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Porcupine Tree On the Sunday of Life... album cover
3.04 | 972 ratings | 63 reviews | 7% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 1992

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Music for the Head (2:42)
2. Jupiter Island (6:12)
3. Third Eye Surfer (2:50)
4. On the Sunday of Life... (2:07)
5. The Nostalgia Factory (7:28)
6. Space Transmission (2:59)
7. Message from a Self-Destructing Turnip (0:27)
8. Radioactive Toy (10:00) *
9. Nine Cats (3:53)
10. Hymn (1:14)
11. Footprints (5:56)
12. Linton Samuel Dawson (3:04)
13. And the Swallows Dance Above the Sun (4:05)
14. Queen Quotes Crowley (3:48)
15. No Luck with Rabbits (0:46)
16. Begonia Seduction Scene (2:14)
17. This Long Silence (5:05)
18. It Will Rain for a Million Years (10:51)

Total Time 75:41

* Re-recorded in 1991

Line-up / Musicians

- Steven Wilson / vocals, guitar, instruments (keyboards, programming ?)

- Malcolm Stocks ("Solomon St. Jemain") / addit. guitar & vocals (14)
- Master Timothy Masters / oboe
- John Marshall / drums (3)

Releases information

Compilation from two prior cassette releases "Tarquin's Seaweed Farm" (1989) and "The Nostalgia Factory" (1990); The rest of the music from the initial tapes was released on the compilation "Yellow Hedgerow Dreamscape".

Artwork: Mike Bennion with Andy Cleal (photo)

2LP Delerium Records ‎- DELECLP008D (1992, UK)
2LP Headspin Records ‎- LP-310 (2006, Netherlands) Remastered

CD Delerium Records ‎- DELEC-CD-008 (1992, UK)
CD Snapper Classics ‎- SDPCD166 (2004, UK) Remastered by Steven Wilson

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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PORCUPINE TREE On the Sunday of Life... ratings distribution

(972 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(7%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(22%)
Good, but non-essential (45%)
Collectors/fans only (21%)
Poor. Only for completionists (5%)

PORCUPINE TREE On the Sunday of Life... reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Tristan Mulders
3 stars Porcupine Tree - On the Sunday of Life

Porcupine Tree's official debut album is a compilation of remastered or revised versions of previously released songs. Most of the songs are experiments and could best be described as psychedelica. Steven Wilson did not really think this album would be the success it was and most songs were experiments he did for his own pleasure. This might explain why most of the tracks on the album might feel like amateurish work in progress mixes. To be more precise I think there are only about 8 real songs on the album, the other 10 tracks are ambient pieces ranging from a voice telling a surreal story on the track Space Transmission or a drum improvisation as on track 2 Third Eye Surfer.

Some of the more coherent pieces that are worthy multiple listens are relatively short pieces, such as for instance the album opener Music for the Head, which is an ambient song featuring flute playing. Or the Begonia Seduction Scene, which is a guitar-only piece, featuring wonderful acoustic guitar and some electric guitar work near the end.

There are also a few coherent songs, such as the techno-influenced rock song The Nostalgia Factory. This atmospheric song features an extraordinary, though weird, synthesizer solo. The vocals sound as if Wilson inhaled helium right before he started singing, or he could of course simply have raised the pitch ;-).

The album also includes one of the first Porcupine Tree epics and a classic: Radioactive Toy. This song is still often played as an encore track during gigs. The song is easily recognisable because of the monotone singing and the repetitive drums. This might sound very tedious when you read it, but it works surprisingly well. Throw a bit of ambience in the mix via keyboards and some excellent guitar work and you have this interesting psychedelic epic.

Following the manic second half of Radioactive Toy is the acoustic beauty that is Nine Cats. A fan favourite that was rarely, if ever, performed live. The song is a ballad with nothing very special about it, except the drumming, which sound a bit eerie.

Another 'normal' song is track number 13, And the Swallows dance above the Sun. One of my personal favourites when it comes to Porcupine Tree's music. This is perhaps the most up-tempo rocker on the album. In the background you can hear Wilson performing some great soloing, whereas in the front of the mix he's playing some great rhythm guitar, accompanied by a nice drumbeat and good vocals.

The weirdest real song on the album simply has to be This long Silence. It is a up-tempo song. The synthesizer from time to time sounds as if it were played while the musician was on acid or something.

Porcupine Tree's debut end with yet another epic song: It will rain for a Million Years. There are hardly any lyrics included with this song, most of it is instrumental and ambient. The few parts that include vocals are not sung, but spoken. The song progresses the further it continuous on its sonic journey. Together with Radioactive Toy, one could see this song as a teaser for what haunting pieces of music Porcupine Tree would create in a couple years from then.

Review by chessman
4 stars I borrowed this from a friend a few weeks ago, who said to me 'many fans don't like this, but I do'. Being a big PT fan, I hoped it wasn't too bad. certainly wasn't! I can see why some fans, the more recent ones probably, wouldn't be too keen on it. It is not like their recent stuff. Now I like In Absentia, though it is a little too heavy for me at times. Haven't got Deadwing yet, but I believe that is along the same lines. Well, this is a million miles from either of those! It is quirky, funny, pyschedic, atmospheric and powerful in turns. Some tracks, such as 'Jupiter Island', 'The Nostalgia Factory' and 'Linton Samuel Dawson' are very '60s influenced, especially in the keyboard department. But they are still excellent, catchy songs, especially the very clever 'Nostalgia Factory' which has lyrics in the middle of it that aren't sung, but just printed in booklet, and which lead on nicely to the later, rather better known song 'Nine Cats'. There is an acoustic version of this on the bonus disc that comes with the remastered 'Signify' album, but here it is more electric. And it is superb! 'Music For The Head', 'Third Eye Surfer', 'On The Sunday Of Life...' are all brief atmospheric pieces, keyboard dominated, and again very good. 'Space Transmission' is very reminiscent, (maybe intentionally) of an old '50s or early '60s sci-fi radio broadcast, with a spoken voice over a disturbing electronic background, and it has, at one point, a very creepy clock ticking... wonderful stuff! 'Hymn', 'No Luck With Rabbits' and 'Message From A Self Destructing Turnip' are even briefer, yet still amusing instrumental little pieces. Of course, the future of PT can be heard in some songs here, not only in the best known song on here, 'Radioactive Toy' but also in tunes like 'And The Swallows Dance Above The Sun', 'It Will Rain For A Million Years' and even, in a way,in the weird, almost backwardly played wordless vocal and guitar track 'Queen Quotes Crowley'. Oh, and another little gem, quite in keeping with the PT catalogue is the lovely 'Begonia Seduction Scene'. I couldn't pick a favourite on here...I like them all! (Though I do have an extra soft spot for 'The Nostalgia Factory'. Those who want the more metal tinged style of the last few years may not like this, but fans of the band in general, who enjoy all the different phases the band move through, should still get much pleasure out of this. It is different, in a way similar to the way 'Piper At The Gates Of Dawn' is different from subsequent Pink Floyd releases, yet you can still tell it is PT. A more than worthy addition to your collection.
Review by Fight Club
3 stars All I can say is that this is a highly underrated album. Steven Wilson may not quite have developed the full PT sound yet, and the consistancy that the later albums hold, but this is a really one unique musical experience. Each song is completely different and practically pass through multiple genres in a single song. Yet one can still tell it's Steven Wilson's work whilst listening! That is one of the qualities that makes Steven Wilson such a great musician and songwriter. This album is truly a journey though the vast experimental soundscapes explored by Porcupine Tree.
Review by evenless
3 stars If I could rate any PT album less than 4 stars it would definitely be this one. Why? Simply because this album is more a Steven Wilson solo album rather than a true Porcupine Tree album with a "real" bass player and "real drummer". In this album Steven Wilson is more experimenting and plays all the instruments himself. This in it self is already rather astonishing I must say :-)

