ice it contains IMHO one of the best rock song ever written. The only track that I didn't like is Four Chords That Made A Million.
There is also a special package of the CD available: The German Tour Edition.
Beside the different artwork (blue background instead of orange) there is an additional CD inside.
The added value isn't that much, as nearly all material is available on other PT releases:
Buying New Soul (edit) is on the album Recordings (as a much better full version!), Pure Narcotic is on Stupid Dream and the live version of Tinto Brass can be found on the CD single Pure Narcotic. Also on the bonus disc is a multimedia track, a video
of the Stupid Dream single Piano Lessons which can also be found on the CD Single Stranger By The Minute. Anyway, fellow travellers of the Voyage PT will probably have both versions...
Reviewed by Nuno on 05 Apr 2002
One truth lays behind each and every release by Steven Wilson’s Porcupine Tree: This guys just don’t know how to make bad albums. I have reached the point where I look forward for the next PT release for I know it will be a strong contestant to that years top 10.
With Lightbulb Sun it is no different. Every time I listen to it I like it more than the previous listen. They are able to mix Space and Ambient soundscapes with Alternative and Progressive Rock like no other band I know (except maybe for Landberk). All compositions are strong and diverse but always catchy and capable of transporting the listener to a state of mystical nirvana.
To listen this album with headphones on in the dark is like being totally involved in its meadows and corners, somewhere between this earth and a misty and delightful dimension.
Except for the less accomplished Four chords that made a million, this album is really a fantastic trip through several states of musical nirvana that are opened with each song.
Lightbulb Sun starts with an acoustic guitar, with piano and Wilson’s enthralling voice till it evolves into a distorted alternative state. The constant changes between distortion, acoustic and catchy lines go throughout all song.
How is your life today is introspective and almost Beatles alike when it starts. The piano sets all the basing lines upon which the vocals seem to land from another planet. The chorus and the Dulcimer kind of haunt the music, complementing its eerie overall sound. Pure Delicatessen!
Shesmovedon again show us how skilled and diverse can this band be. It almost works like a fusion of the different ingredients that consisted in song 1 and 2. Is it possible not to like this?
Last chance to evacuate planet Earth before it is recycled is divided in two parts. The first part is acoustic, almost a love ballad (but not quite so). The second is a great instrumental complemented by some famous phrases from the cult Marshall of Heaven’s Gate (Note from the reviewer: this is to remind us on how religious fanaticism can drive mindless and/or fragile people to commit mass suicide and simply waste lives in the name of what some lunatics are able to make them believe).
The rest will flow its a hope song. The necessary counterpoint to the previous song. I don’t know if this song was put here on purpose, but its message is quite simple: better believe in yourself even when you feel ”sinking in still water” than expect from, and believe in, others. The music is simpler but still effective and tremendously catchy.
Though its ratter shallow lyrics, Hatesong is, again, very well constructed (musically speaking). It is obvious the band knows exactly how to seed the instruments to harvest the best of effects. This is progressive music with a strong alternative “accent”. Nevertheless, it undoubtedly speaks the language I long to hear…excellency in music! It is complex, mood changing and played with character, emotion and power.
Where we would be is the returning of an introspective mood so common in Porcupine Tree previous (and hopefully future) works. It’s an enjoyable song without being one of the high points in this album. I would emphasize the powerful and high tone guitar solo that blossoms in the middle of the song.
The longest track in the album is Russia on Ice. The fact that it has more than 13 minutes is a very positive thing, for it prolongs our pleasure while listening to it. This is clearly one of the best tracks in the album. The dark and claustrophobic musicality is complemented by the grieving and distant vocals of Wilson. The chorus is almost Pink Floydish yet very distinctive. The various instruments are, once more, perfectly placed. It’s almost like a chess game, where the pieces (instruments) are placed with intelligence on the board and each of them gracefully plays its role with accuracy and cared thinking. I can easily understand my fellow prognosticator’s fascination for this song.
Feel so low closes the album in calmness. Though the pessimistic lyrics (with it’s disappointing story), the music really seems to shine. Eerie, almost ghostly passing by, but a real pleasure for all the senses.
The bonus CD works like a shop window for other porcupine Tree albums and also gives a small glimpse on the bands ability on stage (Tinto Brass). The video is the real bonus here!.
I think no summing is needed here. One simple and direct word: Obligatory!