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Porcupine Tree - In Absentia CD (album) cover

IN ABSENTIA

Porcupine Tree

 

Heavy Prog

4.24 | 2389 ratings

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Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer
4 stars 'In Absentia' - Porcupine Tree (8/10)

'In Absentia' is the Porcupine Tree record I've always found to be overshadowed by it's two counterparts of the same era, 'Deadwing' and 'Fear Of A Blank Planet.' Both were complete and utter masterpieces, but what of 'In Absentia' itself? There is certainly masterpiece-quality songs on here, alot of them at that. But there is little to no flow that ties the songs together. If I was rating this simply based on it being a random collection of songs, sure, I would give it five stars. But I'd prefer to mark it based on how it fares as a complete work.

The only songs that I wouldn't consider amazing are 'The Creator Has A Mastertape,' 'Lips of Ashes,' and 'Strip The Soul' which don't really appeal to me, especially the first mentioned. Everything else is fantastic Porcupine Tree worthy of the band's reputation of creating high quality and uncompromising music.

But how can I listen to something that doesn't feel like it should be listened to from start to finish? Sure, the first few times I listened to In Absentia, I went from start to finish and didn't really mind the fact that the songs don't match up and form a whole... But it really got to me after about five listens, and I decided to pursue a different course, which would be to listen to songs out of order in my preference, seeing as it didn't really make a difference due to my lack of appreciation for the set-up of the album.

As always, the sound quality and production is up to a traditional Porcupine Tree standard of excellence. The song 'Heartattack In A Layby' remains one of the most beautiful songs I've ever listened to...

'In Absentia' is great for the music itself, but in terms of what a really effective album should look like, it's a bit upsetting that such a potentially masterful work could have been detracted so much by a relatively easy to remedy issue. However, for the songs themselves, this is certainly an excellent addition to any prog collection, and it's a definate worthy buy, especially if you're not too concerned with album structure.

By the way, if anyone can justify why the album is rated as Porcupine Tree's best, feel free to message me and we'll talk.

Conor Fynes | 4/5 |

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