So what are the really great songs on "On The Sunday Of Life"? Well, actually I think there are only three:

1) the first one would be "Radioactive Toy". This song is a true PT classic and is often played as an encore during PT's live concerts. I also heard it play live once by Riverside and it was greatly "copied". I really enjoyed hearing this classic PT song being played by Riverside, my second favourite band, just after PT. 2) the second great song is called "Nine Cats" and this is a great acoustic piece. Great acoustic guitar accompanied by the warm voice of Steven Wilson. Really nice and funny lyrics too! I love this part:

"Fat toad stood in his ballet shoes Teaching sixteen kangaroos How to skip across a lake They found it hard to stay awake A pharaoh played a merry tune And watched nine cats dance on the moon I didn't know what all this meant I didn't know why I'd been sent."

All of the lyrics are really funny like that! :-) Too bad SW used a drum computer on this album: it makes it all sound a bit eerie. Maybe SW will decide to re-issue the album once and have the drum parts play by Gavin Harrison, just like on the re-issue of "Up The Downstair".

3) the third masterpiece of this album would be "It Will Rain For a Million Years". This track mostly is an instrumental ambient track with just some words spoken rather than sung by SW. It give a good idea where PT would go next with albums like "The Sky Moves Sideways". Together with "Radioactive Toy", these are really the two epics of On The Sunday Of Life.

Once again: it will be very hard for me, as a true PT fan, to rate any PT album less than 4 stars, but if there would be one, this would probably be it. Probably closer to 3.5 stars though.

Review by obiter
2 stars hmmm a compilation

PT as a truly prog band. out there. testing the limits. getting it wrong. getting it right. some of it probably better received by the trekkies out there. Although listening to a message from a self destrucitng turnip I'd reckon Hitch Hikers Guide was more appropriate.

Radioactive toy has lots of Floyd overtones, undertones and in-betweeny tones.

LSD is bizarre and weird. Funny that.

The start of Swallows proabably gives a better window into where PT may go than any other track. Hindsight is great. The middle and end descend into that sort of weirdness that can end in either genius or smelly nappies. Well ... it ain't genius. No Luck with rabbits is worse.

Begonia Seduction Scene.Sounds like a grade 3 guitar piece. God how I hated grade 3. Oh and It will rain for a million years. That's how long you should wait before hearing this album. Although having listened to Third Eye Surfer you may think that 1 million years is too soon.

The Long Silnce sounds like The Buggles.

To me there are two ways of approaching this album. Either as an insight into the early years of one of the greatest contenporary prog bands in which case it's a 4-5 star album, or as compilation of a band in its very formative stages in which case it is a 1-2 star.

Have to be honest. I've got all their stuff and this is by far the least listened to.

good luck if you get this one

Review by Mellotron Storm
4 stars The first offical PORCUPINE TREE album is a lot better than I thought or heard it would be. To quote Steven Wilson "On The Sunday Of not really an album in the tradtional sense; i still think of it as being a compilation of material originally issued on pre-record deal cassettes recorded between 1988-91" I couldn't agree more with stonebeard's review that this sounds very much like it was inspired by Syd Barrett era PINK FLOYD. And it's not very cohesive, it's all over the place really but it works. I guess my love for Psychedelic music is what really draws me to this one, but also the fact that for three years now i've been driving my daughter to University and back home (2 hour drive both ways)several times a year, and PORCUPINE TREE has been our music of choice for all those drives. So listening to this reminds me of driving in the sunshine on a Sunday (of life) . Great memories !

"Music For The Head" seems like it was inspired by Krautrock to me, with the voices, flute, synths and the Eastern vibe. "Jupiter Island" is a Syd inspired tune that features some fast paced drumming. It's a charming little Psychedelic tune with lyrics like "Come on let's fly to Jupiter Island". "Third Eye Surfer" is a really cool song with odd metered drumming from John Marshall along with synths and keys. It's about as dissonant as PORCUPINE TREE gets. It blends into "On The Sunday Of Life..." with a lot of the same kinds of sounds. "The Nostalgia Factory" has an excellent sound a minute in that reminds me of RUSH for some reason, and then it changes to a good beat after 1 1/2 minutes with vocals to follow. Nice guitar 3 1/2 minutes in and then it breaks off into a spacey passage to end it. "Space Transmission" and "Message From A Self-Destructing Turnip" are both kind of strange with spoken words. Psychedelic at it's extreme I guess you could say. "Radioactive Toys" has some nice heavy guitar melodies and slowly pounding drums. Then 4 minutes in we get spacey interlude before the main melody returns. More great guitar to follow. "Nine Cats" is my favourite and it has strummed guitar and vocals as bubbling synths and guitar join in.

"Hymn" has some strange vocal sounds and synths. Another experimental piece. "Footprints" is one of my favourites. It again reminds me of Syd Barrett era PINK FLOYD. Spoken words, acoustic guitar and synths are contrasted with the outbreaks that follow throughout this tune. "Linton Samuel Dawson" hmmm...LSD ? Anyway the vocals remind me of Geddy Lee hahaha. This is an upbeat, fun song. I love the synths on "And The Swallows Dance Above The Sun" and it has a good beat as well. "Queen Quotes Crowley" is a funny title and the song is another favourite of mine. Some good guitar with lots of psychedelic affects."No Luck With Rabbits" is a short instrumental of synths, while "Begonia Seductive Scene" has some great sounding acoustic guitar and synths. "The Long Silence" has some aboe in it as well as some terrific vocals from Steven. I love this stuff ! "It Will Rain For A Million Years" opens with the sound of rain and thunder and then synths are added. Lots of atmosphere to this one.The guitar comes in and then flute, the guitar is Gilmour-like. Reserved vocals arrive 5 minutes in as the guitar cries out. Another fantastic song !

There are 7 songs on this record that are amazing. My favourite is "Nine Cats" while "Radioactive Toy" and "It Will Rain For A Million Years" round out my top three. This is an excellent PINK FLOYD inspired release from PORCUPINE TREE that I highly recommend.

Review by ZowieZiggy
2 stars These are rather hesitant debuts. Well not actually debut since most of the tracks were only featured on demo cassettes. But for easier access to these songs, it was a good idea to get them in the CD format, potentially remastered in 1997.

It is also a one-man work since Steven Wilson plays all the instruments. There will be some very good songs featured. Only for these ones, this album is of deep interest for die-hard PT fans.

When you listen to "Jupiter Island" I can only compare it to the early Floyd : psychedelia like I like it while "Third Eye Surfer" is truely spacey. "Nostalgia Factor" also deserves your attention : repetitive, smooth vocals, great beat,and good synths for one of the best songs from this album. Another fave of mine is "Radio active Toy" (covered by "Riverside" during some live acts). Truely space-rock. A pleasant "voyage", full of crying guitar.

