Porcupine Tree - In Absentia

Year of Release: 2002
Label: Lava/Atlantic
Catalog Number: n/a
Format: CD
Total Time: 68:18:00

A frequent reminder of the sounds of vintage Pink Floyd can make you comfortably numb, at least it does for those of us that have appreciated the group over the years. Going away ? the impact and influence of that band on so many artists is beyond compare. Porcupine Tree takes a page out of their book but they have also managed to create a rabid following and maintained an awareness of developing their original sound unlike few artists that are actively recording today.

With In Absentia their 2002 release, and first major label recording, they have proved that they are amongst the elite in rock music today. If you find the cover of this CD disturbing, that is only the beginning of what you will find in the music that is underneath the picture. While their music can be beautiful and full of pop polish with layers of instruments, it can also be dark, disturbing, and vicious. To me that is the beauty of what they are. Within one track, you will hear savage electric guitar licks tearing you apart at the seams, acoustic guitars strumming with lovely keyboards that will put you on a fluffy cloud, and then all at once it changes. Like the peeling of an onion, each layer of your sub consciousness mind unravels methodically with the music as you discover what has been lurking beneath those bubbling emotions. What you show on the outside shell of yourself is what everyone sees, but is it the truth? The music coerces you to find a truth even if it has to claw its way out. You see, this band does not care about making hit music, they are interested in art, music that makes a movie unfold in your mind, writing a song rather than banging it out with an expectation and sameness that sells records, and finally ? evolving with each recording they make. They do all of that and come up with a classic for the ages along the lines of something that Gabriel era Genesis, Marillion or Yes was known for.

My god, were do I start with all these great songs? Every one is. "Strip The Soul? is undoubtedly the most prolific, and after you listen to it a few times then watch the bonus video that illustrates the song, you will be ? disturbed. The theme underlying the music's premise is the story of a serial killer, a cancer, or a sickness of a collective family. What I think they are pointing to is the human race in general, not just one particular deranged individual. Let's face it, society, as an entity, is dysfunctional. The music is simply sensational throughout this album, and the fact that they delve deeply into the human psyche and are able to set it to such provocative and completely organized mayhem in their music is a stroke of pure genius. This is music about you and I, who we are and where we are, and where we could be. Our thought processes, which are often filled with dark places that we would rather not talk about, can be visited thanks to brilliant artists like Steven Wilson. I tip my hat to him for having the courage to let the monster within loose for a while to play inside the music. Perhaps if we all unleashed that part of ourselves in a creative positive force like this band does with their music the world would then be a better place.

Music and bands like this are popular and respected for a reason, they have an important message to share and their music is the most expressive vehicle for transmitting their thoughts and emotions. The most beautiful thing about the entire formula is that they are willing to share it all with us. Listen and enjoy?

Blackest Eyes (4:23) / Trains (5:57) / Lips of Ashes (4:39) / The Sound of Muzak (4:59) / Gravity Eyelids (7:57) / Wedding Nails (6:34) / Prodigal (5:32) / 3 (5:26) / The Creator Has a Mastertape (5:21) / Heartattack in a Lay By (4:16) / Strip the Soul (7:22) / Collapse the Light into Earth (5:54)

Richard Barbieri - keyboards
Colin Edwin - bass
Gavin Harrison - drums
Steven Wilson - guitars, keyboards, vocals

Additional musicians:

John Wesley - guitars & vocals
Aviv Geffen - background vocals

On The Sunday Of Life... (1991)
Voyage 34 (1992)
Up The Downstair (1993)
Voyage 34: Remixes (1993)
Staircase Infinities (1994)
Moonloop E.P. (1994)
The Sky Moves Sideways (1995)
Signify (1996)
Coma Divine - Recorded Live In Rome (1997)
Stupid Dream (1999)
Voyage 34 - The Complete Trip (2000/2004/2005
'4 Chords That Made A Million' (2000)
Lightbulb Sun (2000/2008)
'Shesmovedon' (2000)
Lightbulb Sun - Special Edition (2001)
Recordings (2001)
Stars Die: The Delerium Years 1991 - 1997(2002/2005)
Metanoia (2002)
In Absentia (2002)
In Absentia (European version) (2003)
Warszawa (2005)
Deadwing (2005)
Porcupine Tree (2006)
Fear Of A Blank Planet (2007)
Nil Recurring (2008)
The Incident (2009)

Arriving Somewhere... (DVD) (2006)

Genre: Progressive Rock

Origin UK

Added: February 11th 2003
Reviewer: Keith "Muzikman" Hannaleck
Artist website: www.porcupinetree.com
Hits: 959
Language: english


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