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Underrated band of the week

Porcupine Tree

“Criminally underrated” said an article in Metal Hammer in July 2006, quite frankly it couldn’t be more true. Granted I’ve only really gotten into them in the last few months but I’m now true believer in the great Porcupine Tree.

Definitely part of the upper echelons of prog as far as fans are concerned anyway, Porcupine Tree have built an impressive reputation for themselves through the years. Despite being a band Steve Wilson is more or less the commander and the architect of their masterpieces. From my perception he’s proved he can write any kind of song he chooses, regardless of genre or fans’ expectations. Songs like “Deadwing” from the album of the same name shows that he can pen catchy riffs and hooks but also not compromise an inch of the band’s musical integrity. Meanwhile the delicate “Lazarus” sprawls in its beauty. Further proof can be seen on “Arriving Somewhere But Not Here”, my personal favourite track. It’s 12 minute plus of incalculable progressive ingenuity. It also features a guest solo from none other than Mikael Akerfeldt, which is all good.

I’m fully aware that I’m not running through the albums in chronological order like in previous blogs but this is the order I heard them.

In Absentia, their seventh studio album is, in my opinion, their oeuvre – a towering opus of prog. The Zeppelin-esque acoustic guitar work in “Trains” twinned with Wilson’s elegant voice is just incredible. “Heart Attack In A Lay By” is a such graceful and beautiful composition, despite the title and subject matter it creates a life affirming moment, a stunningly crafted piece of work. “Collapse The Light Into Earth” is quite possibly the greatest album closer ever. The serenity Wilson’s tranquil voice, and dramatic pianism create is wholly entrancing, a masterpiece.

Tracks like Sever from 1996’s Signify demonstrate Wilson’s remarkable vocals. Meanwhile Light Bulb Sun’s “Shesmovedon” has quality a hooky quality but still very much Porcupine Tree, further mesmerising song writing, it also has one fucking unbelievable guitar solo.

Latest album, 2007’s Fear Of A Blank Planet however received mixed reviews from fans and critics alike. But now it’s been described as a slightly lengthier grower taking much, much more than the traditional “multiple listens” to fully unravel itself.

Recommended album: In Absentia

Originally posted: 2nd March 09

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