The gentle "Nine Cats" is also close to some Floyd work ("Piper", "ASOS"). Very nice melody, and such a sweet song. Like "Begonia Seduction Scene".

"This Long Silence" almost sounds as "A Forest" (The Cure). More upbeat than the other songs of this release and quite successful. It is also a highlight on this album. It is very welcome after a succession of weaker songs. Definitely needed to raise the quality to a decent level.

There will also be some experimental music which is not my cup of tea ("Music For The Head", "On The Sunday Of Life", "Message...", "Hymn", "Queen Quotes...", "No Luck". Fortunately all of these are shortly formatted.

Several songs won't range into either one of these two categories : "Footprints", "Linton...", "And The Swollows...". Just average songs, fully dispensible.

"Space Transmission" and its apocaliptical recitation about an earth without sun is only interesting for some listenings, but you could barely listen to it on a regular basis and "It Will Rain For A Million Years" only displays, here and there, some pleasant spacey sturcture. But almost eleven minutes of this is a bit too much.

This album is lenghty and since most of the good tracks are located on the first half of the album except "Long Slence", it is a bit indigest while you reach the end of it. If it would have been cut by thirty minutes or so, I guess that few would have complained. As such, this album is only for die-hard fans (even if four songs or so are realy valuable).

Two stars.

Review by Prog Leviathan
2 stars If the listener goes in knowing what to expect-- namely that "On the Sunday of Life" sounds nothing like anything else ever released by the band-- then the shock of hearing this very ambient and eccentric collection of songs will probably go over a lot smoother than it did for me during my first listen. It's been a long time since I backtracked through Steven Wilson's extensive catalogue, and I warn fans of Porcupine Tree doing the same to be wary when approaching this one-- it is not at all like the big art-rock they put out today.

"Sunday of Life" is a proto-type of the band's well respected early sound, recorded and performed entirely by SW. The emphasis is on atmosphere, effects, and going on a musical journey that is sometimes exciting and sometimes frustrating-- but always weird, which is a big part of its charm. Wilson's guitar work is deceptively good here, at first coming across as somewhat repetitive and bland but blooming into dynamic soundscapes which stand side-by-side with his layered keyboard. His voice retains a higher register than we hear today, and his lyrics are positively bizarre. Highlights include "Radioactive Toy" (the only song which sounds similar to later material, and is still played live), as well as the follow-up "Nine Cats", which features fun lyrics and a beautiful vocal delivery.

To sum up, "Sunday of Life" is by no means bad, but when compared to later output just doesn't hold up. Still, I highly recommend this to dedicated Steven Wilson fans, as well as those who prefer PT's more psychedelic albums to their contemporary hard rock ones.

Songwriting: 2 Instrumental Performances: 3 Lyrics/Vocals: 2 Style/Emotion/Replay: 3

Review by russellk
3 stars Out of place, out of time, an in-joke, anything you like, this 'debut' is still an impressive collection of sounds and sentiments signalling STEVEN WILSON's prodigious talent.

'Debut' is in inverted commas because this collection is culled from two previously issued cassettes. These cassettes are contemporaneous with the first material issued by NO-MAN, of whom WILSON was a part. So this is less of a debut and more of a 'story so far'.

The material here is unabashedly psychedelic, a throwback to the late 1960s, WILSON's pretence at being a real band. I suspect there's a degree of retrospective embarrassment at this effort, though there ought not to be. Yes, much of the material is dispensable, but it certainly reflects the period he is trying to simulate. With drugged-out lyrics (not WILSON's, by and large, which explains why they're so much more upbeat than anything he's done since) and trippy music, WILSON manages to make his tape loops, electronic drums and overdubbed instruments sound like a real band.

There are plenty of highlights, not just the well-known worthy tracks such as 'Radioactive Toy' and 'Nine Cats', but also the weird 'Space Transmission', the druggy 'Jupiter Island' - a counterpart to 'Itchycoo Park' - and the ambient 'It Will Rain For A Million Years'.

This is not indispensable PORCUPINE TREE. In fact, it's not really PORCUPINE TREE at all. But it's enormous fun. It's just the sort of thing you ought to listen to as an antidote to some of the more pompous offerings out there - including, dare I say it, some of Mr. WILSON's own latter efforts.

Review by progrules
2 stars I must say I'm astonished about the average for this album so far (3,20!). I already intended to do this one today and was curious what other people thought of this unofficial debut by PT. I expected an average of at least one point lower but see: surprise surprise. The only reason I can think of that this is still a respected effort by this great English band is the only track that is worthwhile but then I mean really worthwhile: Radioactive toy. This is a PT-classic, one of there best songs ever !

But that's all I can think of because the rest is really extremely poor and then I'm talking about ratings between 1 and 2 stars. The best I can say about the rest is that there are some strange compositions amongst them, maybe there are people that feel attracted to this kind of ... (I wanted to say rubbish, but one the progarchiverules is: no abusive language). The other possibility is that they love Radioactive Toy so much that they give 3 stars (or even more) for the entire album. I have no such intentions because I feel you have to give a fair review for a whole album. So I give 2 stars and if it weren't for the mentioned song it would even have been one. Still I can think of 3 reasons to get this album: 1) Radioactive toy 2) to complete your PT-collection 3) to hear what PT was like in their early days just out of sheer curiosity.

Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars This young man shows promise!

"On the Sunday of life" is where it all began for Porcupine Tree, who started out as a side project of Steve Wilson's from his work with No Man (yes, No Man actually came first). Those who have come to know the band through their more recent releases such as "Stupid Dream" and "In absentia", (and even those whose came across them around the time of "Coma devine" or "The sky moved sideways") should approach this album with a measure of caution. The band (this is in reality a solo album) were very much in their infancy at this time, still looking for a solid direction and experimenting with various styles and sounds. With the benefit of hindsight, "On the Sunday of life" can initially be seen as being too diverse, and lacking in any sort of focus.

Originally consisting of two separate cassettes ("Tarquin's Seaweed Farm" and "The Nostalgia Factory"), the album was brought together as a single piece for CD release. Some of the compositions, such as "Footprints" and "Jupiter Island", stem from Wilson's adolescent days. Unlike subsequent albums, on a number of songs, Wilson is not the main lyric writer here; that responsibility being assumed by his teenage friend Alan Duffy. Consequently, there are many abstract and impenetrable (drug influenced?) lyrics. While Wilson himself would make many overt references to drugs on later albums, he has subsequently indicated that he was not always comfortable setting lyrics written by a third party to music which he was composing, especially when he was not actually collaborating with the lyricist.

Most of these tracks went from conception to finished product in a very short space of time, written and recorded in Wilson's home studio without any post-production or convoluted arrangements. Even when the "best" tracks from the two source cassettes were brought together to form this album, the intention was not to create something for the mass market. It is only through the inquisitiveness of fans of the band that this has become a widely available album at all.

With the foregoing in mind, we should perhaps not expect too much from this debut, and that is certainly the best way to approach it. Here we have no less than 18 tracks running to over 75 minutes. It is advisable to keep the remote control handy when playing the album, to facilitate skipping over the dodgiest pieces.

