Wednesday, October 6, 2010
Porcupine Tree - The Incident (2009)
A brilliant concept marvelously executed in an epic-length song cycle. Not all the lyrical content is rock-solid, and not every song is a winner, but overall a great disc.
Let me start by pointing out that I absolutely love the concept for this album. Face and main creative voice of the band Steven Wilson looked at and explored news reports of different "incidents" the world over, such as the FLDS incident in Texas of 2008, a car crash near his area, and other similar stories, and tried to put a human face back on the detached reporting. It works well on a great deal of the song cycle, and comes with a sense of the dark side of humanity and what it can do.
This is very much a Porcupine Tree album - there aren't a ton of surprises or twists here when compared to the band's extensive catalog. However, with the exception of the few tracks before Time Flies, it's a solid and consistent entry with enjoyable riffs, richly layered arrangements, and a lovely dynamic between heavier and softer sides of the band's music. Time Flies, in many way the centerpiece of the album and more important than the title track, is definitely the best track of the album.
As per usual, Wilson does tend to have a wonky grasp on what constitutes a good lyric from time to time, and certain lines may have you scratching your head at how forced or odd they sound next to the lines he delivers which work. This is pretty much typical of every Porcupine Tree album, so no surprise for seasoned fans, but newcomers may get a laugh or two. Also, certain segments just feel repetitive -- they seem to go on far longer than they need to in order to make their musical point. But these moments are few and far between.
Let it be noted that I'm only reviewing the first disc of The Incident, as it tells a complete emotional and lyrical story all its own and lasts more than long enough to be satisfying. This album is a classic and I'll still be listening to it years from now, every now and then.
Pros: Brilliant concept, great execution, awesome grooves, epic scale
Cons: Weak lyrics at points, certain songs feel weak, repetition issues
Standout Track: Time Flies