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coverpic flag England - Full Moon 31 - 04/30/99
 
Porcupine Tree
Stupid Dream
KScope

The kings of melancholy and depression are back with a new album. It's been a while since their last studio album was released (In 1996), and in the meantime they've released a live album and changed record labels. Songwriter/guitarist/vocalist Steven Wilson has also kept busy with his countless side-projects - writing and recording with Fish, among other things. But finally Porcupine Tree have released a new CD, Stupid Dream.

For long-time fans of "the Tree", this new disc might seem a bit too straight-forward at first. There aren't as many of those long ambient passages as on previous albums, and I dare say some of the songs are even - gasp! - radio-friendly! Piano Lessons, which has been released as a single, comes to mind, with it's catchy piano opening. And Don't Hate Me sounds quite beautiful, and might have had MTV-potential, but it's over eight minutes long.

They haven't sold out or anything, rest assured. There's some really left-of-field stuff on Stupid Dream also. This is No Rehearsal goes from acoustic pop to hard rock and back just like that! The opening track, Even Less, mutates into a slow one- chord riff - providing long-haired fans with an excuse for headbanging.

One thing that makes Stupid Dream a great album, besides the brilliant songwriting of Steven Wilson, is the interplay between bass player Colin Edwin and drummer Chris Maitland. Check out Slave Called Shiver and This is No Rehearsal for good examples of the Porcupine Tree groove. Keyboardist Richard Barbieri is also in fine form, although he isn't as prominent on this CD as the other bandmembers, unfortunately.

All in all, Stupid Dream shows that Porcupine Tree is still to be reckoned with in that obscure field of progressive rock. Perhaps more than anything it shows off the songwriting abilities of Steven Wilson, ranging from beautiful acoustic ballads to hard rock.

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