The opening instrumental "Music for the head" is actually strongly indicative of the ambient, spacey, psychedelic influences which would adorn the succeeding albums. It is one of a number of such instrumentals. The title track (originally called "Clarinet Vignette/Nun's cleavage(right)") is particularly notable for the inclusion of oboe prior to the piece completely degenerating. "Jupiter island" on the other hand is firmly rooted in the sounds of the 60's, Wilson's vocals being decidedly Marc Bolan like. The Floydian instrumental backing is pure Barrett, with suitably floating sounds. Considering the severe limitations of the source medium, the sound on this track, and indeed on the album as a whole (I have the 2004 Snapper remaster) is wonderfully crisp and clear. "The nostalgia factory" continues the Barrett era style, Wilson's vocals sounding distinctly influenced by helium.

The feature track is undoubtedly "Radioactive toy", a song which would go on to become a live favourite and a highlight on the "Coma divine" album. There is no doubt this is the closest we come to trademarks of the band we now know as Porcupine Tree, including distorted vocals, a heavy rhythm and incisive guitar. This was the only track Wilson completely re-recorded for the album.

"Nine cats" continues to emphasise the eclectic nature of the album, being initially a soft, reflective piece with delicate vocals. As the track develops, the guitar subtly loudens to an abrupt conclusion. "Footprints" has suggestions of the dramatic structure which distinguished the much later "This is no rehearsal", with quiet verses alternating with suddenly loud choruses.

Tracks such as "Linton Samuel Davidson" and "And the swallows dance above the sun" continue to absorb the early Floyd influences while providing tantalising glimpses of the path the band would follow. "No luck with rabbits" is one of the tracks where the experimentation goes into overdrive, the entire piece consisting of distortions of recordings of a musical box.

"The long silence" is another track which offers a good indication of what is to follow, the piece sounding genuinely impressive as a result of the remastering. The album closes with a final nod to pink Floyd, but this time their Gilmour era, the 10 minute "It will rain for a million years" featuring some fine lead guitar work supported by a heavy rhythm.

In all, while "On the Sunday of life" lacks the focus and clear cut character of its successors, that is the paradoxically the album's strength. The diversity of the music and styles here can be disconcerting, but those who persist will be rewarded with a veritable wealth of sounds created by an enthusiastic young man with an exceedingly bright future.

Review by progaardvark
COLLABORATOR Crossover/Symphonic/RPI Teams
4 stars On the Sunday of Life was Porcupine Tree's first studio album, comprising of songs that were originally on two cassette-only releases that came out prior to On the Sunday of Life. These were titled Tarquin's Seaweed Farm (1989) and The Nostalgia Factory (1990). The music on this debut album was done almost entirely by its founder Steven Wilson who had made up the entire Porcupine Tree thing as a fictional band and treated it as some sort of charade. He recorded the contents of this album in his own home on his own equipment and was inspired primarily by the psychedelic bands of the 1970s. Although Wilson was preoccupied with his No Man project at the time, Porcupine Tree began receiving interest from the music press and Wilson began seeing Porcupine Tree as potentially marketable. After signing with Delirium, Wilson was invited to make a double album containing the music from the previous two cassette releases. However, Wilson decided instead to take the best songs from both cassettes and release it as a single album.

On the Sunday of Life is a collection of peculiar tunes, chiefly spacey and psychedelic in nature. There are shorter pieces of spoken word fed through elaborate effects (like Ummagumma-era Pink Floyd), odd-sounding songs like Jupiter Island which are reminiscent of Syd Barrett in some ways, and some beautiful atmospheric guitar work on songs like Radioactive Toy and The Nostalgia Factory. The lyrics are very Floydian like (before Waters went off on a tirade). Wilson apparently comes from the Gilmour school of guitar playing as Gilmour's influences are quite pronounced (Barrett also showing as an influence). Many have stated that Porcupine Tree's music of the 1990s is what Pink Floyd should have really been doing. Quite a compliment and I'm in perfect agreement with it. But I wouldn't go as far as saying Porcupine Tree was a clone, because the atmospherics Wilson creates are quite unique and would be the hallmark of the band's sound for many years to come.

A superb debut. Maybe a bit too long, maybe needing a little more development, but overall a wonderful listen. Highly recommended to fans of psychedelic and spacey, ethereal music. Easily a four-star effort.
Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars "On The Sunday Of Life..." is the official debut full-length studio album by UK progressive rock act Porcupine Tree. The album was released through Delerium Records in May 1992. It was preceded by the two demo cassette tape albums "Tarquin's Seaweed Farm (1989)" and "The Nostalgia Factory (1991)" and the demo EP "The Love, Death & Mussolini (1990)". The material on "On The Sunday Of Life..." are culled either directly from those three releases, or are re-arranged, re-recorded, or otherwise edited (and even re-titled) versions of tracks from the three demo releases.

So if youīre familiar with the preceding demo releases, it wonīt come as a surprise that "On The Sunday Of Life..." isnīt the most stylistically coherent release as Steven Wilson experimented greatly with both musical elements and production techniques in those years, and therefore youīll be exposed to anything from droning ambient soundscapes, to driving psychadelic rock tracks and long jams, to spoken word sections, to samples, to comedy rock tracks featuring pitched helium mouse vocals, and all sorts of other musical elements. I guess it all falls under the psychadelic rock umbrella, but "On The Sunday Of Life..." is an album thatīll challenge most listeners not accustomed to very eclectic album releases or those preferring a body of recorded work in a coherrent style.

Wilson has tweaked the original recordings, made overdubs and remixes, and itīs audible that the sound quality is of a slightly higher quality on the album than the case were on the three demo recordings where the tracks are pulled from. The quality of the material is a bit up and down, but some of the highlights are "Jupiter Island", "The Nostalgia Factory", "Footprints", and "Radioactive Toy". Upon conclusion "On The Sunday Of Life..." isnīt the strongest nor the most promising debut album by Porcupine Tree, and itīs hard to know what to expect from the band on their next release (if we didnīt have the advantage of hindsight). In that respect itīs probably an album which left contemporary listeners a little confused. To me it has been a grower. I started out not appreciating the album much, but repeated spins have revealed at least a handful of good quality tracks and at least as many decent quality ones, and Iīd say a 3 star (60%) rating isnīt all wrong.

(Originally posted on Metal Music Archives)

Review by The Crow
2 stars The beginning of this Steve Wilson's project called Porcupine Tree was a compilation of different ideas, songs and demos from the late 80's and beginning 90's under the name On the Sunday of Life... And it's a really irregular compilation.

This could be a good album, but the amount of silly and tasteless tracks included on it spoil part of the work... Some great tracks like Radioactive Toy and The Nostalgia Factory, they lose part of their bright when we hear them together with nonesenses like Linton Samuel Davison, Third Eye Surfer, No Luck With Rabbits... Ok, I love the psichodelic touch that Steve Wilson gives to every Porcupine Tree's release, but in this album this psichodelic elements are not really good used, and sometimes the lack of quality on them make this album a little dull to listen to... There's is too much rubbish here, in my humble opinion.

Excellent Songs: The Nostaliga Factory, Radioactive Toy and The Long Silence.

Good Songs: Jupiter Island, Nine Cats, and It will rain for a Million Years.

