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Porcupine Tree - In Absentia CD (album) cover


Porcupine Tree


Heavy Prog

4.26 | 2619 ratings

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The Quiet One
Prog Reviewer
3 stars Prog Rock is Absent, Alt. Rock is Present

Well, that title is false, just trying to make a relation with the word Absentia with the style of the album. However, it is true that this album has a lot of allusions to modern day's rock style entitled Alternative Rock: a genre that can rock pretty hard and does not contain extremely lame lyrics so as to be considered today's Pop, though it has the basic structure of verse-chorus-verse-chorus.

Porcupine Tree certainly were a full-blown Prog Rock band back in the 90's, however they changed radically with the release of Stupid Dream, playing more melodic and simple music, and to confirm that they were taking that path they released Lightbulb Sun the following year. The psych/electronic roots were clearly leaving, while a catchier and melancholic style of rock was approaching, it's worth saying that it's a very unique approach to Alt. Rock with Pink Floyd as an obvious influence.

The album is full-filled with either hard rocking tunes with well-thought catchy choruses or moody songs with great atmospheres reminiscent of Pink Floyd. Sorry for the lack of originality, but for me the best songs from In Absentia certainly are Blackest Eyes with its infectious metal riff and it's great moody contrast, Trains with it's lovely acoustic-feel allthrough and .3, this last one being a magnificent spacey semi-instrumental, the atmosphere created with the keyboards and strings is absolutely brilliant.

The rest of the album is okay-ish, definitely well-composed songs, but nothing particularly memorable; some mediocre metal riffs (Wedding Nails and The Creator Has a Mastertape) and the melancholic/poppier tunes just seem rehashes from the better and more memorable ones from Lightbulb Sun and from Stupid Dream (Heartattack in a Layby and Collapse the Light Into the Earth).

Good bunch of ideas, and it's really something great if it's put aside with other Alt. Rock releases, but In Absentia per se is not really such a big deal, especially considering that A) Stupid Dream had already done most of this 3 years before, and B) It's definitely Porcupine Tree's most famous release among Prog fans, yet it barely has any Prog substance, though this latter won't affect the rating.

3 stars: Its flaws don't harm the album that much to consider it a poor release, but it's a borderline good album. Mind you, Porcupine Tree did much better before and after in the same vein: Lightbulb Sun and Deadwing.

The Quiet One | 3/5 |


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