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Porcupine Tree - In Absentia CD (album) cover


Porcupine Tree


Heavy Prog

4.26 | 2778 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

4 stars I worked my way backwards with Porcupine Tree, starting my collection with 'Fear of a Blank Planet', 'Nil Recurring', then 'Deadwing', and now finally 'In Absentia'. I'm not sure why, but I was putting off getting this album for a while.I guess it had something to do with the cover of the album. It frightened me, and I thought it would contain mostly the 'harder' stuff from the later two albums. Also, the song 'Sound of Muzak' was the weakest of the songs to be found on this site with Porcupine tree attached to it. Needless to say I was pleasantly surprise when I finally worked up the courage to get the album. "Get on with the review" I hear you say, and so I shall.

My first thought of the album was there was no way 12 songs were on this album. As I was listening, I counted only 8 songs when it was in my stereo. Maybe it's to keep as many of their songs under a 7 minuet mark as they could, maybe they felt it better to separate 'movements'. But in my opinion, this weakens the album just slightly. I still think the first three songs are one song with quite a few movements, and I was surprised to find 'Prodigal' and '.3' two different songs. Perhaps they were taking a note from 'Pink Floyd' and their world famous album 'Dark Side'.

Anyways.the music found on this album is SUPERB. To my ears, this is the closest Porcupine Tree has come to a complete Masterpiece (keep in mind; this is the earliest album from them I have). The music goes through so many different faces and it has so many emotions attached to each song it's a real treat each time to listen to. I've never found it boring. I love their use of keyboards and the mellitron. It's very rare to hear them being used as they should be to create atmosphere instead of leading a song.

When I first started to really listen to the album I would listen to it while falling to sleep at night, a great way to really get into music with no other distractions. The only problem with this is I never reached the end of the album, so anything after '.3' was still a mystery to me. Looking back this was probably a good thing, since some of the weaker songs are found after '.3'.

My only concern with this album is that it contains filler (to my ears). As good a song as they are, I think 'Wedding Nails' 'The Creator Has a Mastertape' and 'Strip the Soul' are unnecessary tracks on the album. That being said, I still enjoy their sounds, I just feel they bring nothing new to the album. 'Strip the Soul' feels too much like '.3' 'The Creator Has a Mastertape' is played to fast (for my ears), and the hard guitar part near the chorus is a little much. 'Wedding Nails' seems to be a review of the songs just before it. I think these songs would have been better placed on their own EP, or perhaps on a 'special re-release' of the album as bonus tracks, but that's just my opinion.

My favorite song on this album is easily 'Collapse the Light into Earth' (odd, since it wasn't until a few weeks after really getting to know this album at night did I finally hear it). At first, I thought it was repetitive, uncreative, and boring. The repetitive aspect of the song still remains, but it no longer bothers me; in fact, it maintains the feel of the song. It's one of those few songs that I can listen to over and over again and never get board of it. I love the use of strings on the song, as well as a traditional piano sound; too many songs use a synthesized sound keyboard, so it's refreshing to hear a pure piano again.

Well, this review is getting a bit lengthy, so I'll sum up my thoughts. This is a great album, and I strongly recommend it to everyone, prog lover or not. This is one of those rare albums that can be enjoyed by any lover of music. I think the 'mellow' songs on this album are the strong points, such as 'Trains', 'Gravity Eyelids' (the pre-'Arriving Somewhere but not Here' perhaps?), 'Heartattack in a Layby' and of course 'Collapse the Light into Earth.' That isn't to say that the harder side of the album is less enjoyable. All songs are enjoyable in their own way, and there are no songs on this album I want to skip. There's a fluid movement from song to song which is needed for any album past a 3 star mark. There is just no point on the album (besides, perhaps, 'Collapse the Light into Earth') where I feel it's a true masterpiece of music; but it's really close to being one.

A solid four stars with an attached note: 'Get this album if you haven't already'

mothershabooboo | 4/5 |


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