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Porcupine Tree - Recordings CD (album) cover

RECORDINGS

Porcupine Tree

 

Heavy Prog

4.17 | 305 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars Rejects which are better than many bands best!

"Recordings" cannot simply be dismissed as one of those collections which gathers together outtakes, and alternative versions of tracks, which were intended to be left behind in the studio. This is a carefully crafted collection of new songs, single B sides, and an extended version of an old favourite. The songs date from the period when the band recorded two of their most popular albums, "Stupid dream" and "Lightbulb sun".

The album opens with a real gem. "Buying new soul" is a previously unreleased 10+ minute epic. Initially, the track has a slightly understated feel, being acoustically based with a harmonic chorus. As the piece develops, we are taken through a delightful sequence ranging from the delicate to the chaotic.

"Access denied" was presented in demo form during the "Lightbulb sun" sessions, but was not taken forward for that album. The version here is the finished article, recorded in late 2000. The track opens with a Beatles like piano and distorted vocal, the track having a jaunty, Stackridge type feel. It is not really typical Porcupine Tree at all.

The next five tracks have all appeared as singles B sides. Together they demonstrate that it really is necessary to acquire virtually everything Porcupine Tree release in order to be sure of not missing anything. Of these tracks, "In formaldehyde" is probably the most striking, being a relatively soft number with superb guitar work. "Untitled" is a dreamy improvisation which has more in common with the band's early days. It could easily have made a good instrumental core to a longer track. Steve's guitar work in the latter half of the track has hints of Steve Hackett's on "Firth of fifth". "Ambulance chasing" shows a slightly more jazz orientated side to the band, accentuated by the appearance of guest saxophonist Theo Travis.

All this leads up to a truly awesome 14 minute version of "Even less". The first part of this opened the "Stupid dream" album, ending after around 6 minutes. If the track seemed complete then, the latter section (which had previously appeared in its own right as a the B side of a single) gives the track a stunning extra dimension.

The album closes with "Oceans have no memory", another track which was not taken beyond demo stage for the "Stupid dream" album, but which has now been brought to fruition. The track is a thinly veiled take on Fleetwood Mac's "Albatross".

In all, a collection which most other bands would be proud to release as a bona-fide album. "Buying new soul" and the full length "Even less" are essential for anyone who appreciates the music of this fine band.

Easy Livin | 4/5 |

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