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Porcupine Tree - XMII CD (album) cover

XMII

Porcupine Tree

 

Heavy Prog

4.02 | 147 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

TCat
4 stars This is a well-recorded live performance for XM satellite radio done on July 21, 2003. This is the second XM recording done by Porcupine Tree, and this one is slightly better than the first in that the set list is better and you have the entire band, including John Wesley who was considered a session musician, but should be considered part of the regular line up because he was always there for studio and live performances. There is no audience noise, because this was a recording for the airwaves, no audience involved.

The recording is exceptional, giving the listener alternate versions of songs that had already been released from the studio. That is the main draw for the album, in that the performances are as they happened, and the songs are given that live-as-it-happens feeling. The songs are not much different from the studio versions except you are missing the polished feeling, the songs are a little more raw. It's always great to hear songs of this caliber in live settings though, and when the recording is this pristine, it gives you a new experience with older but tried and tested songs. Five songs are from "Lightbulb Sun", "Trains" is from "In Absentia", and "Pure Narcotic" from "Stupid Dream" are more acoustic-based songs, but the entire band is involved in each, and "Fadeaway" from "Up the Downstair", this one in this case is sung by John Wesley where it is normally sung by Steven Wilson, and it's nice to hear his take on it.

The two epic songs are "Hatesong" and "Russia on Ice". Both are excellent performances, as to be expected, and as are all of the songs. Nothing is really new here, except for the vocal by John, but as I said, the draw for this recording is the chance to hear alternative versions of the excellent songs. The album was only sold at live shows and on the band's "Burning Shed" website, so it is rather rare. But it is still possible to find, just difficult to find. If you do find it or get a chance to download, do so, it is worth it. But you don't have to overexert yourself unless you are a collector, these songs are readily available elsewhere, just not in these versions. Seeing as this is an excellent performance and recording, it is an album that would be great to have in your prog rock collection.

TCat | 4/5 |

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