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If only it were importable in iTunes...
on 11 September 2011
When I first received this album I was filled with expectation.
I had only recently discovered Porcupine Tree because of having to cover "Blackest Eyes" from the In Absentia album for a little gig and loved it straight away. It was the perfect blend of alternative and pop with a dash of prog for good measure, more importantly: it was original! I was blown away. So I got In Absentia and was very surprised to discover the range of styles that the band were able to play and blend and mold into their sound. I wouldn't even dare do this band the disservice of classifying them into a particular genre or another, not after listening to the whole album. For one thing it would be unkind and for another I wouldn't know where to start. So it was through perseverance and dedicated listening I became a fan. An acquired taste to be sure.
Imagine my anticipation as I waited for Deadwing to arrive! When I finally got my hands on it I made sure to wait until a day when I would have enough time to give it my full attention. I pop it into my hifi and wow! "Deadwing", the opening track, is a near-ten-minute intro that catapults you into another world. It is full of effects, elements of electronic music, elements of trance, of ambiance, of metal, of progressive rock, of alternative pop and seemingly everything in between. But more importantly you immediately get an idea of the mood for the entire album. You get a sense that it is other-worldly, a little frightening, a little mysterious and because of that, quite beautiful and dangerous. It's easy to get carried away. And if that doesn't draw you in then the technical prowess of the musicianship should. And while Wilson's voice is not exactly out of this world, he also has a style that I've grown to quite like. I won't get bored of this track for a long long time. Next is "Shallow". If you're a guitarist like me, then you will love this track. Holy guitar riffs Batman! This is head-banging material if I ever heard it, possibly my favorite on the album. Then comes the mellower "Lazarus" with its beautiful understated intro and piano line that builds up tastefully into something sweet and peaceful that only the afterlife could evoke.
After these first few songs I have to run to the office but I take the album with me thinking of listening to the rest of it while I work. I pop it into my PC and... nothing. iTunes doesn't cooperate. At first it doesn't even acknowledge that there's a music CD in the driver. After much persistence I force it and it manages to import the first song. Badly. It's full of crackle and white noise.
So to conclude: if you don't mind not being able to listen to this album on your computer or iPod then go ahead and get it, it's fabulous. Otherwise, don't. This is the ONLY reason I'm giving it 3 stars and not 5. I cannot express how disappointed I am by the fact that it is not copy friendly. I can listen to it at home at least but I will do my bit and hope that this review will serve as a warning to others. Lord knows I wish I had been told.