Porcupine Tree - In Absentia

Album cover

  1. Blackest Eyes (4:28)
  2. Trains (6:19)
  3. Lips of Ashes (4:40)
  4. The Sound Of Muzak (4:59)
  5. Gravity Eyelids (7:36)
  6. Wedding Nails (6:33)
  7. Prodigal (5:29)
  8. .3 (5:25)
  9. The Creator Has A Mastertape (6:08)
  10. Heartattack In A Layby (4:15)
  11. Strip The Soul (7:17)
  12. Collapse the Light Into the Earth (7:08)

Lava/Atlantic, 2002

also by Porcupine Tree:

see also... Blackfield, Opeth, Marillion, Pink Floyd

Porcupine Tree's latest has another set of craftily written, colourfully produced songs. There's not much new ground being trod here in their overall style, relative to their last two - we still have the layered vocal-harmony choruses, spacy ambient colouring and and studio polish. However it's strong all the way through and full of ideas.

"Heartattack in a Layby" is a particularly beautiful but disturbing song, building up to a evocative web of interwoven vocal lines. "Lips of Ashes" is backed by a glittering curtain of spangly guitars and keyboard sounds. The infectiously catchy "The Sound of Muzak" is a scathing rant against the music industry, even more bitter and pessimistic than "Four Chords that Made a Millon" from their previous album. "Gravity Eyelids" is so laid back it makes me yawn, which was probably its intention. ".3" has the familiar laid back, Floyd-like feel, but not as powerful as "Russia on Ice" was.

Steven Wilson is clearly fond of metal, as shown by some heavy riffing in a lot of the songs, for example on "Blackest Eyes" and the dark instrumental "Wedding Nails". "The Creator has a Mastertape" has a driving energy with a fast bassline and headbanging rhythm guitar.

Yay! I'm seeing them live in November!

October 16, 2003

8 out of 10

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written and maintained by Christopher Jackson