Porcupine Tree
Lightbulb Sun


4.5
superb

Review

by mark sammut USER (37 Reviews)
April 7th, 2012 | 35 replies | 2,090 views


Release Date: 2000 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Often Overlooked Masterpiece

Steven Wilson is nothing if not prolific. I doubt there is even a second that goes by when he is not working on, or at least contemplating about, a certain project or another. If not working on an album for pop rock band Blackfield, he would be touring with Porcupine tree or producing an album for Opeth. From all the countless projects and bands his worked with or fronted, his greatest success has to be the progressive rock juggernauts that are Porcupine Tree. Steven Wilson formed them in 1987 and since then they have released 10 studio albums.

Porcupine Tree is not a static band. Development and change is always imminent, and influences vary from trance to psychedelic (Wilson has stated that Dark Side of the Moon is a big influence).

Lightbulb Sun was released in May 2000, and is one of the band’s lesser known albums although still highly acclaimed. Following the musical style of the previous album, Stupid Dream, the band’s sixth album is a step towards a more commercial and mainstream album. Although not as ambient or experimental than previous albums like Sky Moves Sideways or Signify, Lightbulb Sun is a varied album, and overall a much more enjoyable experience.

The title track opens the album and it’s a brilliant hard rock song, although it deceives the listener at first with a soft piano and acoustic guitar intro as Wilson starts to sing about a childhood sickness, but at the 50 second mark a heavy distorted guitar comes in and the song picks up pace. The verses, from this point, are sung to a an melodic rock beat and the chorus to a much harder hard rock composition. ‘Lightbulb Sun’ represents exactly why Porcupine Tree are so loved, the unexpected turns, the constant change of tempo and the melodic but intelligent lyrics.

Like previously mentioned this is a varied album. ‘How is Your Life Today?’ is a short, and quite weird, piano number. It’s a creepy number with Wilson giving a multilayered vocal performance that should enchant the listener. ‘The Rest Will Flow’ and ‘Four Chords that made a Million’ are both more commercial and accessible numbers, but for difference reasons. The latter is a mid-tempo rocker, with heavy use of a distorted guitar and cynical lyrics, while the former is an insanely beautiful and uplifting acoustic track.

‘Shesmovedon’ is a track that pretty much any Porcupine Tree fan at least likes, released in two different incarnations, this version is quite soft at times and popish. The chorus is a masterpiece in its own right and the solo is one of the best the band has ever written. ‘Feel So Low’ is a beautiful and barren closer on the album. It’s practically Wilson singing to a soft acoustic guitar and an occasional piano, and the lyrics are a bit cheesy, but it’s still a haunting number.

‘Russia on Ice’ is the best song on the album. This is the closest song to the previous albums, with the atmospheric and ambient intro before a soft guitar riff comes in which builds and builds until it gives way to a heavy banging riff. This doesn’t last though and the track quickly calms down again for the verses. The lyrics are not brilliant to be honest, but their decent, although the chorus is very good. The highlight of the track has to be the final couple of minutes which consists of one huge solo which covers so many different styles including blues, metal and psychedelic.

Lightbulb Sun would be the best album of 99% of the bands that ever existed, the fact that it would probably miss out of the top 3 Porcupine Tree albums just shows how good they really are.



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user ratings (1184)
Chart.
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excellent
other reviews of this album
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Comments:Add a Comment 
Voivod
Staff Reviewer
April 7th 2012



5921 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

My first contact with Porcupine Tree and an awesome album.

Digging: Essence Beyond - Carnivalism

OneMoreRoland
April 7th 2012



1050 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

fuck yeah. Last chance is golddddddddddddddddddddd

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
April 7th 2012



5921 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Chris Meitland is one hell of a drummer on this one.





Russia On Ice.-

fuckthatnoise
April 7th 2012



1479 Comments


one of the best things Wilson's ever done.

Jethro42
April 7th 2012



12377 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

agreed
agreed
agreed

Firestarter
April 7th 2012



276 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Love Russia on Ice. One of their best songs.

insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
April 7th 2012



3336 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Shesmovedon is gold.

Digging: Anberlin - Lowborn

tarkus
April 7th 2012



5560 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

shesmovedon is best

Jethro42
April 7th 2012



12377 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

More like Hatesong.

johnnydeking29
April 7th 2012



9001 Comments


Great band, but this, the Incident and OTSOL are the only albums of theirs that I don't have

Digging: Naked City - Radio

tarkus
April 7th 2012



5560 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

OTSOL is underrated hard here

i think its pretty good

insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
April 7th 2012



3336 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

It's good but compared with the later works is lacking. The Incident is one of their best as a whole IMO, even if everyone will disagree.

tarkus
April 7th 2012



5560 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

i dig psych pt over new pt by a big margin tho

and time flies rules hard

insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
April 7th 2012



3336 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I listened to Signify a lot lately. I've got Sever stuck in my head for a long time now. That chorus is amazing. Still, there are more great tracks on the album.

I love Time Flies, but I Drive The Hearse, Bonnie The Cat and Remember Me Lover are so good, too.

FearThyEvil
April 7th 2012



12286 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This album is just beautiful to me. Some of the songs are just an amazing trance.

tarkus
April 7th 2012



5560 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

but some songs are horrible, like how is your life today

johnnydeking29
April 7th 2012



9001 Comments


Signify is a great album, but Sever is one of my least faves, it's all about Dark Matter and Sleep of No Dreaming

tarkus
April 7th 2012



5560 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

sever rules
dark matter and sleep rule as well as waiting phase one

Jethro42
April 7th 2012



12377 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Sever is one of my fave PT songs
Waiting Phase One is still better on the live Moonloop.

johnnydeking29
April 7th 2012



9001 Comments


Will have to check out live Moonloop then.
Is this album just Stupid Dream MKII, or are there any significant differences?



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