Review Summary: Probably one of my favourites in the Porcupine Tree's solid discography and career, and one of the coolest.0 of 2 thought this review was well written
The first time I listened to Lightbulb Sun, I did it just because of "Hatesong". I watched the "Arriving Somewhere..." DVD and was digging the concert songs, so I heard to all the song in their studio versions, by owning the albums. When I heard the first self-titled track, I thought "What? This song don't have nothing to do with 'Hatensong'". But I kept listening. And suddenly I get the album. It was not just one of those albums where all the songs are just misplaced, those ones which you pick up some nice songs and record it without any sense of criteria.
Something I love in Steven Wilson's albums self-production, something I'm trying to introduce in my own works, is the care with the positioning and lenght in his songs. Something that just destroys many Neo-Progressive bands is the thought that all of the songs have to be extremely lenghty. Ok, I don't have any problems with songs lenght, sure I don't, I even heard to 40-minutes long songs, or even longer. But repeating a riff for 20 minutes straight is not "to be progressive".
Returning for the point. The positioning: Sounds like Wilson makes a Feng Shui in his tracklist, taking care of positioning the songs in order to make them flow better. It's incredible how he makes all the songs float like a feather in your ears.
"Lightbulb Sun" is an Porcupine Tree's regular ballad (but not average). It has a catchy refrain, a great (as usual) guitar solo and lyrics, like always, figurative. How is your life today is a piano ballad, very cool, it's a short song, but I simply loved it. Even the "lalala" on the middle is nice. Four chords that made a Million" is another Porcupine Tree's regular song. It have a heavy rhytm, nice percussion and great bass lines, and a regular refrain, a simple Metal song, in addition of the cool percussion.
"Shesmovedon" is that kind of "to-become-a-single" song. It's a romantic ballad, with great guitar (that distortions in the solo makes me go insane), but the bass lines really caught my attention. If you listen carefully you can hear what I'm talking about. Then, comes the mysterious "Last Chance to Evacuate Planet Earth before it is Recycled" (Long ass name!), the chords are really great, the acoustic guitar solo is very, very remarkable for me, and the keyboards on the instrumental piece makes you travel in the song theme, an obscure 1981 ritual suicide incident during a comet passage. Creeping. Specially in the sampler of the tape recorded before the ritual.
"The rest will Flow" is another nice ballad. Nothing to say, just a regular ballad. "Hatesong"! Oh, "Hatesong". Nice bass lines, great guitar mind***, a spectacular lenghty instrumental and nice drums. Worths a lot the hearing. Where We Would be" is one of my Porcupine Tree's favourite ballads. It's hard to explain how that song freeze my skin in the refrain. Even the instrumental is very good. Spot in the guitar. Very beautiful song. I love it.
But my big highlight goes to the 13 minutes long mind***. One of my favourite Porcupine Tree's epics. The intro is travelling, the lyrics are great (Something about alcohol abuse, I guess), the bass lines in the start of the long instrumental piece is very ***ing nice, the guitar long solo is ridiculously great and the orchestral passage and another weird instruments, like the "berimbal", is very nice. Experimentalism I adore. "Feel So Low" closes the album with the landmark "fading away despair" of the early Porcupine Tree atmospheric albums. Lovely. Worths the buying.