Aha. The album that really introduced Porcupine Tree as a force to be reckoned with, a “band” and not just a joke, somewhat similar in nature to Spinal Tap, the only difference being that Steven Wilson was making fun of 70’s prog bands. It is the first time Porcupine Tree is used to denote an actual band, as opposed to a pseudonym for Steven Wilson.
Putting that away, this is the album that revealed to me the experimentative, rambling tendencies of the band, as opposed to the meticulous, song oriented approach of later albums. Mind you, I am not saying that later albums do not experiment, just that they do not cover genres in quite the same way as this does. Also, by 1998 Porcupine Tree had almost found their unique prog/metal/symphonic/PT ambience, while here they are just, for the most part, soundscaping around, shall we say? There are significant electronica influences to be seen in The Sky Moves Sideways Part 1, trance beats galore, so on and so forth, let’s not destroy the surprises okay? This album is a must listen, displaying a completely different approach to album making, so you better not ignore this one; this would rank higher on my PT scale than Lightbulb Sun or Stupid Dream, the simple reason being that they are two sides of the same coin, while this is different experience by 180 degrees. It need hardly be said that I use this album to fall into a coma at night after a tiring and hot day in college, with a whisky peg in hand, of course. All those tribal beats and ambient directions, you know, they help.
Oh, and about the Pink Floyd factor. I have read more than once as to how Porcupine Tree is supposed to be the “new” Floyd. Now, I won’t deny that their sound draws heavily from the Floyd, the ambience and the darkness, the long, drawn out lead lines, the soft vocals, yes, but its called “influence” and as long as it sounds good and it is not imitation, which it is not, I don’t give a rats ass. There is a significant part of this album, where you will get a chance to compare this with Floyd’s schtick, especially the guitar solos. Oh, and if there are Floyd fans who have not heard PT, to give them a idea, I would say that In Absentia was their Dark Side of the Moon, while Fear of a Blank Planet can be called their Wish You Were Here. This one can be seen as the Piper at the Gates of Dawn.
Recommended Songs:- N/A. This is not a song album. You need to hear the whole thing, and that I do recommend. Also do remember that this album had two versions, US and UK, and there is this one song, called “Stars Die”, which is absolutely fabulous, and it is to be found only on the US version. So get that too.