Porcupine Tree — Fear of a Blank Planet
(Atlantic 2-115900, 2007, CD)
by Henry Schneider, Published 2008-01-01
Not known for uplifting and cheerful music, Porcupine Tree has delivered another dose of downer prog rock. The theme of Fear of a Blank Planet is adolescent angst and the large number of drugged out children who have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder. The CD artwork and the video for the title track show young teens blindly staring into the distance and popping pills. The album opens with “Fear of a Blank Planet,” a metal prog number, which has a sterile numbing quality, probably not the best choice to open a CD. Then things improve with the standout songs “My Ashes,” “Anesthetize,” “Sentimental,” and “Sleep Together,” music we have come to expect from Porcupine Tree. In addition to their usual high quality and melodic releases they are joined this time by Rush’s guitarist Alex Lifeson on “Anesthetize” and Robert Fripp (soundscapes) on “Way out of Here.” Lifeson’s guitar interplay with Wilson is outstanding and well worth the price of the CD. Interestingly, Fripp’s presence is understated, which is a testament to both Wilson and Fripp. Perhaps not their best release, Fear of a Blank Planet still delivers and continues the Porcupine Tree journey.
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