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"Take my hand and we'll fly...",
This review is from: On The Sunday Of Life (Audio CD)A world away from Steven Wilson's modern rock explosions and progressive orchestrations, Porcupine Tree's psychedelic genesis "On the Sunday of Life..." is a release that demands obedience from its listener. The obedience to cope with 'Sunday's...' immaturity and happy-go-lucky melodies, the obedience to sit through a 75 minute album that largely consists of interludes and instrumentals. To a relatively fresh Porcupine Tree fan, 'Sunday' might just be a hard one to swallow...
To describe an album that's as psychedelic as 'Sunday' as a 'Cosmic Journey' may seem a little cliché at first, but the way that the listener is sucked into the album's Technicolor nebula makes the notion of an intergalactic trip somewhat hard to deny. The album's introduction, "Music for the Head" is a snake charmer, luring the listener in to a false sense of security before opening a door to another world and locking the door behind them. Before you know it, you're hastily greeted with the thumping snare drums of "Jupiter Island", a playful flight through a colourful and imaginary realm. By this time, 'Sunday' has taken you by the hand and there's no turning back.
The album's sound is generated by an impressive range of well-played instruments, some early, yet interesting effects from Steven Wilson and of course, the master's voice itself, guiding you along with every step.
The sheer range of styles on offer here would normally be enough to shatter the fragile composition of an album, but as we learn from this and later albums, Steven Wilson's ability to create a flowing, continuous piece of music is something that has rarely been challenged. From the inert Soundscapes of "And the Swallows Dance Above the Sun" to the acidic foolishness of "Linton Samuel Dawson", it would seem that there's something for everyone in PT's debut. You may even hear a hint or two to the sounds that Steven would use on many of his later albums (and I'm not just talking about Porcupine Tree!)
After a multitude of sounds and genres, the album ends with a nod to the future, "It Will Rain for a Million Years", a long, melancholy exit from a unforgettable experience, a trait that would become tradition in later PT albums.
"On the Sunday of Life..." though not a masterpiece, is a expedition, an adventure that only those curious enough should brave. If the listener is willing to forget what he/she knows about Porcupine Tree for 75 minutes of their life, then "On the Sunday of Life" can be a fulfilling experience, a cheerful journey...a real gem.
Steven Holland, 2010