Here's a fan review of the new PT album : I've just finished listening to Deadwing twice on my Bose noise-cancelling headphones with the lights off... it's midnight here so I can't write too much. Suffice to say that my first impression is that this album is the best thing SW has ever done. Ever. Of any of his musical projects. Maybe that's just the initial euphoria and adrenaline speaking, but I'm thoroughly smitten with Deadwing. There's not a bad track on it. A few more general observations before I comment on a few of the tracks individually: This album will settle the "Gavin vs. Chris" debate once and for all. Gavin Harrison must have the arms of a blacksmith to drum with this sort of intensity and virtuosity. His propulsive rhythms really unify the sound of the album and provide the backbone for a sound that is much heavier overall. Where In Absentia feels like an experimental foray into heavier territory, the granite-hard rock of Deadwing is far more integrated and organic on this record. The band seems far more comfortable with the new direction, and where In Absentia often seemed like it wasn't sure how to employ the talents of Richard Barbieri, Deadwing uses him as a pivotal player throughout. Crucially, the harder edge of this PT is never at the expense of melody... Musicians often talk about how important it is to employ light and shade in an album but few practice this as well as SW. And never more so than on Deadwing. That's evident on the juxtaposition of different tracks on the lineup as well as within the arrangements of individual songs. The epic Arriving Somewhere But Not Here, for example, evokes memories of Russia on Ice for the way that wisps of mellow Barbieri keys eventually give way to guitar riffing so intense that it could cleave titanium. But the heavy riffing here is far more melodic (to my ear) than that of the Lightbulb Sun track. I love the title track. It begins with a simple keyboard motif reminiscent of a certain song by The Who. Its followed by the background sound of a train station and then an amazing, jangly guitar riff kicks in alongside Gavin's frenetic drumming and lightning fast fills (you'll have heard this on the soundclips). Over 10 minutes this track keeps coming back to this guitar riff and unrelenting rhythm even as Steven sings of a ghost that disrupts someone's life (a deep voice intones "like a cancer scare in a dentist's chair..." to add to the ominous mood). There's a characteristic SW solo and, later, an unusual guitar solo -- haven't got liner notes on my promo copy but I'm guessing it's Adrian Belew. Shallow features the guitar riff that launched a thousand guitarists. At least, it will once this gets extensive radio play... so damn catchy, this one... Lazarus is the mellowest moment on the record. Lovely. Keane and Coldplay fans (of which I am both) will enjoy this, too. Halo is a quirky delight. It starts off dark and murky with a cool groove by Colin and Gavin and pinging effects from Richard. SW offers a creepy, whispery vocal (God is on the cellphone/God is on the Net/God is in the warning/God is in the threat.) Then it gives way to the most unexpected chorus -- very poppy, sorta Blackfield-ish. I'm not sure if this is an apt description, but it sounds as if The Happy Mondays are singing the chorus. I'm enchanted by this one. Adrian Belew's off-kilter solo is another cool element to this one. Arriving Somewhere But Not Here is epic in sweep and starts off with layers of ambient textures and a similar sort of guitar as used on the verses of Lips of Ashes. The track gathers momentum until it becomes a churning maelstrom. And then suddenly snaps and melts into another quiet passage with cool percussion and delicate guitar licks. SW said this track is 13 minutes but it's finishes somewhere around the 11 minute mark and fades out. The soundclips on the Deadwing micro site feature the chorus (it's at the point where the naked woman is swimming underwater) but with just vocals and no drums if I recall, so I wonder if that was cut from the final version? Mellotron Scratch is one of the highlights of Deadwing. It's a blissed out track with a groovy, echoing percussion track and gorgeous layers of vocal harmonies (shades of How Is Your Life Today and it also brings YES to mind.) Open Car -- this track bumped So-Called Friend. This one isn't exactly a rocker despite some cool riffing as it detours into mellower, piano-led moments. A hard track to pin down. Will require more listens. The Start of Something Beautiful is another absolute highlight. This is how modern progressive rock should sound. Features a synth bassline to start and some great percussion from Gavin. I love the unexpected melodic detours this track takes and its use of mellotron and widescreen guitars during the chorus. Glass Arm Shattering is, quite simply, gorgeous. It's one of those PT tracks that seems to soar effortlessly (think Dark Matter or Fadeaway) with divine harmonies. Sublime. After 3 minutes of silence there's a bonus track of Shesmovedon. Not sure why SW remade this track as it doesn't sound too disimilar from the original. Still, no complaints -- sounds good. And that's about it. Of course, describing music never does it justice. I hope I've not overhyped the album and it'll be interesting to see how I rate the album after I've lived with it for a while. No doubt about it, though, Deadwing is well worth the wait and anticipation.