Porcupine Tree – Fear of a Blank Planet (2007)

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It might be easy to go on and on about the themes of isolation that waft through Blank Planet‘s lyrics, but for me, it’s all about one thing: the music.

Honestly, sometimes the lyrics are a little pedestrian and it’s not like this isn’t a topic that hasn’t been covered a million times before. They’re simply excuses for Steven Wilson to lay down some of those gorgeous harmony choruses.

But back to the music: Wilson cranks things up a bit here, and, as I said above, he seemingly has split off the pop-side of the band to Blackfield, so Porcupine Tree can focus on the darker, heavier, grittier, and weirder stuff. And we get it all — “Anesthetize” expands to nearly 18 minutes in basically two movements and features some of the heaviest, fastest playing the band has ever done, and then is followed by one of the prettiest songs they’ve ever done, “Sentimental” (which features the memorable riff from In Absentia’s “Trains.”)

The album is nothing if not an intense song-cycle of despair.

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