At some point in listening to this album, you have to ask yourself, "Is this really progressive rock?" Sure, the symphonic epic scope of the 13:03 "Russia on Ice" and the extensive sax/flute jams on "Hatesong" tell you "yes." However, the euphoric acoustic pop of "The Rest Will Flow" and the hard-rocking chorus of the title track really make you question this album as a prog piece.
So, genre-haters rejoice at this British prog-pop hybrid that celebrates Floydian surrealism as well as Beatlesque catchy pop. True, you'll be singing many of the album's catchy, poppy melodies for months to come, but this isn't the simplistic, commercial tripe you hear on FM radio. Though poppy to a certain extent, many of these songs exhibit sophistication, subtle details and adroit playing native to progressive rock. Not to be forgotten, obviously, is the brilliant songwriting. This album also has a great diversity of moods, which is something that really spices it up. "Four Chords" is high energy rock that criticizes commercialism in music. "Last Chance to Evacuate" has a nostalgic feel in the first part and a space age adventure in the second. "Russia on Ice" is heavily melancholic and powerful. "Where Would we Be" is both the simplest and most powerful track on the album, consisting mostly of just acoustic guitar and vocals. This song is incredibly moving. Really, all of the tracks stand out on here. Some catchy and poppy, some conspicuous prog takes. If your up for something adventurous that challenges your expectations, try this out. And if you know any pop fans who are sick of commercial music, point them in Porcupine Tree's direction. Chances are, they won't be disappointed. And niether will you.