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Porcupine Tree - Recordings CD (album) cover


Porcupine Tree


Heavy Prog

4.19 | 358 ratings

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Prog Metal Team
4 stars It's simply unfair how talented some people are. Recordings is a collection of B-sides and tracks discarded from the previous two albums Stupid Dream and Lightbulb Sun, yet it makes for an album that is a lot better then the bulk of regular studio albums out there.

The reason is that the material wasn't discarded for being inferior but simply because it didn't seem to fit in with the song oriented material of Stupid Dream and Lightbulb Sun. To a certain extent that is true, the songs here are decisively more atmospheric and progressive, but others would have blended in quite well and might even have improved both of the preceding albums.

Buying New Soul is the most beautiful song Wilson has ever penned. It's so delicate, emotional and sensitive. This song has everything: the confident songwriting of recent albums, the spacey feel of the early work and a striking emotional punch. It's arranged very subtly, with mainly melancholic keyboards, a jazzy contrabass and acoustic guitars. The rousing crescendo with wild percussion and electric guitars halfway in is gorgeous, as is the dreamy keyboard theme that opens and concludes the piece. 5 stars

After such a blast, Access Denied is a let-down. It's a short poppy tune similar to Three Chords That Made A Million and it sounds rather trite at first, but it takes a few unexpected twists that made me keep returning to it, and ultimately appreciating it as well. 3 stars

Cure For Optimism rivals Buying New Soul at melancholic beauty. It's similar to other spacey acoustic PT tracks such as Phantoms, Small Fish and Wake As Gun. And it owns all of them. 5 stars

Untitled is an extended improvisation somewhat similar to Moonloop and Intermediate Jesus. Colin Edwin's contrabass, Maitland's drumming, Barbieri's layers of atmosphere and Wilson's solo all work together seamlessly. How I regret that Porcupine Tree has let go of this type of creative freedom and improvisations in the music they've created since. No matter how much I like the heavy PT, it will never connect with me as much as the old stuff. I think this track could be described as post-rock, and it's easily amongst the best I've heard in that area. 5 stars

Disappear is a song that had been nagging Wilson since 96. Somehow he never found a way to create a version that fit on any of the albums. A 6.30 minute version of it used to be available from the PT website as a free download, the version here is abbreviated successfully, it flows wonderfully, and it would have fitted perfectly on Lightbulb Sun. 4 stars

Ambulance Chasing is another ambient rock instrumental, with tribal percussion and wide Floydian guitar chords. Another piece of guitar heaven for me. 5 stars

In Formaldehyde is a quiet and catchy ballad that could have been included on both of the preceding records. It's less poppy then the ballads that featured on Lightbulb Sun, which makes me prefer it to those. 4 stars

Even Less, extended with two instrumental parts of about 3 minutes each, and an extra verse and one repetition of the chorus. Not a minute too long and it has my preference over the original. 5 stars

Oceans is a short exit piece that reminds me slightly of Talk Talk latter day guitar broodings. A fitting ending that makes this release flow like a real album. 4 stars.

This is the best 'non-regular' PT release and every bit as essential to me as their earlier masterpieces. Highly recommended for fans of their earlier space-rock.

Bonnek | 4/5 |


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