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Porcupine Tree - Nil Recurring CD (album) cover

NIL RECURRING

Porcupine Tree

 

Heavy Prog

3.95 | 536 ratings

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Glimpse
3 stars Porcupine Tree's sixth and final EP, Nil Recurring, was certainly a pleasant gift for many fans as it came out just a few months after the release of their fantastic album Fear of a Blank Planet in 2007. The EP featured four leftovers the band had piled up from the album's recording sessions as the group felt they would just bloat the record, resulting in Fear of a Blank Planet having a lot less fat on it than their previous albums. Ultimately, I would say it was a good thing these came out here rather than on the album itself, as this EP tends to be a bit of a mixed bag overall.

The EP begins with the title track, an instrumental piece featuring Robert Fripp. It's a pretty nice track, featuring the band's characteristic 2000s era heaviness with a few more psychedelic passages sprinkled in. However, unlike Fripp's feature in Fear of a Blank Planet, he brings a bit more to the table here as he actually sounds like Robert Fripp at times, especially towards the end of the track. Something that I could really appreciate, as if you are gonna bring someone on to feature on a track, it would be nice for them to actually bring something interesting to the party.

Then comes the second track on the album, Normal. This is the weakest track on the album, as it is just an early, bloated version of the track Sentimental. Nothing that happens here is really all that interesting. It also features some of Wilson's weakest vocal work that I have heard so far. Sure, Wilson has never been the most dynamic or compelling vocalist ever, but he usually does a much better job than he does here. Here he just sounds flat, like he is not really giving it his all, this is particularly noticeable in the "Sullen and bored the kids stay" section of the song as his vocals and harmonies here are just so hollow sounding. Really this track just makes me appreciate the Sentimental we got on the album a lot more, as it expresses the ideas found here much better with a shorter run time.

Next up to bat is Cheating the Polygraph, away from the dull Normal and back to heavy goodness. This is pretty standard Porcupine Tree fare, a moderate length track with plenty of heaviness and a bit of a quieter break about 2/3rds of the way in featuring keyboard and effects work. Really nothing all that special here, but it is still a solid track nonetheless, not much for me to say here.

Of course, the group saves the best for last with the track What Happens Now? It is not a very heavy track, instead the heaviness takes a backseat to the more electronic sounds and psychedelic effects throughout the track. It feels somewhat like a throwback to Wilson's earlier work with the group, and overall it is a pretty nice track. Probably the only track on this EP that I could legitimately see myself coming back and listening to casually.

Nil Recurring all-around is hardly anything spectacular, but being a collection of leftovers, that was probably not what the group was shooting for with this release. Sure there are interesting moments, but it is not really hard to see why most of this material didn't make the cut. I would give this anywhere between a two or three, but I feel like overall it is good enough to earn a three. Though it should be noted that if you are interested in listening to these tracks, there are plenty of newer editions of Fear of a Blank Planet that feature these tracks along with the regular track listing, so if you want to listen to these tracks that would probably be your best route rather than buying an individual EP just for these tracks. Unless you are a collector or already have it, there is not really much point in buying this release on its own anymore.

Glimpse | 3/5 |

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