Porcupine Tree
On the Sunday of Life


2.0
poor

Review

by Nick Mongiardo CONTRIBUTOR (77 Reviews)
November 6th, 2013 | 58 replies | 3,168 views


Release Date: 1992 | Tracklist

Review Summary: What an interesting and bewildering debut for the progressive titans.

First of all, before listening to this everyone should know that this record is a joke. This wasn't intended to be as serious as Porcupine Tree's succeeding records. However, the fact of the matter is that most people do not listen to music for a laugh and that is one of the record's biggest downfalls. The record tries to be witty and comical and sometimes it really does bring some truly funny moments. Unfortunately, most of the time it is just Wilson thinking that he is funny and the moment actually seems quite forced. The record happens to also be poorly produced, extremely weird, and tediously bloated clocking in at over seventy five minutes. Rest assured, if there are any people looking to get into this band, On the Sunday of Life is not the smartest choice to start with.

The production of this debut is another one of it's biggest flaws even considering that Steve Wilson is the mastermind behind it. There are many times where the percussion sounds incredibly muffled and the same goes for the strings and guitar work scattered throughout the record. Many of these songs have the potential to be something great, but the overall sound really brings them down. "Jupiter Island" and "The Nostalgia Factory" both could have been fantastic pop songs, but they are completely ruined by the strange effect Wilson put on his vocals. He makes his voice somewhat high pitched so it is almost as if he sounds like inhaled helium.

Not only is the production an immense problem, the album's overall strange and trippy vibe is extremely overwhelming at many points. The weird part is that the funny and strange parts tend to work hand-in-hand. Take "Space Transmission" for example. It's only a man with a sinister yet comical voice whispering to us about how he is trapped on an uncharted planet and other nonsense. The part where the man says that they consumed all of the instrument is absolutely ridiculous. The whole record is bursting at the seams with bewildering filler songs that are either unnecessary ambient songs or poorly done progressive interludes. Basically the album could have at least a half hour shorter which really says something.

Despite the fact that the record consists of mostly mediocre tracks that could easily be skipped, some of them are actually quite decent. "Radioactive Toy" is the Porcupine Tree that we have all come to love because it is actually a surprisingly serious song. Wilson chillingly sings about a town being destroyed by an atomic bomb over some nice guitar work and a very strong Pink Floyd vibe. "Nine Cats" is one of the better comical songs on the record and if the production is improved, it could easily be right at home on Stupid Dream or Lightbulb Sun. "Begonia Seduction Scene" is the prettiest track on the record because of its beautiful acoustic guitar and soothing ambiance in the background. The strongest aspect of that song is how it is beautiful without even trying as opposed to the title track which is disappointingly forced. "This Long silence" also showcases some very well done guitar work for Wilson and the album's closer also capitalizes on a more King Crimson like atmosphere while incorporating some tribal drums and a wide variety of other instruments. These songs may be very exceptional, but sadly at the same time they are not anywhere near memorable enough to save the record.

On the Sunday of Life is a staggeringly strange trip. It is understood what Wilson was going for with this record: an attempt at a joke, but it is not a good one. The experience is quite intriguing, but for all of the wrong reasons. There are not many aspects of the record that work on it because it is an overall tedious listen that can really get on the nerves after a while. Granted it is not the worst record ever made, it is easily the worst record in Porcupine Tree's lengthy discography. If anyone made the terrible mistake of starting with this record, have no fear. The band becomes something truly special and memorable in the long run.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
FiveLeavesLeft
Staff Reviewer
November 6th 2013



9830 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I love Steven's helium voice :D

Mongi123
Contributing Reviewer
November 6th 2013



9548 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Yes helium! I was thinking what it sounds like but I could never think of it. Permission to change
that line to the helium thing since you thought of it?

Pheromone
November 6th 2013



3460 Comments


What is it with killer bands having really meh first albums?

Digging: Early Day Miners - Placer Found

Mongi123
Contributing Reviewer
November 6th 2013



9548 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Ever hear this band Nerd? Don't see any PT ratings on your profile.

Pheromone
November 6th 2013



3460 Comments


Ye, I've never sat down and listened to a full album man but I had a friend who digged them hard so I listened to a few with him. I'll probably check them out some time. Also Yndi Halda.

Mongi123
Contributing Reviewer
November 6th 2013



9548 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Oh yea haha I'll try to check it this weekend.

Pheromone
November 6th 2013



3460 Comments


Listen to it like you would a Godspeed for the first time, Nice review by the way.

KerfuffleinaHussle
November 6th 2013



754 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

pos good review

i dont think this is meant to be that much of a joke. "nine cats" has been around since wilson wrote
was like fourteen. "radioactive toy" was played live consistently until they went on hiatus. "and the
swallows dance..." is wilson's favourite track from the album, meant to be about boredom or something.
even "the nostalgia factory" was played live for a while. a handful of the songs here are good,
they're just surrounded by retarded shit from some super old tapes or something.

Mongi123
Contributing Reviewer
November 6th 2013



9548 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Most of it is that retarded shit for me. Wilson has said that it started as a joke so I certainly sounds like it haha but yea radioactive toy is good. And thanks by the way guys.

KILL
November 6th 2013



71167 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

dude didnt you listen to this like yesterday

Digging: David Axelrod - Song of Innocence

Mongi123
Contributing Reviewer
November 6th 2013



9548 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

I've listened to this four times haha. Once yesterday and then three today had lots of time today
since class was cancelled :D just had it constantly playing while doing homework and chilling today.
Didn't enjoy absorbing it but just kinda wanted to get it out of the way haha

jtswope
November 6th 2013



2001 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

interesting album

KerfuffleinaHussle
November 6th 2013



754 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

out of the way so you can check all that devin townsend, right? ;]

does this mean youve reviewed their entire discog except recordings pretty much?

Mongi123
Contributing Reviewer
November 6th 2013



9548 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

When did you rec that to me? I'm pretty bad with recs lol but I just plan to do their LP's so I have two more left.

KerfuffleinaHussle
November 6th 2013



754 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

doesnt matter, two words bro. Ocean machine.

ah man sweet. that'll be pretty cool. they have a neverending pile of b-sides and eps and shit. i've been listening to this band for a couple years now and still havent bothered to check out half of it

Mongi123
Contributing Reviewer
November 6th 2013



9548 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Just the beginning of summer for me but you honestly have no idea how many times I've came back to this band. Probably more than band I've encountered in my life.

KerfuffleinaHussle
November 6th 2013



754 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

good music is addicting!

Mongi123
Contributing Reviewer
November 6th 2013



9548 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

The amount of times I've listened to .3 in general is ridiculous

KerfuffleinaHussle
November 6th 2013



754 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

.3 is fantastic...I used to listen to half-light every morning myself for a good couple months

FiveLeavesLeft
Staff Reviewer
November 6th 2013



9830 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

"Permission to change
that line to the helium thing since you thought of it?"

Of course :]



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