The Incident: A Review

In my impatient wait for this album to come, it was hard to imagine what this album would end up sounding like. In every album they’ve released in the new millenium, they’ve always made a progression in style, while maintaining a signature sound. The same holds true for The Incident, their tenth album. The album is separated into two discs; the first containing the 55-minute song cycle titled “The Incident”, and the second containing four other tracks different from the song cycle’s concept. While the long song cycle isn’t necessarily new for them (see: The Sky Moves Sideways, Voyage 34 EP), this one maintains the accessibility of their previous efforts.

Jumping into the song cycle, you immediately are blasted with a short riff, and then a short acoustic passage. This sets the tone for the cycle, as the album travels through many accented highs and lows. Both of these to the band’s strengths; Steven Wilson’s voice can be soft enough to beautifully harmonize with a light guitar passage, while Gavin Harrison’s eccentric drumming can power through the loudest of sections. The cycle also maintains a beautiful and powerful, yet dark concept of life and death. Meanwhile, Steven Wilson continues his exploration into different sounds that he expanded into with his solo album, Insurgentes, something easily seen on songs such as “The Incident” and “Bonnie the Cat”. “Time Flies”, the first single of the album, might just become a new classic, merging an optimistic tone with, in the end, a somewhat depressing message, and a concept everyone can relate to.

There are a few things missing though. The writing of the song cycle isn’t as cryptic as past albums. While this isn’t a total drawback, it has always been fun to try to decipher the ideas behind the music. The extra songs aren’t nearly as well written as the cycle though. While “Remember Me Lover” is a fun track, the writing behind it may be some of Wilson’s least inspired.

In closing, this album is a solid release, and while there is some disparity among fans, it will eventually be recognized as yet another strong album in Porcupine Tree’s already strong collection. It stands out as one of the most enjoyable releases of this strong year in music.

Final verdict: 9.5/10

Track listing:
Disc 1: The Incident (Song cycle)
1. Occam’s Razor
2. The Blind House
3. Great Expectations
4. Kneel and Disconnect
5. Drawing the Line
6. The Incident
7. Your Unpleasant Family
8. The Yellow Windows of the Evening Train
9. Time Flies
10. Degree Zero of Liberty
11. Octane Twisted
12. The Séance
13. Circle of Manias
14. I Drive the Hearse

Disc 2
1. Flicker
2. Bonnie the Cat
3. Black Dahlia
4. Remember Me Lover

~ by The Slurpee Man on October 24, 2009.

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