Porcupine Tree: The Virtual And The Visceral

Porcupine Tree i i

In "Drawing the Line," Porcupine Tree revisits the past in a way that's bold and bracing. Diana Nitschke hide caption

itoggle caption Diana Nitschke
Porcupine Tree

In "Drawing the Line," Porcupine Tree revisits the past in a way that's bold and bracing.

Diana Nitschke

For all its technical polish and fastidiousness in the studio, Porcupine Tree is often obsessed with technology's dark side. But the band has always conveyed a healthy skepticism for its own tools.

The Incident, Porcupine Tree's latest, focuses on how distancing words like "incident" turn suffering from natural and man-made disasters into mere box scores. The recording revisits pivotal events — both from the newspapers and from the life of singer-songwriter Steven Wilson — in the way a watercolorist might capture a scene while a downpour washes the paint off the canvas.

Tuesday's Pick

  • Song: "Drawing the Line"
  • Artist: Porcupine Tree
  • CD: The Incident
  • Genre: Rock

The arrangement of "Drawing the Line" veers between gentle keyboards — tinkling like a clinically depressed music box — and Wilson's crisp, soaring guitar solos, supported by sympathetic, nuanced drumming. Lyrically, the verses mix visceral and virtual imagery: "Dreamt the sound of stitches cutting out and discarding the used / recording all my problems on memory cards, your compassion unmoved." Wilson then delivers a bold ultimatum in his sweetly sardonic voice: "I take control / and I save my soul." Here, as on most of The Incident, the outcome might be unclear, but the bravado is bracing and welcome.

Listen to yesterday's Song of the Day, and subscribe to the Song of the Day newsletter.

Purchase Featured Music

Incident

Purchase Music

Purchase Featured Music

Album
Incident
Artist
Porcupine Tree
Label
Roadrunner
Released
2009

Your purchase helps support NPR Programming. How?

 

Incident

Purchase Music

Purchase Featured Music

Album
Incident
Artist
Porcupine Tree
Label
Victor Records
Released
2009

Your purchase helps support NPR Programming. How?

 

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and Terms of Use. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.