The mini-tracks range from shorter interludes like the minute and a half or so "Occam's Razor," — which opens The Incident with a blast of metallic guitar — to the eleven minute "Time Flies."
On the latter, Wilson sings "I was born in 67', the year of Sgt. Pepper and Are You Experienced." But musically, Wilson's head seems to be more in tune with Animals era Pink Floyd, and specifically the song "Dogs," then it does with the Beatles or Hendrix. While I want to give Wilson the benefit of the doubt and assume this is more of an homage than a rip-off, the similarities are striking to say the least. "Time Flies" basically plays like a sped-up version of the Floyd song — right down to the guitar soloing that closes it.
Still, and with that minor quibble aside, "The Incident" largely lives up to its advance billing as the rightful centerpiece of this album. It's just a great sounding piece of work.
Lyrically, it follows a loose narrative about a traffic accident Wilson apparently witnessed. Musically, it moves from quieter pieces like "The Seance" to eerie sounding, rhythmically off-kilter stuff like the five minute piece within the piece that is also called "The Incident." Wilson ties together all these elements with his usual great guitar playing, as well as his uncannily great ear for hook-laden melody.
In less gifted hands, something this ambitious might not have worked. But what has always separated Steven Wilson and Porcupine Tree from many of their prog and metal peers, is the way PT focus on the songcraft first — even with that occasional fifty five minute long opus.
The Incident is a great new album by one of the best kept secrets in music (at least in America). It arrives September 15 just in time for their tour, which also kicks off this Tuesday in Seattle. I can't wait.