Listenable Songs: Footprints, And the Swallows dance above the Sun, Queen Quotes Crowley and Begonia Seduction Scene.

The rest is easily forgettable...

Conclusion: I think that only 6 really good tracks between 18 are not enough... But I have to say some tracks like Radioactive Toy and The Long Silence are great, and they give a good idea about the music that Steve Wilson would make along the years with Porcupine Tree. So this album is interesting for Porcupine Tree's fans. The rest will not find an special interesting album here... Although I think some tracks of this album are a must for progressive rock with psichodelic influences's lovers.

My rating: **1/2

Review by Queen By-Tor
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars A space transmission indeed.

Not for the feint of heart, or the core progger, Porcupine Tree's [PT] ''Debut'' is definately a strange one. I say ''Debut'', because this is really a compilation of material from PT's previous eps that are now only something of legend. It's also good to note that at this point the band was nothing more than Mr. Wilson doing some experimenting on the side of his other bands , thus, he's really the only one on the album, with a few guests of course. None the less, while strange this is definately a good album that demands listening to from people who want to now where this band started.

The roots go deep, and only some of the material on here is even remotely like what PT would later become. Quirky songs like JUPITER ISLAND, THE NOSTALGIA FACTORY and LINTON SAMUEL DAWSON will make the prog-goers cock their heads in bewilderment, while other may simply bounce with delight over the strangitude of the heightened vocals and quirky music. This is obviously not the direction PT chose to go, and people who listen to them in this era of their life will simply be astounded that evil frontman Steve actually has a sense of humor.

Structurally this album is odd as well. Eighteen songs, only a few reaching the 5 minute mark, definately not something the PT fan is used to. Some of the songs are pure throwaways, intro-outros to other songs, while some are simply bizarre and incredibly creepy in the case of something like SPACE TRANSMISSION. Ultimately, though, these short songs do add to the album and the style they were trying to achieve.

This album would be a fan-only recommendation if not for a couple true moments of brilliance. The song NINE CATS has a very peculiar charm to it, it's very pretty while still in the style of PT. IT WILL RAIN FOR A MILLION YEARS is a sign of things to come, the 10+ minute song definately hints in the direction of prog for the band and sounds like something out of their Up The Downstair years. It's RADIOACTIVE TOY, however, that steals the show. Creepy, long, well constructed and well composed, RADIOACTIVE TOY is one of PT's finest moments even to this day. Certainly the direction the band chose to take after the first album and likely the precursor to their Deadwing era with it's dark lyrics and music. Steven Wilson proves his talent on this single track and luckily manages to carry out it's promise to this day.

So everything aside, what does the album get?

3 stars, good, but not essential. While tracks such as the spectacular RADIOACTIVE TOY are a must, there is far too much material on this album that may not appeal to the non-PT-fan. Even fans of PT's current work should be warned, as this is a whole 'nother beast. Great album, if quite an aquired taste.

Review by ProgBagel
3 stars Porcupine Tree - 'On the Sunday of Life.' 3 stars

Well now, time to get around to Porcupine Tree's stuff. Porcupine Tree is my favorite modern band. There is just so much to their evolution. They are always combining new elements and ideas to give each new album a fresh display of power. This band is more of a project of Steven Wilson alone, backed with some great musicians. This album, and for a few to come, only have him as not only the composer, but the performer with all the instrumentation (except for drums mainly).

'On the Sunday of Life' is more of a compilation then an album. The songs are taken from two cassette releases: 'Tarquin's Seaweed Farm' and 'The Nostalgia Factory' in the years 1989 and 1991 respectively. Regardless, this is an important album for Porcupine Tree. This album branches out all of the possibilities that the band could have taken the road down. The song that can somewhat be a reference is 'Radioactive Toy', and there is none other even close to that on the album!

I'm not much of a fan of Psychedelic music (yet!), but I can certainly say this is not a bad CD by any means. It has the humorous lyrics and the spacey atmosphere, a trademark of the genre, I guess.

The main instrument focus is on the guitar and keyboards. In my opinion, the guitar was quite outdone by the keyboard work. To me, there seemed to be a greater amount of maturity and focus on a 'trippy' feel with the keyboards. Also, there are quite a few decent chops thrown in here and there. The guitar work was by no means negative, but there is a really big presence of Gilmour in Wilson's guitar playing. It was only notable in the solos, which were pretty impressive, especially on the best song on the album 'Radioactive Toy'. The drums were created by a machine and were extremely annoying, just constant unfulfilling beats.

The album contains some decent psyche material, enough to call this a good album, nothing more or less. If one checks this material out without expecting the same amount of grace you will receive from future PT releases, it's once again, a good album.

Review by LiquidEternity
3 stars Yeah, three is about right. Maybe a bit less, but the whole rounding thing, you know? It's got its moments, it's got its fun, but it's just a bit too disjointed to really pull through as an album. Most of the tracks can't stand well on their own, and kind of need the album surrounding them to sound like much. Unfortunately, it isn't quite cohesive enough to really save these songs. Tracks like Jupiter Island and Linton Samuel Dawson are pretty awesomely weird, though. If you really enjoy Porcupine Tree, and can bebop to Up the Downstair or The Sky Moves Sideways, I bet you'll like this one well enough. However, if you don't like really, really strange music, or if you want some more structured music and less aimless sound-meanderings, be careful with this release.

It's fun, but nothing remotely essential.

Review by poslednijat_colobar
4 stars Here is the point where one of the biggest trips in the world of progressive and psychedelic rock begins! The first album by then - totally amateur project by hobby musician - Steven Wilson (according to him this is great old fictional progressive rock band from the 70s). In fact it's very good album for man who make it just for fun. Definitely, it's the most psychedelic album by Porcupine Tree. On the Sunday of Life..... is much more psychedelic, than progressive and it's the sole album in this way.

The sound is too much programmed! Some of the instruments have an artificial sound, because of the way they were made. It wasn't real instrument in most of the cases, nut just a software programme. For the qualities of that kind of synthesizers at the beginning of the 90s, it result is pretty good with this album. The artificial sound is easy discernible in bass guitar and drums of the album or the whole rhythm section of the music as well as the keyboards. I feel the only real music here are the vocals (made by the mouth of Steven Wilson) and guitars (made by his own hands hands with guitar). But all these thoughts aren't obstacle for me to like this album very much. Its songwriting is really charming. Although, the sound is not compact, because of all these programmes, the song are very fresh and pure samples of classic qualified psychedelic rock.

Other negative moment in the album are the repetitions. Sometimes they are not so inappropriate things, but when it comes to so long album, they are definitely inappropriate. Pink Floyd's influence begin up from this album and continues all around Porcupine Tree's history. Very much people connect Porcupine Tree with Pink Floyd and I confess that, too! Some of Porcupine Tree's albums become sacrifices, because of this similarity; but not this one. It's original, not plagiarism. The negative moments I explained earlier just prevent On the Sunday of Life..... to be psychedelic masterpiece, but not to be Excellent addition to any psychedelic music collection! Surely above the edge... 3.75 stars!!!

Inexhaustible source of psychedelic music. Great debut for Porcupine Tree. The best songs here are Jupiter Island, The Nostalgia Factory, Radioactive Toy, Footprints, This Long Silence, but there're not weak parts on the album at all!

Highly recommended for psychedelic fans!

