There are albums that suit certain times of year, and indeed, I can’t imagine summer without Porcupine Tree’s Lightbulb Sun. That lovely album, written before the most successful creations of group, but already less psychedelic-experimental, is like made especially for bicycle travels in late afternoons. So get your bike out of the cellar and put on your sunglasses! We’ve got to cycle before September fades into cloudy, red October.
Lightbulb Sun opened the world for Porcupine Tree, rising some attention and encouraging them to make slightly simpler music. It may not astonish with originality, but it perfectly manages to refresh some old methods and give a look on how Pink Floyd could look like if they continued their line till today.
The sun is a light bulb (Lightbulb Sun) and every illness must pass cured by such optimistic music and lyrics:
My head beats a better way
Tomorrow a better day
When I'm asleep the smoke fills me
I feel the heat
My illness leaves me
The song is based on very simple guitar-piano combo and seemingly not much happens – slightly more intensive chorus, yet the thrilling happiness shines through the bulb and make you cycle a bit faster:)
But as a true progman Steven can’t keep up to one feeling, moreover, as your condition isn’t really good yet, legs ache as you roll up. How Is Your Life Today? is a little sad piano waltz talking about abandoned man. Peculiar singing makes me think of great Ô Paradis lyric “Estoy extinguido o simplemente lejos de ti” – yes, Steven seems a bit extended while missing someone.
Four Chords That Made A Million is a reflection over music market. And it is somehow very catchy pop-rock with screaming Stevie and typical for popular music bridge. Whoa, stop cycling so fast! You’re gonna get yourself under one of those huge trucks!
Back to melancholic love relations Shesmovedon makes one of my favourite songs ever – simple but enchanting guitar line in verses, constant rhythm, good lyric and an amazing vocal performance from Steven and backing Chris Maitland that together remind a bit unforgettable Rick Wright (don’t kill me PF and PT fans, I really think so, and that’s a compliment!) Oh, and long, impressive guitar solo! My bike always stops in amazement. Check if yours does.
Last Chance To Evacuate Planet Earth Before It Is Recycled is a two parted composition with lots of instrumental news. The first part – Winding Shot (Summer 1981) is a bit bluesy with its acoustic guitar and banjo mix (fretless bass as well! love you Colin!). It’s also a dreamy love song when it comes to lyrics. But the harp’s part symbolizes break between songs and the second part titled as the song itself. Now it’s a Pink Floyd - straight from times like Echoes or Atom Heart Mother - jamming with again splendid bass, mellotron and electric pianos. Plus speak on the proper topic. Massive.
The Rest Will Flow – and you got through hardest part of road, now it’s a pure pleasure. Lovely, light tune with acoustic, vibrating guitar and Hammond Organ.
Then out of darkness I found I could still feel
Out of the woods
Good times started for you, again!
Hatesong is second longest composition on the album with a really ironic lyric:
This is a hate song just meant for you
I thought that I'd write it down while I still could
I hope when you hear this you'll want to sue
but quite a cheerful sound. Let me just say it. That BASS. If you meet a person who can’t hear basses in good songs, tie them to a chair and make them listen. Simple, repetitive riff adds a whole new spicy atmosphere to the song. As Mr Barbieri plays with synthesizers and its percussion, Steven takes over mellotron and plays with guitars (around 4th minute I always watch around cause it seems like Formula 1 is trying to take over my bike...) And that long, progressive, pulsating instrumental outro... yummy!
Where We Would Be is a dreamy reflection over the past and what didn’t happen. Nice lyrics, lovely acoustic atmosphere and fuzzy chorus. Hm, don’t you love the wind blowing your hair as you cycle?
Then comes Russia On Ice or a 13-minuted masterpiece. Perfect group work, and atmosphere that has hardly any resemblances. From delicate piano intro, through rising, low, bass-concentrated first part to dreamy yet strong chorus and guitars that would really well suit Mr Gilmour. Wonderfully sang and beautiful themselves lyrics, The Minerva (string) Quartet and additional violins and cellos... Hammond, Rhodes and Insects (!) and Colin’s show on guimbri in the middle of psychedelic instrumental part two... Even Chris Maitland shows off a bit more of his drum skills, though it doesn’t reach the level of some Gavin’s tricks.
Damn it! In all that emotion bike got lost somewhere. It’s getting dark, so we shall get home, even on foot. That makes us Feel So Low. Saddish, almost suicidal song despite calm voice tone. Cello mixes with Hammond and acoustic guitar. Yes, longing doesn’t pass for eternity, we’ll gonna miss again. And lucky, who never felt like:
So see how long I can last
You can pretend that I don't exist for you
And I can laugh about it now
But I hated every minute
I was waiting for your email
And each day that you forgot to call
Just made me feel so low
Above all... This disc makes the most cloudy summer shine and puts a blanket on every heart:) for collectors: go for reissue from kscope, it’s one of the best mediabooks I’ve had in my hands + all lyrics, also on 5.1 disc, great bonus songs and lots of beautiful photos. Enjoy!