Wednesday, July 6, 2011

In Praise of Porcupine Tree

I've been listening - rather obsessively I must admit - to Porcupine Tree of late. I started following Porcupine Tree in 2007 but didn't become a full blown fan until now.

Porcupine Tree started life as a parody - a Spinal Tap of progressive rock bands if you will - but as is starting to become common in the irony-drenched era we live in (Sarah Palin anyone?), parody gave way to reality and the mythical 70s supergroup became an actual 90s post-progressive outfit.

Early efforts by Porcupine Tree track the evolution of Pink Floyd rather closely but updated for the 90s - think trance rather than psychedelia. It was not until the middle of naughty oughts (00s) that more mature works like In Absentia and Deadwing appeared. In these two records, Porcupine Tree started including elements of metal and grunge - arguably staking a claim to being really progressive (in the sense of the term). Critical and commercial recognition followed firmly establishing the band as a leading progressive outfit. The two more recent releases - Fear of a Blank Planet and The Incident - showcase the diversity of the band (within the narrow rock context). The former is a clever synthesis of trance, soundscapes, psychedelia and hard rock whereas the latter revisits the concept album motif (popular in the 70s) but is more musically straightforward. As we enter a new decade, the band is a leading live act with band founder Steven Wilson (singer, songwriter and guitarist) hailed as a genius.

Recommended songs:

  1. Anesthetize
  2. Arriving somewhere not here
  3. The Creator has a Mastertape
  4. Time flies
  5. Waiting phase one
  6. Heartattack in a Layby
  7. Start of something beautiful
  8. Way out of here
  9. The sleep of no dreaming
  10. .3