Some bands will always remain an anomaly and the feeling of getting a new album will always feel like a treat, Porcupine Tree are one such band. The Incident is the band’s tenth studio offering, a double album, of which the first disc is an absorbing 55 minute concept spread across fourteen tracks, it’s a chaptered piece building to one song (similar to Between The Buried And Me’s Colors in how it’s structured).
The rousing instrumental opener “Occam’s Razor” sets the almost typical Porcupine Tree album tone, one of grandeur. Leading into “The Blind House”, the track unnervingly fires through a spine tingling chorus.
Experimentation is no stranger to Steven Wilson and Porcupine Tree and straying from the somewhat curvaceous melodies prior, “Drawing The Line” fearlessly dashes into a punchy rock vibe.
The title track then starts with haunting electronics, but oddly The Incident loses a tad bit of momentum here. However, following up, it’s quick to recoup its vitality in the subsequent pieces.
Across several interlude tracks like the acoustic amble “Your Unpleasant Family” and the flowing textures of “The Yellow Windows Of The Evening Train” serve as breathers between the irrefutable surges of frenetic experimentalism throughout.
“Time Flies” carelessly exudes confidence, from the instantly memorable acoustic guitars, Steven Wilson’s odd lyrics (“I was born in ’67, the year of Sergeant Pepper”), the twirling electronics and riffs through to the airy mid section. There’s not enough time to describe this song’s excellence.
But in quick fashion “Degree Zero Of Liberty” reverts back to the album’s intro and the manner then shifts with the somewhat funereal tones of the aesthetically stunning “Octane Twisted” through to “The Séance”, trading almost simplistic verses over astounding vocal harmonies. Its rise continues on the frenzied trade that is “Circle Of Manias” only to drastically switch for The Incident’s swan song.
“I Drive The Hearse” sways so softly with it’s emotive verses and enigmatic tales told by Wilson, elegantly, through his ever astonishing voice. With that The Incident is completed.
Unfortunately The Incident reaches such a staggering culmination on the first disc that disc two feels anti-climactic. That’s not say the material is in anyway weak, far from it. The softer compositions of “Flicker” and “Black Dahlia” are enticing as well as the eccentric “Bonnie The Cat”. Then, “Remember Me Lover” brings this expedition to a close, proper.
Overall though, The Incident is an awe-inspiring work of art, though it may not reach the same peaks of In Absentia and Lightbulb Sun. Regardless, Porcupine Tree have earned the right to take another bow in front of a stunned audience.