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Porcupine Tree - Staircase Infinities CD (album) cover


Porcupine Tree


Heavy Prog

3.81 | 222 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars ''Cloud Zero'' is a nice enough jammy tune, but I can already some effects and background effects are being recycled from previous PT material. Although Wilson's guitar work here is quite good, it doesn't quite match some of the other work he's done during the band's 'trippy' period , such as Voyage 34. Some parts of this remind me of Steve Howe's guitar style, with the stepping down of notes across the neck, creating really nice passages. Not a bad song.

''The Joke's On You'' Shows glimpses of where PT's music would go on the next album, The Sky Moves Sideways. Similar strumming patters, rhythms and chords as the song ''Stars Die'', but not as refined, and since the full band still hadn't formed properly by this point, much would be improved on later. Since I already know where the band went shortly after this, I can't help but feel like this song is a slightly unfinished of a better one that emerge just around the corner. The lead guitar on this song also sounds a bit recycled from ''The Nostalgia Factory''. It just seems like Mr. Steven Wilson is not pushing himself any further that where is already is musically, and as a result things on this EP come off as stale.

''Navigator'' has a really cool, tribal drum beat, enveloped by atmospheric keys and rattling percussion. Soon, Wilson comes in with what he does best: long, spacey guitar leads, adding more atmosphere to the already quite psychedelic track. It's a really good song, despite not having much technical prowess going on. The sounds here are big and open, glowing in the darkness that PT's mood often creates. I sometimes wish the band would still explore this type of stuff, rather than go completely dark and heavy like they seem to do these days, but oh well, that's why we can pull out these old records and reminisce, I suppose.

''Rainy Taxi'' takes a long time to get going, and when it finally does, it's more pre-''Stars Die'' type stuff. Same old same old, I suppose. Not impressive at all. If no other PT song had sounded like this, I may like it more, but it was done better later on, so this becomes just an unfinished idea in retrospect.

''Yellow Hedgerow Dreamscape'' is the only song on this EP that I feel may have been good enough to make the final cut of the Up The Downstair album. It just sounds like it belongs on that record, to me. Very moody and atmospheric as always with early PT, but it feels more fleshed-out and complete than some of the other stuff on Staircase Infinities. I can understand why it wasn't included, though, given its length. It's the most Pink Floyd-like of all the tracks, which in this case isn't too bad. True, some of Wilson's guitar stylings in the early days would at times sound like blatant rip-offs, but this song doesn't feel that way to me-- I merely hear the influence.

So there you go. This EP is no longer made, but it actually included as a second disc with the more recent editions of Up The Downstair. When looked at as part of that album's set, it makes this EP seem more worth having, but if it were still only available on its own, I wouldn't recommend breaking your wallet searching for it. It's more or less a bunch of disjointed ideas and B-sides that didn't make the album proper. A could of really good songs surrounded by fragments of what Wilson would fully realize in the future when PT became full-fledged band.

It's an average release, nothing special.

JLocke | 3/5 |


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