Review Summary: Lightbulb Sun follows in Stupid Dream's accessible footsteps, but in a more experimental fashion.
Lightbulb Sun marks the solid continuation of Stupid Dream’s sound remaining very poppy and very accessible. While it may not be anywhere near as consistent as Stupid Dream, the album has its fair share of gems that make up for the album’s shortcomings. Unfortunately, the middle section of the album is extremely boring and it leaves much more to be desired considering the sheer potential of other songs on the record. Despite the blatantly mundane nature of some of the tracks on Lightbulb Sun, it is still another solid entry into the Porcupine Tree discography that will surely impress lovers of the Stupid Dream sound.
The inconsistencies of the record are crammed into the first half of the album. Thankfully, the album starts off great with Wilson’s brilliantly unusual lyrics and some fantastic guitar work in the title track. Sadly, the album drips in quality after the title track when we come to How Is Your Life Today? How Is Your Life Today is nothing more than a painfully dull piano driven track about a break up. The entire album may be about break ups, but some of the more masterful tracks on here handle the content better than this track. After How Is Your Life Today we come to Four Chords That Made a Million. Wilson repeats the title line over and over again and it is a love or hate song because it is catchy, but some could find the line being repeated extremely tiresome after a while. Thankfully, the quality begins to increase once we get to shesmovedon. It is far from the best track on the album because the first half is quite plain, but the second half redeems the entire song with an incredible guitar solo outro.
The rest of the album is smooth sailing from here on out. Last Chance to Evacuate Planet Earth before It Is Recycled is the most intriguing song on the album because it features two songs in one. The first part is Wilson recalling a childhood memory of a girl that he once cared about and then it changes into something drastically different. A man begins to preach about how planet earth is dying because of our consumerism and how we have one chance to leave before it is too late. It’s strange how the band chose to not spilt these parts up into two songs because they are totally different, but it surprisingly works seamlessly either way. After this track we begin the get into the more masterful songs on the album beginning with The Rest Will Flow.
The Rest Will Flow is an infectiously catchy song with beautiful instrumentals that have an amazing radio friendly appeal. After The Rest Will Flow the album begins the get more experimental and progressive with Hatesong. The song is without a doubt one of the most memorable songs on the album due to its memorable guitar work scattered throughout the entire song. The band’s musicianship really shines on this song and the musicianship only gets better as we come to the best three songs on the album.
Where We Would Be is one of the most beautiful songs on the album boasting its incredible soaring acoustic guitar riff. To top it all off Wilson delivers the most relatable lyrics on the album and an extremely experimental guitar solo near the end that really gives you goose bumps. The album also ends on a beautiful note and melancholy note with Feel So Low. However, the real masterpiece of the album and one of the best songs Porcupine Tree has released in the past fourteen years is Russia on Ice.
It is in this song that the Pink Floyd influence of the band is extremely evident. The first half of the song is incredibly psychedelic with a simple yet complex riff, fantastic bass, and an epic drumming performance from Chris Maitland. The song then changes into something much heavier and it is the first evidence of the band changing into a more progressive metal direction. Clocking in at thirteen minutes, the song is a masterpiece all the way through. Your mouth will drop to the floor and you will be stunned.
The album may be inconsistent, but the amazing songs make up for the lackluster nature of some of the lesser songs. Anyone who enjoyed Stupid Dream will surely love LightBulb Sun. The album has many moments of genuine heartfelt emotion that is also relatable. Be rest assured the album starts strong and ends strong so definitely do not pass this up.