Porcupine Tree
Closure/Continuation


4.0
excellent

Review

by Benjamin Kuettel EMERITUS
June 24th, 2022 | 204 replies


Release Date: 06/24/2022 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A reunion almost too good to be true makes for a lovely comeback album with a faint glow of nostalgia that showcases the band’s unique style.

The long awaited return of Porcupine Tree has finally come after more than a decade. Frontman Steven Wilson’s solo career has been going strong since 2008, and it seems to have taken the Covid-19 pandemic to finally convince him and two other band members that the time was finally right for a reunion. The cult rock band have only grown in adoration and acclaim since their unofficial dissolution in 2010, and the good news is that they haven't missed a step during their long hiatus. This isn't to say there's anything quite as mind-blowing as their best work however; Closure/Continuation essentially comes across like a collection of seven new songs from the tail end of their career in the vein of Nil Recurring and The Incident, without a whole lot of growth or changes.

There is a minimal influence from Wilson's solo career, even his latest work that aimed to be more mainstream and focus on electronic music, and sounds like it could have easily been released a decade ago. Some moments however are reminiscent of his excellent solo album The Raven That Refused to Sing and maintain influences of the classic 1970s progressive rock era that Wilson loves so much. While returning with a bold new sound for Porcupine Tree is an exciting prospect in theory, there is something exceedingly comforting about the familiarity, and makes this feel like a gift to the fans. The standout performances are Wilson’s bass playing, Gavin Harrison on drums (after a long stint with King Crimson), and Richard Barbieri's keyboard work.

"Harridan" opens the album with an explosion of energy and a focus on fantastic bass playing by Wilson himself. He proves in those opening sections that he’s no slouch on the instrument, a good sign given that the only non-returning member was long time bassist Colin Edwin. Utilizing a murky atmosphere and fuzzy ambiance, the short and quirky “Walk the Plank” is the only song that sounds different from their previous material. The lengthy “Herd Culling” doesn’t exactly break new ground and takes a while to get going, with a typical repeating heavy guitar riff for the chorus alternating with sleepy verses. Thankfully a beautiful bridge section with ascending strummed guitar chords and Wilson delivering a highly emotive singing performance, nearly pushing the limit of his vocal range, makes for one of the album’s finest moments.

The highlights are the longest and most complex pieces, which should come as no surprise to those familiar with their discography. “Dignity” is a truly majestic epic, calming down with the instrumental virtuosity and being the band’s “Space Oddity” in a way, embodying a wonderful classic rock flavor throughout. Album closer "Chimera's Wreck" builds mysteriously with acoustic guitar and eventually a fantastic bass line, which leads to a wonderful guitar soloing section. More than any other of the others, this one exemplifies what makes Porcupine Tree so special and reminds us how incredible of a band they really were, and still are once again.

They were always seen as being influenced by groups like King Crimson and Pink Floyd, but being 30+ years old now have their own influence on a new generation of younger bands. The meaning of album title “Closure/Continuation” is a statement acknowledging that they are not sure if this return is merely to act as closure, as they never officially broke up, or the beginning of a new chapter. A continuation would certainly be warranted given what Porcupine Tree have just delivered, along with the three excellent bonus tracks which probably should’ve been part of the main album. Closure/Continuation proves that they’re still one of the best, showing their own influencees and contemporaries alike how it's done. Wilson had repeatedly said in interviews that reviving the band was not in the cards, but that was thankfully incorrect and the fact that it happened at all is almost too good to be true. This is a wonderful comeback album emphasizing what made the band great and acts as both a good jumping off point if they choose continue on, or a great conclusion. Only time will tell which one it is.



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user ratings (247)
3.7
great
other reviews of this album
PsychicChris (3.5)
A pretty good comeback overshadowed by its brilliant predecessors...

BlazinBlitzer (4)
The last time!?...



Comments:Add a Comment 
TalonsOfFire
Emeritus
June 24th 2022


20270 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Released today!

Make sure to listen to those bonus tracks- each one is better than the last.

Source
June 24th 2022


19558 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

feels good listening to a new album from these dudes

zakalwe
June 24th 2022


36119 Comments


Indeed. Should you be a fan this is a miracle, it’s great.

DarkSideOfLucca
June 24th 2022


16371 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This was a very solid listen - gotta jam it a few more times, but for now it's merely solid



A little disappointed because of how hyped I was for this, I wanted this to be excellent.



Was expecting this to be my #3 of the year (Meshuggah and Rolo are 1 and 2) but as of now Soul Glo is still my #3

Digging: Worm - Foreverglade

Source
June 24th 2022


19558 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

with the bonus tracks this is a 4

TalonsOfFire
Emeritus
June 24th 2022


20270 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Yeah it's a high 4 out of 5 if you count the bonus tracks as part of the album. Don't know why they didn't cause it only makes the length a bit over an hour. "Love in the Past Tense" is like the most refreshing song Wilson's been part of in years.

KrillBoi
June 24th 2022


140 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Album may not be as fantastic as I'd hoped, but I am still very happy with it.

Digging: Norma Jean - Deathrattle Sing for Me

Source
June 24th 2022


19558 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

this is prog after all

hour+ run times are par for the course

KrillBoi
June 24th 2022


140 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Album may not be as fantastic as I'd hoped, but I am still very happy with it.

DarkSideOfLucca
June 24th 2022


16371 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This is one of the only prog bands I will carve time out for



Usually I don't have time for zillion hour albums (although this one isnt too bad length wise)

Chippe
June 24th 2022


160 Comments


Hope this will revitalize my earlier fanboyism for them

DickLeggingtonThe3rd
June 24th 2022


110 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Album is solid if a tad disappointing. May need more time to digest it. Got the vinyl, doesnt have the 'bonus' songs. what a bag of rubber dicks.

zakalwe
June 24th 2022


36119 Comments


bonus

Ayashi
June 24th 2022


311 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I'm happy there was bonus songs because I didn't want a short Porcupine Tree album. They're part of the album as far as I'm concerned. I disliked Harrodan initially so I was afraid how this would turn out, but easily a 4/5 and may even go up. Very respectable!

Tundra
June 24th 2022


7410 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Great return album

cageofman
June 24th 2022


237 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Please remember the album is officially only 7 tracks, so the three bonus songs shouldn’t be considered in the rating although i do believe it’s fine to say like some here have ‘with the bonus tracks it would of been a 4, but it’s only a 3’ etc

Because I’m sick of bands adding bonus songs that are always so good, you should of put them on the album if you wanted people to regard the album with those songs!



For me it’s a 4 based on the album tracks and if the bonus tracks had of been included or at least ‘love in the past tense’ it might of even been a 4.5

YoYoMancuso
Contributing Reviewer
June 24th 2022


16936 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

V busy but I’m going to listen to this asap

Yazz_Flute
June 25th 2022


19164 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

What's with the Interstate Love Song riff at the end of Dignity?

Digging: This Heat - Made Available: John Peel Sessions

cageofman
June 25th 2022


237 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Yeah noticed that too

I reckon it’s just coincidence

Source
June 25th 2022


19558 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

the fact that it's in a prog context makes it better than the original though so m/



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