Sound — 10
First impression based on listening to Porcupine Tree's new studio project The Incident: wow. The album is structured around Steven Wilson's creation of a 'song cycle' of a magnitude that he has not attempted before. The title track 'The Incident' has a running time of just over 55 minutes, and it holds the listeners attention for just as long. Along with this comes a second disc featuring 4 tracks that Wilson felt did not fit with the theme of The Incident. The style is no doubt a return on Porcupine Tree's previous works, seeming to be almost a mixture of the last 3 albums with the darker elements of Fear of a Blank Planet (The Blind House, The Incident) and the lighter touches of In Absentia (Kneel and Disconnect, Remember Me Lover) with the heavy grandeur of Deadwing (Circle of Manias, Time Flies). Wilson seems adamant to give each song its own individual feel (with the exception of Occam's Razor and Degree Zero Of Liberty). The sound is often reminiscent of the Signify days, but the whole of The Incident is like an indulgent spin on what Anesthetize (from Fear Of A Blank Planet) could have been. With elements of the art/prog rock that Porcupine Tree are known for, with the recent metal touches from Fear Of A Blank Planet, and a twist of industrial influences that call on Steven Wilson's recent solo effort Insurgentes, The Incident is a magnificent escape into Wilson's world, and once again, it ticks all the points of what makes a good album.
Lyrics — 10
'I wrote about the evacuation of teenage girls from a religious cult in Texas, a family terrorizing its neighbors, a body found floating in a river by some people on a fishing trip, and more. Each song is written in the first person and tries to humanize the detached media reportage,' says Wilson. As can be seen in the limited edition boxset (which includes an amazing 116 page hardcover clothbound book featuring photography by always dependable collaborator Lasse Hoile, a 48 page collection of drawings by German artist Hajo Mueller) the photographs and the lyrics seem to reflect these situations and although generally speaking, his lyrics are quite often complex and obscure, the said stories can be extracted. Steven Wilson's vocals are once again close to flawless; his distinctive tone and delivery sharp and clear in the mix. There are less vocal effects on this album, which give it a slightly more personal tone. Wilson has one of the most soothing and powerful voices in the industry today. Some favourite lyrics include: 'Kneel and disconnect and waste another year Fill the application, start a new career' - Kneel And Disconnect 'Driving by on my way to somewhere else I fill my lungs with a noxious burning smell There is weed and grey concrete like this for miles Dead souls in my rear view mirror hitch a ride for a while' - The Incident 'You see there's something wrong here I'm sorry if I'm not clear Can you stop smoking your cigar?' - Time Flies 'Under gas light, the joining of hands Chanting a name over and over The table tilts, the circle is broken Doubting no more They pay what they owe her' - The Seance 'And silence is another way of saying what I wanna say And lying is another way of hoping it will go away' - I Drive The Hearse 'There are three things that I would die for But I am sure you're not one of them' - Bonnie The Cat 'I didn't wanna feel like a slave to your mood swings And I'm not saying anything I wouldn't say behind your back' - Remember Me Lover
Overall Impression — 10
Most albums, I would never give 10 from 10, but this is definitely an exception. A voice inside me tells me that getting the limited edition box set has had quite an influence on how much I enjoy listening to the album, although to be honest, I don't think it has to a large extent. In comparison with other albums from Porcupine Tree's back catalogue, I have to say it stands a fair chance of being the best of the lot, and that is definitely saying something. The most impressive songs from the album to me are The Blind House, Kneel And Disconnect, Drawing The Line, The Incident, Time Flies, Circle of Manias, I Drive The Hearse, Bonnie The Cat, Black Dahlia and Remember Me Lover. And I love all of the ones I didn't mention as well. This is one of the best albums I have heard in a long long time. If it got stolen, you have no idea how pissed I would be. No idea. Bravo Porcupine Tree, you've done it again.