Porcupine Tree
On the Sunday of Life


3.0
good

Review

by Justin Swope USER (85 Reviews)
November 13th, 2012 | 29 replies


Release Date: 1992 | Tracklist

Review Summary: On the Sunday of Life is a strange sonic experiment conducted by Steven Wilson, but it still is an interesting one.

Steven Wilson is an intriguing musical figure. He is perhaps most well known for forming the esteemed band known as Porcupine Tree. However, the band's first official album, On the Sunday of Life, is more of a solo effort from Wilson than anything else, considering he produced and recorded the tracks himself. Before you look at this album as a Porcupine Tree album, understand that it can be better described as an hour-long experiment. Essentially, it's Steven Wilson's science project, just for music. He explores many different aspects of progressive and psychedelic rock without committing to one particular idea or theme. Since the album is a primarily a compilation of songs that he recorded during the two years prior to the LP's release, the record is far from cohesive and only scratches the surface of the band's later styles. Nonetheless, On the Sunday of Life has a few notable and intrepid ideas.

One thing that detracts from the album's quality is its conspicuous untidiness. Despite its very interesting moments, On the Sunday of Life is jumbled, confusing, and disorganized. Aside from a few strange musical bridges like "Hymn" and "Begonia Seduction Scene", there is nothing really linking these tracks. The album quickly leaps from one idea to the next with no sense of handling. That would not be such a problem if the album wasn't so long. However, it is formatted similarly to a progressive concept album when, in reality, it is simply a long trek through Wilson's various musical inclinations. As an experiment, On the Sunday of Life operates in a "trial and error" fashion; some things work, while others don't.

However, that does not take away from the curiosity that the LP evokes. Instrumental tracks like "Third Eye Surfer" and "On the Sunday of Life" collaborate as essentially two separate parts of one song. "Third Eye Surfer" is guided by a turbulent set of drums caressed by a series of colliding ambient sounds and guitar noises before fading into the title track, a mild but heavily atmospheric track marked by an unearthly ambience. These tracks are not indicative of the more relatively structured tracks that follow, however, such as "The Nostalgia Factory", a track that is more straightforward despite its somewhat high-pitched vocals.

Many parts of the LP are unusual blocks of inexplicable noise. Filler comes in the form of weird arrangements of sounds and vocals that do not achieve any genuine musical goal. The haunting segment, "Space Transmission" leaves the listener more bewildered than enlightened, using an unnaturally deep voice rambling about vengeance. Frankly, I just don't really buy it. Without some of this filler and with a few more substantive songs, On the Sunday of Life could have been even better. Songs like "This Long Silence" and "Radioactive Toy" are more engaging and consequential than most of the tracks. For instance, "This Long Silence" features a potent guitar riff during the refrain as well as some tremendous psychedelic sounds invading the background.

The album's strongest track is "Nine Cats", a track which proudly displays its progressive rock influences. The more mellow vibe of the song is an unexpected and enjoyable shift in direction for the album after the more aggressive "Radioactive Toy". Steven Wilson demonstrates the range of his voice and manages to carry an abundance of emotional drive in his words. There are also some neat songs on the backend of the album like the overly quirky "Linton Samuel Dawson", which is a playful, yet interesting number.

On the Sunday of Life does not progress smoothly and that makes it feel superficial. This is a fairly flawed, but interesting musical project. It is not expressive of the beloved band's future, but it contains a decent amount of surprising and amusing moments.

Favorite Tracks:
Nine Cats
This Long Silence
Third Eye Surfer
Radioactive Toy
Begonia Seduction Scene



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user ratings (533)
Chart.
2.9
good
other reviews of this album
Nick Mongiardo CONTRIBUTOR (2)
What an interesting and bewildering debut for the progressive titans....

Scott M. Baldwin (4)
Steven Wilson is a madman....

Thomas Bambaataa Ghidrah Towers (2)
...


Comments:Add a Comment 
tarkus
November 13th 2012


5560 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

sup

menawati
Contributing Reviewer
November 13th 2012


16060 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

nice review, pos

Digging: Lo-Pan - Colossus

CaptainDooRight
November 13th 2012


30052 Comments


koo


Digging: Fleurety - Min Tid Skal Komme

Insurrection
Contributing Reviewer
November 13th 2012


21506 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

good album, great review pos'd

Digging: Aspherium - The Fall of Therenia

JamieTwort
Contributing Reviewer
November 13th 2012


21110 Comments


Need to listen to this album more. Early PT is the best PT.

menawati
Contributing Reviewer
November 13th 2012


16060 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

up the downstair was a step up tho

Insurrection
Contributing Reviewer
November 13th 2012


21506 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

this is their worst album

menawati
Contributing Reviewer
November 13th 2012


16060 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

nah incident is worst

JamieTwort
Contributing Reviewer
November 13th 2012


21110 Comments


Up the Downstair is probably my second favourite PT album after The Sky Moves Sideways.

Coast
November 13th 2012


213 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Good review. Some weird material but I enjoy a lot on this album. And the Swallows Dance Above the Sun is a great track.

climactic
November 13th 2012


19576 Comments


holy shit didnt know theyve been around this long

NightmareCinema16
November 13th 2012


2016 Comments


Nice work with the review.

For some reason, I've never been able to get into PT content.

Mad.
November 14th 2012


3999 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

This was the first Porcupine Tree album I heard. I wanted to get into their music so I bought this, with no idea it was just Wilson's 'experiment'! I was so confused...

NightmareCinema16
November 14th 2012


2016 Comments


I think I might try in Absentia again.

KILL
November 14th 2012


71981 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

sum gd stuff here yea

Digging: Exodus - Blood In, Blood Out

OmairSh
November 14th 2012


11613 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

In Absentia's good yup

Digging: Edge of Sanity - The Spectral Sorrows

tarkus
November 14th 2012


5560 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

no its not

Chortles
November 14th 2012


18010 Comments


overrated but still good

Digging: Jacaszek - Treny

OmairSh
November 14th 2012


11613 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Yyyes it iiis

tarkus
November 14th 2012


5560 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

its mediocre



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