Quite recommended for guitar solo and melodic fans!

Recommended for all progressive music fans!

Review by Conor Fynes
2 stars 'On The Sunday Of Life...' - Porcupine Tree (4/10)

Let me begin this review by saying Porcupine Tree is one of my favourite bands of all time, and I am firm in my opinion that Steven Wilson is one of the most musically innovative and talented guys out there in music. His warm, emotive sensibilities in music have touched me beyond much I've ever heard in my musical journey. Keeping this in mind (and having delved deep into masterpieces such as 'Deadwing,' 'Fear Of A Blank Planet' and 'Lightbulb Sun') my expectations for the band's (or should I say; Steven Wilson's) debut work was pretty high.

Although I obviously wasn't expecting something as well-directed as one of their modern works, I still find myself rather dissapointed by the overall package that is 'On The Sunday Of Life.' There are parts here that are interesting and fun to listen to, but overall, it has very few of the qualities that made me fall in love with Porcupine Tree in the first place.

For the first thing, it has very little cohesion as a whole. This may be a result of -however- that 'On The Sunday Of Life' isn't a regular debut album per se, but rather a compilation of their earliest demos; a best-of collection of their early material to make a super-album of sorts. There is certainly quite a bit of material on here, and it's quite uncommon for an artist to have their debut album function as a double album. But while the prospect of having two CDs worth of PT material to dig into is appetizing, nontheless the material simply doesn't work together too well.

This is the sort of album where there's alot of track skipping involved. However, keeping this in mind, there are songs on here I do quite like. The best two songs on here are also the two longest tracks; the classic 'Radioactive Toy' and the ambient closer 'It Will Rain For A Million Years.' Other songs that stood out were 'Nine Cats' (a pleasing acoustic song) and the maddeningly catchy 'Jupiter Island,' which although not being the greatest musically, is contagious in it's fun and whimsical nature. It sorta sounds like a marriage of hippy flower-power and a soundtrack to a cheap 80's science fiction program.

'On The Sunday Of Life' was dissapointing, but I think that in it's context, it's an important step for the band. Many fans of the band will find this distasteful, but it does have it's good side. As a whole however, I was rather dissapointed.

Review by EatThatPhonebook
4 stars 8/10

"On The Sunday Of Life..." is a box full of toys, an album full of surprises.

I can't believe how underrated this album is. Seems like nobody understood what On The Sunday Of Life is; it's not a naive and immature album like many debut albums, quite the contrary, it is so profound that it scares me.

Now all the snob critics might think that I'm naive, and perhaps they're right. But I'll never stop loving this album, it is amazing from start to finish, a hymn to the most sincere psychedelic music. But not only that: On the Sunday Of life is a near perfect succession of strange short songs, all instrumental, and long melodic, creepy, nostalgic songs that always have given me feelings that rarely I've found with the listening of an album.

OTSOL is also an unbelivable journey through the genius and kind of childish mind of Steven Wilson; at the time, in fact Porcupine Tree was a one man band, and the other musicians were simply considered guests. and finally, OTSOL is a box full of toys, an album full of surprises and unusual music, so incredibly original and beautiful that rarely today you can find something like that, and Steven Wilson after this was never able to make music like this, even though PT's discography is full of masterpieces, and some are even better, but none of them are so weird yet so intelligent, other than beautiful. An absolute masterpiece, essential to anyone who loves psychedelic rock, and not only.

Review by Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars On the Sunday of Life is a somewhat clumsy but entirely charming debut. It contains a myriad of styles of which Radioactive Toy has served as a template for many future Porcupine Tree compositions in the years following this release. I don't listen to it regularly but when I do it's sure to bring multiple smiles to my face.

A few picks.

Music for The Head is so typical for Wilson, eclectic as he is, he usually doesn't create anything that hasn't been done before but his excellent judgement and ear for recognizing a good tune frequently make him surpass his examples. Music for the Head breathes early Tangerine Dream through all its pores and easily equals the best moments from Alpha Centauri. The album has a number of attractive psychedelic tracks. Sometimes the recording is a bit primitive and the high-pitched tune and vocal effects will not please everyone, but the song writing qualities can not be denied. Jupiter Island, The Nostalgia Factory, Nine Cats and especially And The Swallows Dance are fine examples of that style. Footprints and Linton Samuel Dawson remain below that level.

Radioactive Toy is the highlight and the most widely appreciated moment of this album. Didn't anyone point out yet how much this is inspired by the kraut scene again. The slowly grooving pace and bass line are an obvious nod to Weissensee from the first Neu! album. Not the first time Wilson would nick something from that kraut monument.

Many of the short instrumentals I didn't mention will mostly please kraut fans, some of them may be a bit indulgent but after all, at this stage Porcupine Tree was still meant as a joke-project next to Wilson's main band No-man. Eventually things turned out the other way and Porcupine Tree became the most successful project. 3.5 stars

Review by Finnforest
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR 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.

Review by Warthur
4 stars Porcupine Tree's musical evolution over the years has taken them through a range of different sounds and styles, and few releases show this more clearly than their debut album. On the Sunday of Life is a compilation of the best tracks from the preceding self-published cassette releases, with the songs being given a loving remaster and some reworkings here and there.

At this point in time, Porcupine Tree was essentially a Steven Wilson solo project with a few guest appearances from friends here and there, and the sound Wilson was pursuing sat right on the borderline between the naive whimsicality of psychedelia and the soaring, proggy dreamscapes of space rock; overall, I'd put the album on the space rock side of the line, but only just.

If you're coming to the album after experiencing the band's later work, then most of it will seem completely bizarre - aside from the epic Radioactive Toy, which pointed the way to the direction the band would pursue in future - but approach it with an open mind and a receptiveness to psychedelic silliness and you'll find it a confident and capable update of the style.

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Review 450 of this album....

Porcupine Tree's debut "On The Sunday Of Life?" is a strange oddity compiled from two prior cassette releases "Tarquin's Seaweed Farm" (1989) and "The Nostalgia Factory" (1990). Nobody cared about the band back then but it is nice to revisit the past after hearing how brilliant this band became. If you are lookin for the masterpiece material of "In Absentia", "Deadwing", or "Fear of a Blank Planet" you beter look elsewhere as you are not going to find it here. This music on the debut is psychedelic and spacey beyond belief. It is raher astonishing as to where the band came from. They were deep into Hawkwind sounds merged with psychedelica.

Songs such as space rocker 'Jupiter Island' are as far removed from recent Porcupine Tree as one can imagine. It even features spacey Hawkwind guitar lead, and a chugging hypno rhythm. The vocals are a real surprise, Wilson's soft gentle touches are absent as he focuses on psychedelic tones, and a freak out coda with sonic space sounds is the climax.

The psychedelic tracks are akin to early Pink Floyd or 13th Floor Elevators or The Sonics. 'Third Eye Surfer' and 'On the Sunday of Life' exude experimental druggy atmospheres, sounding like Acid Mothers Temple & The Melting Paraiso U.F.O. Most of the tracks are similar, very psychedelic and trippy, but there are some genuine highlights to mention. 'The Nostalgia Factory' has a nice keyboard motif driving it and at last some actual tempos, sounding like a song, with a great wah-wah lead guitar.

