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


Porcupine Tree


Heavy Prog

3.04 | 974 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
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.

Neu!mann | 3/5 |


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