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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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Tristan Mulders
Prog Reviewer
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.

Tristan Mulders | 3/5 |


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