The next great moment you can skip to is 'Radioactive Toy', a classic live song for the band and it is a definitive highlight on this hodge podge album. I love the infectious tine and the killer lead work at the end is incredible. I love the melody of 'Nine Cats' that follows and lifts the album up after a sea of mediocrity. Following this is 'Hymn', that should be renamed ho- hum, very bland tripped out noise, then 'Footprints' follows (no pun intended), with dreamy keys and acoustics, and some dull spoken poetry, returning to psychedelica.

Overall this is a curio for PT collectors only. Tread carefully as you travel back through time before Steven Wilson actually produced excellent albums.

Review by siLLy puPPy
4 stars Although this is the first official PORCUPINE TREE release it wasn't at all the beginning. Everyone knows that PORCUPINE TREE is really the talent of Steven Wilson dressed up as a band and that is not to dismiss the talent of the members who have contributed to this prolific band's wonderful sounds over the decades but the fact remains that Wilson is the conductor and main talent on board. This first album is really a compilation of the the material that he began created as a joke actually. The idea actually started all the way back in 1987 when Steven Wilson and Malcolm Stocks decided to make a fictional band that was influenced by psychedelic space rock music especially in the Pink Floyd arena. They went to great lengths to create a faux history and personas. Sounds to me like it was meant to be a Pink Floyd inspired Spinal Tap thing. Although intended to be a joke while focusing on his "real" band called No-Man, Steven released a couple of cassette only albums and they proved to catch the attention of the right people who decided that some of this material actually had a place in the market.

That brings us to the debut album ON THE SUNDAY OF LIFE. Although officially the first album, this is really a compilation of tracks off the cassette recordings that Wilson created on his then newly purchased recording equipment. The great thing about this album is as stated in the liner notes, namely that this album really represents all the possible avenues that Wilson could have gone down. Although there are clear moments of those that he did go down in the form of the psychedelic rock and crossover prog with beautifully melancholic melodies in a rock context, there are many tracks on this album that do not represent any of the later PORCUPINE TREE albums in the least. There are industrial rock tracks, new age ambient tracks and highly experimental ones that remind me more of the indie pop band Ween. It is clear from this debut album that Steven Wilson is a formidable talent who is more than capable of developing several branches of music. This is a remarkable album. I just love it. It was more than I ever could have expected coming to this after hearing most of the later albums. What we have here is a clear indicator that Steven Wilson was a hugely talented musician capable of greatness and in that regard he hasn't disappointed. Unfortunately the collective rating on this is unjust. This is eclectic to say the least but I enjoy every single track on this and contemplate all the possible avenues Steven Wilson could have taken. A very interesting album that displays Wilson at a stage before he had a fanbase and had to focus on that aspect of his music.

Review by Neu!mann
3 stars Porcupine Tree didn't exist as an actual band when this first official album was released in 1992. So it makes sense that the effort was an ersatz affair, cobbled together from a pair of older audio- cassette recordings made by a precocious youngster named Steve Wilson, barely out of his teens at the time.

The fantasy 'band' would later come to vivid life as a legitimate group. But in the beginning Wilson imagined them as post-modern, psychedelic teeny-boppers, with fanciful stage names like Timothy Tadpole-Jones and Sir Tarquin Underspoon. The band's drummer, much like the nominal Echo of earlier Bunnymen fame, was a rhythm box known as The Expanding Flan.

The music itself is mostly atmospheric jams with ambient filler, anchored by several outright, airtight pop songs, many of them sporting odd, processed vocals making Wilson resemble Alvin the Chipmunk (in "The Nostalgia Factory"), or a pre-pubescent Geddy Lee (in "Linton Samuel Dawson", name-checking a non-existent light-show operator: Porcupine Tree's own imaginary Pete Sinfield). At least one song, the bouncy "Jupiter Island", sounds atypically not unlike a techno-pop Thomas Dolby hit. And the punchline is further telegraphed by titles recalling Monty Python ("No Luck With Rabbits") or The Mothers of Invention ("Message From a Self-Destructing Turnip").

Much of the album is hard to reconcile with the distinctive Heavy Prog of later PT releases, although a measure of foreshadowing can be heard in the fan favorite "Radioactive Toy", and the nearly eleven-minute "It Will Rain For a Million Years". The former in particular, with its convincing Dave Gilmour guitar mimicry, helped earn the fledgling band its now overused nickname of Porcupink Floyd.

Steve Wilson may have invented the fictitious group as a joke, but without real musicians he wouldn't be able to fashion anything like a stable musical identity until after the project took on a life of its own. There are times when he overplays his youthful enthusiasm, in the abundance of backward tape effects, random voice samples, and so on. And at 75-minutes the album might have been effectively condensed even further from its original sources. But for a homemade studio experiment it offers ample proof of Wilson's skill and confidence on either side of the microphone: as a producer and a performer.

Consider it as a collection of unpolished demo recordings...not for an upcoming album, but for an entire future band.

Review by Zitro
3 stars What Is it? The debut solo album of Steven Wilson (under the name of Porcupine Tree) is a compilation of tunes reaching back to his teenage years. A very diverse album with no common theme, other than frequent attempts at humor and a general 60s psychedelia sound. On The Sunday of Life is an immature and incoherent album, but with beautiful, eerie, arresting soundscapes and decent rock instrumentation that may surprise the reluctant listener.

Voice (2 stars) ' Steven Wilson's voice is generally subdued and does not dominate the disc. His singing ranges from talk- singing (Radioactive Toy is particularly boring on this front) to timid melodic singing, to high-pitched comical (sure ') singing, and the occasional dramatic bits that work quite well. Other than the attempts at comedy, the voice is neither distracting nor impressive ' just there.

Sound (3.5 stars) - I have to admit, this debut is rather impressive and shows incredible promise on the young artist. The pristine sound quality is unmatched until his first real band album (Signify), the guitar and keyboard instrumentation is often outstanding, the percussion is often trippy and competent when a drum machine is not used. It is hard to be bored musically with this album, other than Jupiter Island and a few comedy-oriented songs with inferior music. What is most memorable to me is the expert crafting of psychedelic soundscapes, instantly worth noticing from the very beginning of the album (music for the head). Some intriguing semi-acoustic instrumental work like in Footprints or Begonia Seduction are so memorable that it is head-scratching why he abandoned those styles. The more traditional psychedelia and space rock have a bigger presence and get explored deeper in later albums, but one of the best examples of this sound from Steven Wilson is here in the extended 'It Will Rain a Million Years' ' a standout in his entire discography.

Song (3 stars) ' The songwriting half the time is quite immature but leaves room for excellent instrumental work. The problems relate to poor melody-making (Radioactive Toy) or some songs being constructed upon ideas that don't quite impress (fortunately, a handful of tunes are superior on this front). It is thankfully relatively free of awkward transitions between songs, possibly because the songs are generally based on few expanded ideas. The technique of building upon a theme is therefore quite competent when he applies it. The best example is 'It Will Rain a Million Years' which pulls you in and develops so seamlessly over a 10 minute duration with a blend of subtle repetition yet progressive structure that never quite climaxes yet ends satisfyingly.

Best Songs: Music for the Head, Third Eye Surfer, Nine Cats, Footprints, Begonia Seduction Scene, and particularly It Will Rain a Million Years ? however, many other tunes have interesting moments.

