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Porcupine Tree - XMII CD (album) cover


Porcupine Tree


Heavy Prog

4.02 | 151 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

5 stars Best of the Best!

It has always been my contention that Porcupine Tree sounds best in a live setting. Anyone who's attended their concerts knows exactly what I'm writing about. While live, one would be hard-pressed to know it by listening to this pristine recording. This would fall into the category of a session recorded "live" in a studio, as opposed to "live" in- concert. There is absolutely no crowd noise or in-between tracks filler.

While there is still much debate as to what the "best" Porcupine Tree recordings are, the question usually divides listeners into two distinct categories of PT fans. Those who prefer the atmospheric, ambient works of the nineties, and those more in-tune with the band's more recent pop-oriented and straight-forward rock leanings. I consider myself of the former, and consider PT's finest moments to be Stupid Dream, Lightbulb Sun, Recordings, and Signify.

If you agree with me, you owe yourself a listen to XMII. This CD is tough to find, as it was sold exclusively at PT concerts this past year, and the small amount of remaining inventory was made available exclusively through the band's own website. You may have to pay the big bucks from those eBay purveyors (aka leeches), but worth every penny.

Performed live, the band breathes new life into jems from some of the previously mentioned albums. The highlight for me is the rendition of 'Fadeaway' from 'Up The Downstair' featuring John Wesley's vocals. John is a touring member of Porcupine Tree, and is an extraordinary singer, songwriter and guitarist is his own right. Anyone who has taken in a recent North-American Marillion concert knows John as their opening guest artist. While 'Up The Downstair' has recently been re-recorded and re-released, this to me is the "definitive" version of the song. VERY powerful.

If you're new to Porcupine Tree and want to get a good idea what this band is all about, I say start with their live recordings; Coma Divine, Warszawa, and this. You'll get a great sampling of the best tracks from their best albums, all done with energy and urgency that is often missing in the original studio versions.

Now, where can I get me a copy of the first XM recording...? I need to hear this! I know... (sheesh!)

DonE | 5/5 |


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