The album Recordings
by Porcupine Tree originally was tracks cut off from Stupid Dream
and Lightbulb Sun
. They were mainly B- that simply did not make the records with an extended 14 minute long version off Stupid Dream of Even Less
(original clocking in at 7 minutes in length.) This was to be the final release under the Snapper/K-Scope label. Just shortly afterwards they would announce they signed with (still currently are) international record label Lava/Atlantic.
An album full of B-side songs usually does set someone off from trying them out. You can't blame them either, they�re songs that didn't make the cut, but with Porcupine Tree it isn't a worry. Their B-sides are miles better than many artists albums Now that's saying quite a lot. Stupid Dream
and Lightbulb Sun
were definitely transitional times for PT. It was the transition from space/ambient rock to a more rock song oriented/metal/modern sound. Both eras are excellent with me preferring their new sound by quite a bit. This means that each song definitely has a little of both in each one. The album is more lenient towards the earlier works though.
One big thing about Porcupine Tree's work (especially the earlier material) is that the songs always have some sort of flow to them and remind me of a soundtrack to a dream that someone might have. This album is no different and Porcupine Tree favors complex song structures over technical writing. It may not be hard to play but composing these songs is a whole different story.
Steve Wilson once again puts out thoughtful, deep and stays away from cliche lyrics once again. He makes you think while still not alienating the message of the song. Some of my favorite lyrics are Buying New Soul: I woke up and I had a big idea/To buy a new soul at the start of every year'I paid up and it cost me pretty dear'Here's a hymn to those that disappear
You made a choice for us to live it up'I've got a voice inside me saying give it up'Let's get out of here, let's find a new career/You be famous, I'll disappear
Disappear - I erase myself again
I need security, you favor chance/I ponder everything, you advance/You bring the world to me and I just sneer/Standing next to you I disappear
There is a few instrumentals on the album, Untitled, Ambulance Chasing, and Oceans Have No Memory
is a song that takes quite a while to build up. A lead guitar sporadically pours out notes. Ambulance Chasing's
biggest identity is the drums. With the heavy drum sequence continuing to 2 minutes into to build up some tension and finally lets go with guitar outlaying some chords and drums going off into normal pattern. Oceans Have No Memory
almost sounds like it's coming through a filter giving off the dreamy oceany sound to it. Synth holding some chords in the background the guitar outlines some dreamy lines. This is probably one of PT�s most major sounding songs and is very relaxing and nice.
Let�s move onto a few of the vocal songs. The album starts out with Buying New Soul
with almost a haunting sound to it. Steve�s voice sounds very raw. With an excellent guitar solo a few minutes into it this song definitely provides tension and release. One of my least favorite songs is Access Denied
, while certainly not a bad song, I don�t know why they chose that annoying piano type beginning to it. Cure for Optimism
starts off very ambiently with a lot of dreamy textures. Steve doesn�t get around to singing until later in the song when the atmosphere has already been set. Disappear
provides a single guitar strumming a few chords. With an excellent build up later on in the song. Now we move onto Even Less
. For anyone who has heard the Stupid Dream
version, that has nothing on this one. This one clocking in at just about twice as long I don�t know why this version didn't make the album in the first place. At 14 minutes this song has no hesitations to keep your interest. PT is the master of tension and release in songs and this one provides. With many instrumental breaks Steve shows off that it's not a matter of how many notes you play but which ones and where.
One gripe [as to be expected] was that these songs were cut from the respective albums because they did not flow well enough [one of PT's main features] within their album. So all together there is almost no flow at all. Within each individual song this album is extremely good but you must not look at it within the same light of other PT releases and don't think within the context of the album. Look at it as a greatest hits than anything else and you won't be disappointed.
This album is excellent and to say that it is an album of B-sides shows off the talent these guys all have. They are certainty leaders into the new age sound of music today. They deserve much more attention among the mainstream media but not a single song off this album could make it on the radio on an account of not enough hooks and melodies. And before you try to look up this album to buy online or somewhere this album goes for about $100 used since only a limited number of 20,000 copies were printed back in 2001. But you should be able to find it easily on programs like Soulseek.