Porcupine Tree
The Incident


3.0
good

Review

by Mike Allen USER (107 Reviews)
January 30th, 2010 | 38 replies | 5,646 views


Release Date: 2009 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Porcupine Tree attempts to continue their trend of outstanding concept albums, but trip over their own feet in the process.

5 of 5 thought this review was well written

“The concept really came about one night when I was driving home. I saw a sign on the highway saying, ‘Police Incident,’ and I suddenly for whatever reason, I still don’t know exactly why, I started to dwell on the word ‘incident.’ It doesn’t actually tell you anything except that something has happened.”
-Steven Wilson

Following the release of the dense and spectacular concept album “Fear of a Blank Planet,” Steven Wilson and crew settled into a sweet spot. The band had virtually done nothing wrong in the past fifteen years or so, consistently delivering outstanding records that demonstrated enough originality to separate one from the other. Falling into the progressive genre, Porcupine Tree is instantaneously thrown in with the likes of Pink Floyd, and Genesis; both of which recorded immensely successful and complex concept albums. Like Rush however, Porcupine Tree had always been about the music. The spacey psychedelic ambience of “The Sky Moves Sideways” was evidence of this, as was the diverse and highly acclaimed effort in “In Absentia.” It has been clear that Porcupine Tree was musically a tremendous group, but was somewhat lacking in the lyrics department. Throughout the band’s career, Wilson had never seemed to grow as a lyricist, so it was evident why critics were skeptical about a Porcupine Tree concept album. And that’s where they were wrong. Both “Deadwing” and especially “Fear of a Blank Planet” were received with a great deal of praise, for the band delivered extravagant musical displays with enough decent lyrics to develop the concept. In 2009, Porcupine Tree released “The Incident” in which stumbled in comparison to its predecessors.

As noted by Steven Wilson, the concept for “The Incident” was created when it was least expected, while he was driving. An incident, as hinted by Wilson is generally referring to a horrific event, involving serious injuries or multiple deaths. Like “Fear of a Blank Planet,” “The Incident” takes shots at the media. Wilson uses the deaths of Michael Jackson and Princess Diana as examples, saying that the media always attempts to gain sympathy from the people, even if they never cared about the person’s career or life before. Taking it one step further, massive disasters such as Hurricane Katrina and the current earthquake in Haiti bring about the same actions by the media, and we feel more compelled to say “that’s horrible” or contribute to relief efforts. “We can’t all be empathizing with every awful thing that happens in the world, otherwise we’ll all be walking around emotional wrecks,” said Wilson in an interview with The Aquarian.

Like The Who’s “Tommy,” “The Incident” is a rather straightforward concept that does not require a great deal of thought to reveal what it means. Essentially the album is a collection of personal experiences, dealing with tragedy and the passage of time. The title track is where the car crash takes place on the record, discussing the shattered metal and glass aftermath as well as the range of emotions felt. “When the world has gone to seed you’re so detached.” Although much or the album is fragmented and constructed of different experiences, Your Unpleasant Family continues along the same lines as The Incident. Your Unpleasant Family is the anger associated with car accidents, “Your unpleasant family smashed up my car. Perfectly uncalled for.” This particular straightforward songwriting is what drags the record down, for it is neither intriguing nor cohesively developed.

Apart from the dreary portions of the record is the undeniable highlight Time Flies. Outlining his life, Wilson presents a track that stands head and shoulders above the rest of the record, and almost every one of the band’s previous tracks. With a simple message to “Take whatever comes to you,” Time Flies is dazzling from the acoustic entrance to the David Gilmour-esque leads. Unfortunately, the only other track on the record that even remotely compares is that of I Drive the Hearse, which is a harrowing and sentimental piece. I Drive the Hearse serves as a tremendous closer to the conceptual side of the record, topped off by a passionate and quite exceptional guitar solo.

“The Incident” is essentially not what it appears to be. An eighteen-track, two-disc record with a concept seems as though it would be ambitious and complex, but is neither of those things. The music is still as high-quality as expected from Porcupine Tree, but ultimately does not make up for the lack-luster songwriting and half-baked concept. “The Incident” is a hangover from “Fear of a Blank Planet” and a sign that the band has become a bit too comfortable with themselves. Time Flies and I Drive the Hearse are outstanding enough to add to the band’s list of exceptional songs, but on the whole the album fails at what it was intended to do.

