Porcupine Tree
Staircase Infinities


3.5
great

Review

by Joshua Hunt USER (21 Reviews)
September 27th, 2013 | 36 replies | 1,792 views


Release Date: 1994 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A mind expanding experimental adventure filled with B- sides of Porcupine Trees' sophomore album, Up The Downstair.

3 of 3 thought this review was well written

Porcupine Trees’ “Staircase Infinity,” is a terse release to say the least. If spacey guitar grooves and disjointed instrumentals are something that you tend to enjoy, look no further. It all moves along pretty quickly as the release only clocks in at twenty-nine minutes and very little time is wasted, but it does not require the listener to stand by with a tentative ear to find enjoyment in it.

The band performs with a rich, full and engaging sound. They never leave a sense of groove behind and never lighten up on the tight psychedelic atmosphere presented. The instrumentals are simple but explorative and the production maintains interest. The drum work is creative and fluid and the bass playing is very solid but neither interesting enough to write home about. The guitar playing is smooth and fluid and the tone of the lead guitar is punchy; not overbearing. It does a great job of seating itself in a predominant manner. Technically speaking Steven Wilsons playing style is not overly flashy or aggressive.

Every song on the album revels in psychedelic marvel; it seems as if it was released solely for the purpose of dazing out. The introduction to the album ‘Cloud Zero’ serves as a first rate explorative piece while the melodies of following tracks can be downright haunting; ‘Navigator’ is a prime example of this. Even the use of reverb, phased synthesizers and obscure delays can easily seep through the mind of the listener in an alluring sort of way. For primarily instrumental music ‘Staircase Infinity’ does a great job of staying compelling enough to follow while remaining something that you can just sit back and use as background music without feeling like you may be missing out on anything.

Considering the brevity of the “Staircase Infinity,” it seems odd that all of the songs on the album have the exact same type of outro. There has to be a more original way to end a song than pad synths and percussion fades, it gets very monotonous. Tempo and fades are the only thing that keep some of the latter songs from bleeding together and that is not a good thing, but it is not detrimental to perceived enjoyment of the album. ‘The Joke’s on you’ comes across as totally out of place, seeing as it is the only song on the EP that is structured like a rock song and it has vocals, unlike any the other tracks. The wah-wah effect and reverb on some of the second guitar parts can get a little excessive at times but it all comes along with the territory of psychedelic roc and again does not affect the EP in a bad enough way to make it tedious.

In review, ‘Staircase Infinity’ is a piece of work. It effectively operates as an EP, implements a variety of experimental techniques to stay engaging, contains provocative melodies and manages its’ negative aspects in a way that they are easy to overlook. This EP is not for everyone however. If you are new to experimental or instrumental music, you may be immediately turned off by this release. If you are a veteran in this field of music you will find it enjoyable to ponder life over and maybe even simply zone out. Enjoy!



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user ratings (123)
Chart.
3.9
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
joshuahuntkc
September 27th 2013



1579 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I am relatively new to Porcupine Tree so this review was a bit of a challenge. I was recommended to review this album so I gave it a few listens yesterday and today and came up with this. Hopefully it is agreeable. Thanks!

OhCarrots
September 27th 2013



335 Comments


Nice review, and kudos for being the first to review this! I think this is one of their more underrated works

joshuahuntkc
September 27th 2013



1579 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

thanks man! At first I was kind of uninterested by it but it grew on me during the second listen and then a but more the third time so I can see how it would be.

OhCarrots
September 27th 2013



335 Comments


So you're pretty new to the band? Prepare for quite a fantastic journey :D

joshuahuntkc
September 27th 2013



1579 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

which album should I start with?

OhCarrots
September 27th 2013



335 Comments


Depends on personal taste. Do you prefer progressive metal, alternative rock, or psychedelic music?

joshuahuntkc
September 27th 2013



1579 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

prog metal is more my thing.

OhCarrots
September 27th 2013



335 Comments


Then In Absentia is an awesome start. It's especially great because it pretty much rolls all their eras into one. But its focus is an eclectic prog metal sound. Awesome stuff

OmairSh
September 27th 2013



10868 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Someone finally reviewed this!

Digging: Paco de Lucia - El Duende Flamenco

JamieTwort
Contributing Reviewer
September 27th 2013



20270 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Glad to see this finally has a review, even though I disagree with some of your points.

This is up there with the best things PT ever did imo.

If spacey guitar grooves and disjointed instrumentals are something that you tend to enjoy


I don't find any of the songs on here disjointed at all. In fact one of my favourite things about this EP is the fact that it flows so well.

joshuahuntkc
September 27th 2013



1579 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I really meant that the spacey lead guitar parts come across a bit disjointed in phrasing I guess. I just worded it incorrectly.

joshuahuntkc
September 27th 2013



1579 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

@OhCarrots I'll def. have to check that out then!

OmairSh
September 27th 2013



10868 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Organ on rainy taxi is so damn good

KILL
September 27th 2013



71167 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

hel ya

Digging: David Axelrod - Song of Innocence

johnnydeking29
September 27th 2013



9011 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I got this as part of my UtD digipack, so I've always thought of it as an extension of the album...this is really really excellent and so is the review, so have a pos

Digging: Naked City - Radio

JamieTwort
Contributing Reviewer
September 27th 2013



20270 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This is pretty much on the same level as the Up the Downstair album imo.

KILL
September 27th 2013



71167 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

its pretty close but nothing quite reaches the level of fadeaway or burning sky

JamieTwort
Contributing Reviewer
September 27th 2013



20270 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

True.

NeroCorleone80
September 27th 2013



28679 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

About time this was reviewed. And yeah this isnt far from Up the Downstair

Digging: Howlin Wolf - Howlin' Wolf/Moanin' in the Moonlight

joshuahuntkc
September 27th 2013



1579 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Thanks everybody, for all the kind words!



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