Monday, September 12, 2011

#41: Porcupine Tree - Stupid Dream

Release Year: 1999

Most people I talk to have never heard of Porcupine Tree.  And that's quite unfortunate, because they're an amazing band.  Steven Wilson is one of the geniuses of modern music, and one of the rare musicians with an appreciation of the more artistic aspects of music.  Each Porcupine Tree album is truly an album, with songs that belong only on that album.  Wilson has been known to exclude great tracks simply because they do not fit the motif he is shooting for.

Stupid Dream is the first Porcupine Tree album after they left behind their psychedelic phase, and the songs take a more conventional structure than any of their previous work.  Here you have music that has tight melodies, and a relatively limited amount of instrumental stretches.  It still manages to maintain a little bit of its psychedelic influence, however, with some very tight bass grooves in songs like "Slave Called Shiver" and "Don't Hate Me."

I'll just let Mr. Wilson explain what I just wrote:
The main source of the shift in sound came from a natural move into the realms of songwriting and away from the more abstract instrumentally based material of previous albums. I was particularly under the spell of Brian Wilson, but also listening to artists like Jeff Buckley, Soundgarden and (the incredibly over rated but still rather good) Radiohead. Also for the first time the album was recorded in one extended period (rather than sporadically as with previous albums) in a remote residential studio in Wales, where the band were able to experiment and collaborate on a cohesive sound for the album. Consequently the album contains our most vertically complex music, as opposed to horizontally complex (whereby the tracks comprise simple sections, but many of them strung together). Here the songs are relatively tightly structured but much more layered than anything we had attempted before.
Do yourself a favor and check out this band, and this album is probably a good one to start with.

Standout tracks:
  • Even Less
  • Slave Called Shiver
  • Don't Hate Me
  • Pure Narcotic 

1 comment:

  1. You didn't include "Piano Lessons." Its actually perhaps one of my favorites of theirs.