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Report this review (#2942006) | Posted by PhilC | Monday, July 24, 2023 | Review Permanlink

3 stars On the Sunday of Life was released in 1992. This album is a compilation of material released on both Tarquin's Seaweed Farm and The Nostalgia Factory, though more polished. The major differentiator is that this was the first Porcupine Tree album to be released on a label. On the Sunday of Life is ... (read more)

Report this review (#2903270) | Posted by TheEliteExtremophile | Friday, March 31, 2023 | Review Permanlink

1 stars An average rating of three stars? That's ridiculously high. I mean, it's not terrible or unpleasant to listen but it's seriously one of the most boring and uninteresting albums I have heard in my life, it's miles away from what Steven Wilson would do later on in terms of quality and creativity. ... (read more)

Report this review (#2537984) | Posted by Isaac Peretz | Sunday, April 25, 2021 | Review Permanlink

3 stars This is the debut album of Porcupine Tree, released in 1991. The early sound of PT in this album is pretty much psychedelic and trippy, especially in tracks that are more likely ambient pieces. Quite difficult to digest, and I feel a strong techno-pop elements scattered around the tracks. The wi ... (read more)

Report this review (#2415719) | Posted by Mark-P | Saturday, June 27, 2020 | Review Permanlink

3 stars This was my first PORCUPINE TREE album, and I was blown away when it came out. But looking back now, it's obvious that Steve Wilson has come a LONG way since then. In retrospect, I'd say this is overall a good album:a solid three stars. I never feel the need to skip any tracks, and I still play ... (read more)

Report this review (#1428345) | Posted by Billy900 | Thursday, June 18, 2015 | Review Permanlink

2 stars Lucky for me I know some later Porcupine Tree albums as well... If this was the first album I listened to by the band, I might've given them a miss altogether. Lots of psychedelia in the opening tracks, very Barrett era Floyd sounding tracks. Not that I don't like Pink Floyd just that, this is P ... (read more)

Report this review (#1089860) | Posted by Ozymandias | Saturday, December 14, 2013 | Review Permanlink

2 stars The colours of the album remind me of Katatonia's Discouraged Ones, and I love that album. On The Sunday Of Life is the debut from the hype Porcupine's Tree. Easy listening prog rock. Well, even being a guitarist, I really love the keyboards, and this is another album where keys save the ga ... (read more)

Report this review (#970631) | Posted by VOTOMS | Monday, June 3, 2013 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Porcupine Tree's first album is a quirky offering that will not appeal to everyone, but is still an album that does have some merit. Scattered throughout the 18 tracks are a few great songs, plenty of atmospheric pieces and some just plain oddities. The stand out is the 10 minute epic "Radioac ... (read more)

Report this review (#962658) | Posted by bonestorm | Monday, May 20, 2013 | Review Permanlink

4 stars This is a good album, however it falls down in a few areas, so it would be unfair to give a 5 star rating The biggest problem here is probably the inconsistency ? the album swings wildly from the sublime (Radioactive toy, It will rain for a million years), to the ridiculous (Linton Samuel Da ... (read more)

Report this review (#587614) | Posted by karl1171 | Wednesday, December 14, 2011 | Review Permanlink

2 stars 1/10 This album is miles away from the powerful sound that this band will come in to provide. In fact I would call it a proto-Porcupine Tree. On the Sunday of Life is for Porcupine Tree what When Dream and Day Unite is for Dream Theater - a black sheep, a special case. But I like When Dream ... (read more)

Report this review (#587180) | Posted by voliveira | Monday, December 12, 2011 | Review Permanlink

2 stars The debut album from this soon to become one of the saviours of the prog rock scene this side of the millenium. Not to mention the status Steven Wilson, the leader of this band. The saviour of progressive rock ? Perhaps, yes. Porcupine Tree started out as a mix of British indie and space rock. ... (read more)

Report this review (#559687) | Posted by toroddfuglesteg | Sunday, October 30, 2011 | Review Permanlink

4 stars That 'Message of A Self Destructing Turnip' may well have been: 'This Is The Start of Something Beautiful' Somewhere around the 1990's there was this 'buzz' going on around in the underground psychedelic/space rock scene in the UK about an obscure 1960-1970's band, full of Syd Barrett-influences, o ... (read more)

Report this review (#408138) | Posted by Antennas | Friday, February 25, 2011 | Review Permanlink

3 stars This album is very difficult to swallow, even for a fan of the band. This album is far FAR different than the Porcupine Tree of today. This album has a Pink Floyd feel, but more of a Syd Barret Pink Floyd feel than a Dark Side of the Moon Pink Floyd feel. The lyrics are very abstract and instr ... (read more)

Report this review (#376918) | Posted by thesleeper72 | Sunday, January 9, 2011 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Give me Radioactive Toy On The Sunday Of Life... is listed as the first album by Porcupine Tree however it is merely the compilation of two cassettes, the first being Tarquin's Seaweed Farm and the second is The Nostalgia Factory. As Steven Wilson says this "really is the cream of the cassett ... (read more)

Report this review (#287894) | Posted by Chris M | Tuesday, June 22, 2010 | Review Permanlink

1 stars On the silliness of life... Let me start out by offering my sincerest apologies to the die hard Porcupine Tree fans out there for writing this negative review. But the truth is that, while I love Porcupine Tree's other releases, I just cannot stand this one. The music on this album is a mixt ... (read more)

Report this review (#273688) | Posted by Time Signature | Tuesday, March 23, 2010 | Review Permanlink

2 stars On The Sunday of Life isn't so much a studio album as it is a compilation of tracks previously released under the then pseudonym Porcupine Tree. A good chunk of the songs on this album are complete throwaways, with a couple of exceptions. Tracks like "Jupiter Island" and "Linton Samuel Dawson" ar ... (read more)

Report this review (#253015) | Posted by AgentSpork | Thursday, November 26, 2009 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Porcupine Tree is definitely one of the greatest band from rock history, all their albums are great, more or less experimental, more or less conventional... its a great music to listen. This o album is the first official album from a long list and is a more experimental/psychedelic orientated. ... (read more)

Report this review (#182701) | Posted by chaos8619 | Wednesday, September 17, 2008 | Review Permanlink

2 stars I only picked up on Porcupine Tree two years ago or so, starting with "In Absentia" and "Under the Downstair". I was so impressed that in the intervening period I have subsequently bought all of the remaining studio albums. This is the most disappointing offering from the band, in my opinion, pe ... (read more)

Report this review (#162199) | Posted by alextorres2 | Tuesday, February 19, 2008 | Review Permanlink

3 stars I picked up this album on a whim really. I was in a CD shop with only Ģ10, and it was the only PT album for that price, so I went for it. The first thing I noticed about this album (owning only FOABP and In Absentia) was how incredibly different it was. The second thing I noticed was that despite ... (read more)

Report this review (#156289) | Posted by cynthiasmallet | Saturday, December 22, 2007 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Im proud to have an origianal double vinyl specimen of this album. This is the album that introduced me to Porcupine Tree back in 1993 and it is very personal to me. It has some great tracks, most of the already mentioned in earlier reviews, and some more experimantal phycadelic tracks like. "sp ... (read more)

Report this review (#139549) | Posted by Kastor Lieberug | Friday, September 21, 2007 | Review Permanlink

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