Recommended Tracks:
The Blind House
Drawing the Line
The Incident
Time Flies
I Drive the Hearse
Remember Me Lover



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user ratings (1332)
Chart.
3.6
great
other reviews of this album
1 of
  • Nick Mongiardo CONTRIBUTOR (3.5)
    The Incident is another solid entry into the Porcupine Tree discography despite some lackl...

    Cragorio (3.5)
    Not the best, not the worst. A very good Porcupine Tree album....

    YoYoMancuso (2)
    "The Incident" is just 76 minutes of ambitious songwriting that feels more like a demo tha...

    Benjamin Bland (4.5)
    A culmination of fifteen years as the world's most relevant progressive rock band....

  • Nosferatwo (2.5)
    For the first time, Porcupine Tree tread water....

    Jorn van Schaïk (3.5)
    Porcupine Tree's new album is extremely competent, emotionally harrowing, but ultimately l...

    Rob Heald (4)
    Extremely talented and absolutely professional, Porcupine Tree releases another strong alb...


Comments:Add a Comment 
EVedder27
January 30th 2010



6088 Comments


This was intended to be another concept review, but then I discovered that there isn't much to it.

Ponton
Emeritus
January 30th 2010



5790 Comments


exceptional read, my thoughts exactly.

Romulus
January 30th 2010



8423 Comments


There are only a handful of reviewers I actually follow (you being one of them) and they are all putting out reviews at such a fast pace that I feel compelled to write something soon.

Review/album are both good, though it looks like I enjoyed it a bit more than you did. Pos'd.

EVedder27
January 30th 2010



6088 Comments


Thank you both.

Greggers
January 30th 2010



2375 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Very nice review, one thing bugs me though:

Apart from the dreary “incident”- related portions of the record is the undeniable highlight Time Flies

This sentence just reads weird to me, dunno what it is

EVedder27
January 30th 2010



6088 Comments


Thanks, I'll look into that. It was a messy sentence, fixed now.

Greggers
January 30th 2010



2375 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yeah thats much better

Gyromania
January 30th 2010



15461 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I Drive The Hearse is the best song they've ever written.

bloc
January 30th 2010



34740 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I'm with mallen, this album brings the zzzzzzzzzz

Digging: Royal Blood - Royal Blood

Gyromania
January 30th 2010



15461 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

No, I think you mean In Absentia

bloc
January 30th 2010



34740 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Still gotta hear that, but for now my opinion remains.

TheSpirit
January 30th 2010



17651 Comments


Every time i see this album on the front page, i keep thinking that it says The Porcupine Incident and i can't help but laugh

Digging: Venus Star - Nigredo Expulsion

Greggers
January 30th 2010



2375 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Can't be as funny as The Potato Incident - http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/wacky/nude-priest-falls-on-potato/story-e6frev20-1111117911401

TheSpirit
January 30th 2010



17651 Comments


hahhahaha

Mordecai.
January 30th 2010



8276 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

average

Mordecai.
January 30th 2010



8276 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

Didn't really like the review either. Doesn't tell me much at all about the music.

EVedder27
January 30th 2010



6088 Comments


"Didn't really like the review either. Doesn't tell me much at all about the music."


I actually appreciate comments like that. You're right I didn't talk enough about the music.

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
January 30th 2010



31058 Comments


Yeah, what Mordecai said. I'm still putting a pos down because it is a great read. But if I hadn't heard this album, I probably wouldn't

Digging: Marcel Dettmann - Fabric 77

GnarlyShillelagh
Staff Reviewer
January 30th 2010



6079 Comments


"Like The Who’s “Tommy,” “The Incident” is a rather straightforward conception that does not require a great deal of thought to reveal what it means."

You mean concept?

And I agree with the others; it didn't discuss the music enough. It was still a good review though.

Digging: Your Old Droog - Your Old Droog

tckslchs
January 31st 2010



120 Comments


“The Incident” is a hangover from “Fear of a Blank Planet” and a sign that the band has become a bit too comfortable with themselves.


I agree with this completely, The Incident is great but it's underwhelming within Porcupine Tree's catalog.



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