Porcupine Tree
The Sky Moves Sideways


4.0
excellent

Review

by Porter W. Richards USER (18 Reviews)
October 29th, 2007 | 275 replies | 21,892 views


Release Date: 1995 | Tracklist

Review Summary: An overly-grandiose melting pot of almost every genre of music known to man that is only burdened by it's dated sound.

8 of 8 thought this review was well written

Even if you’re not a Porcupine Tree fan, you have to admit they have the uncanny ability to consistently change their sound with each album. Most bands ride the wave of one sound into critical and popular acclaim, but not Steven Wilson’s pet project. No, Wilson’s pet project Porcupine Tree is the most quickly changing, ever evolving, and always unexpected band around today. Throughout Porcupine Tree’s lengthy career, each album has brought something new to the table. From the overly experimental and strange ‘On the Sunday of Life’… to their heavy, post-rock influenced masterpiece ‘Fear of a Blank Planet’, each album has changed the gameplan for Britain’s best unknown band.

‘The Sky Moves Sideways’, while being Porcupine Tree’s third release, was a massive step up in quality for Porcupine Tree. Moving past the electronic ‘Up the Downstair’, Porcupine Tree took a Pink Floyd ‘Wish You Were Here’ type approach. Make two massive epics, split them in half, one at the beginning and one at the end. Add highly progressive solos and rhythms, and keep the album flowing by putting some truly excellent tracks in the middle. Honestly, I’m a big fan of ‘epic’ ever-changing songs, so ‘The Sky Moves Sideways’ was a great release for me. I’m also a big Pink Floyd fan, which made ‘The Sky Moves Sideways’ even better. Because, honestly, while it’s good, it sounds a lot like Pink Floyd.

But that’s not much of an issue. At all. ‘The Sky Moves Sideways’ is really, really good. Their best pre-Stupid Dream, easily. From the massive ‘The Sky Moves Sideways Phase I’, Wilson introduces deep atmospheres, Floyd like riffs and electronics, and an overall feel of ‘Floyd’. For about eight minutes, the song really feels like a Floyd imitation, but Wilson quickly introduces some ‘Up the Downstair’ like rhythmic electronics into the mix. Backed by some mushy bass, you really get the feeling as if Wilson poured acid over the bassist’s amp, setting the stage for a nice R&B-like rhythm to back it up. The song quickly speeds back up, still led by ‘Up the Downstair’ electronics as Wilson roars out randomness in the background. Suddenly, all goes silent. Tiny violins come chiming in backing the beautiful atmospherics led by Wilson’s ever-present guitar excellence.

A mix of Pink Floyd like grandiose, rhythmic electronics, experimentalness, and complete epic quietness may seem as if it’s Porcupine Tree’s gameplan, but they’ll quickly prove you wrong. Not only is this is one of the only progressive rock albums I can listen to the whole way through without skipping a track, each track grabs you from the start and doesn’t let you go. Mostly the allure comes from Wilson’s gameplan of not allowing you to predict what’s coming next. Wilson will throw at you some latin rhythms and riffs, video game soundtrack-influenced synth and keyboard tech, and beautifully subdued acoustic grandiose. The album is simply unpredictable and somehow works perfectly. The album seems so mellow and meloncholy, it’s complete bliss.

But not only is the music great, Wilson shows off his more subdued vocals in tracks like ‘Dislocated Day’ and ‘The Moon Touches Your Shoulder’. For the tracks, the standard Porcupine Tree song structure is still in order, just a bit shaken up by longer progressive solos and sections, and shortened verses. The best part is, though, that this isn’t mindless rock. There is some deeply moving, original chorus lines that aren’t cliché in the single most idea of the word. The lyrics are simplistic and easy to understand, but have a deeper structure and meaning to them. “Dislocated day/I will find a way/to make you say/the name of your forgiver.”. The ability to merge such a simplistic yet deep line with such meaningless, monotone-like vocals somehow is pulled off successfully, and even more by the guitar riff that follows the line.

There’s a few issues here, though. Even though Porcupine Tree tries to modernize Pink Floyd, they sound a bit dated on this album. The riffs and solos sound very Roger Waters, and the rhythmic electronics sound very 80s. Wilson’s vocals seem trite and uninspired, and lack the emotion of later classics like Lazarus and Anesthetize. The guitar work, while still excellent, isn’t as polished and refined as it is in, once again, later releases. Sometimes the album gets a bit repetitive, but it still manages to keep you interested. Some of the stuff sounds a bit too much like classic 70s progressive rock, and some of it feels really ripped off. But somehow, Wilson pulled excellence out of nothing. ‘The Sky Moves Sideways’ was an album that was supposed to be bad from the get-go, but wasn’t. It was epic, grandiose, and excellent in it’s own way, just like any other Porcupine Tree album.



