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Porcupine Tree - On the Sunday of Life... CD (album) cover


Porcupine Tree


Heavy Prog

3.04 | 973 ratings

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Honorary Collaborator
3 stars A trippy, eccentric beginning

The first Porcupine Tree album is really a Steve Wilson solo project though there were some guest musicians and a lyrics collaborator. Today's PT fan should approach it with some understanding of the circumstances surrounding it. The CD is a compilation of early works originally released on cassette tapes, recorded by the young Wilson in the 80s before the proper band existed. It has a rather scattered feel as Wilson is all over the map trying everything he can think of, indulging himself. It feels a bit like a less developed, more primitive psychedelic version of Signify. And yet if you go into it with an open mind and not expecting to hear Deadwing, you may find it really grows on you.

Many people bring up "The Piper at the Gates of Dawn" but this is misleading in my view. Wilson may have been a fan of Piper but this is purely homage if anything, it isn't close to Piper in terms of authenticity, consistency, or groundbreaking nature. By the late 80s this was all old hat. A much more relevant comparison for this album would be the Dukes Of Stratosphear project by the members of XTC. The Dukes album "Chips from the Chocolate Fireball" is a very similar styled project, also a compilation, which attempted to bring the classic 1960s LSD-pop album into the 80s and pay tribute.

"Sunday" musically is the definition of "hit and miss" and while the tracks don't sound all that related, there is probably more good stuff here than bad. At the least it is interesting to hear the infancy of an artist of Wilson's caliber. There are short, quirky pop tunes with annoying choruses as Wilson tortures you with a helium-toked smurf voice. There are some better rock songs like "Radioactive Toy" which actually sound like PT of a few years later. And there are some nice instrumental pieces which are dreamy, spacey, and mellow, with a nice assortment of electric and acoustic guitar performances by Wilson. Throughout the songs are dressed with lots of strange, trippy noises and sound effects to give them extra vibe. Here and there you will find some really compelling passages, and in other places you are likely to wince and hit the "skip" button.

The 2007 reissued CD features very decent sound quality and a nice booklet. I do recommend this odd little album to fans of psych-pop and PT. While it is not likely to be your favorite PT album, after a while you might find it in the middle of your list as opposed to bringing up the bottom.

Finnforest | 3/5 |


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