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user ratings (695)
Chart.
4.1
excellent
other reviews of this album
Nick Mongiardo CONTRIBUTOR (4.5)
Poetic lyrics and fantastic musicianship galore....


Comments:Add a Comment 
Willie
Moderator
October 29th 2007



15886 Comments


Good review... I've got the last three studio albums and love them... I'm still trying to figure out what pre- In Absentia album would be the best to get next. I think I'm just going to work backwards chronologically.

Digging: Emperor - In The Nightside Eclipse - 20th Year Anniversary

MoonlightBleeding
October 29th 2007



452 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Definitely get Stupid Dream, The Sky Moves Sideways, and Signify. Up the Downstair, Lightbulb Sun, and On the Sunday of Life... are pretty die-hard fanbase favorites, but not really that good.

clairvoyant
October 29th 2007



765 Comments


great review, but your actual album rating is a 5...but the rating for the review is a 4

dont really understand that :P

still gets a pos from me though

Altmer
October 30th 2007



5652 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Review is good.

This is a good album, but it's indeed highly derivative of Pink Floyd (minus some ambient/techno influences.) I think PT came into their own with their later sound really. I agree that PT never sounds the same on one album; I think that here PT was still being a one trick pony, because this is so focused on psychedelia.

Hence I find this harder to listen to than, say, Deadwing. It's still an amazing album and I like it albeit not as much as everything stupid dream and after that (Lightbulb Sun included. That album rules.), but it's not yet a point where PT had found their sound, really. It is interesting to note PT's musical progression.

MoonlightBleeding
October 30th 2007



452 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I fixed my rating.

XSebbyMcMuffinX
October 30th 2007



339 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I recommend Lightbulb Sun for Alt Rock-style PT and either this or Up the Downstair for the more psychedelic PT. Signify is somewhere in between.
Why do I get the impression a good amount of people don't like Lightbulb Sun? I think that one's a classic and I never really got that into Stupid Dream...
Get any Porcupine Tree album, really. Each one has some significant difference in feel.

MoonlightBleeding
October 30th 2007



452 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I'm just not big on Lightbulb Sun.

LostViking
January 1st 2008



79 Comments


The version of "Moonloop" on this album is my all-time favorite PT song

Yazz_Flute
February 12th 2008



18764 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This is impressive. I think I need to listen to it more to get it's full effect, but wow.This Message Edited On 02.12.08

Digging: Cormorant - Dwellings

McP3000
February 12th 2008



3941 Comments


i cant wait until i get this in the mail in a few days

Yazz_Flute
February 13th 2008



18764 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Dislocated Day is really, really good. I didn't think that anything on this would be able to match the title track(s) but the middle tracks really are of high quality.

I don't like the second disk as much, (I got the deluxe two disc digipak) but the original first disc is amazing, this will possibly be a 4.5.



Sound
April 15th 2008



3887 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

The second disc is definitely a bonus. The 34-minute alt. version of the title track(s) and Stars Die are amazing.

Altmer
April 15th 2008



5652 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

I listen to that far less than the first CD... the vocal part of the title track blows me away and The Moon Touches Your Shoulder is like Welcome to the Machine all over again. I am always reminded of Wish You Were Here with this album. Given that that is my top album of all time it is a small wonder I am so much into this (or PT for that matter.)

Sound
April 15th 2008



3887 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yeah the main album rules. Actually in a way that makes me crave more (of the same), so the alternate version (although I save that one up for last on the bonus disc), Stars Die and the Moonloop-instrumentals are more than welcome.

Sound
April 15th 2008



3887 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Btw the sound quality on this and Up the Downstair is supreme, not to mention Gavin Harrison's new recorded drum parts ; Candy for the ear...

Rocksta71
April 15th 2008



1023 Comments


kool

blueshift
February 22nd 2009



4 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

good review..but this album deserves a high five!its a classic.

jingledeath
September 25th 2009



7104 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Definitely should have checked this out a lot earlier. Fantastic album.

qwe3
September 25th 2009



21353 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

porc tree's best album

jingledeath
September 25th 2009



7104 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

that spot's already been taken by Deadwing for me



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