PORCUPINE TREE — On The Sunday Of Life (review)

PORCUPINE TREE — On The Sunday Of Life album cover Album · 1992 · Non-Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
3/5 ·
UMUR
"On The Sunday Of Life..." is the official debut full-length studio album by UK progressive rock act Porcupine Tree. The album was released through Delerium Records in May 1992. It was preceded by the two demo cassette tape albums "Tarquin's Seaweed Farm (1989)" and "The Nostalgia Factory (1991)" and the demo EP "The Love, Death & Mussolini (1990)". The material on "On The Sunday Of Life..." are culled either directly from those three releases, or are re-arranged, re-recorded, or otherwise edited (and even re-titled) versions of tracks from the three demo releases.

So if you´re familiar with the preceding demo releases, it won´t come as a surprise that "On The Sunday Of Life..." isn´t the most stylistically coherent release as Steven Wilson experimented greatly with both musical elements and production techniques in those years, and therefore you´ll be exposed to anything from droning ambient soundscapes, to driving psychadelic rock tracks and long jams, to spoken word sections, to samples, to comedy rock tracks featuring pitched helium mouse vocals, and all sorts of other musical elements. I guess it all falls under the psychadelic rock umbrella, but "On The Sunday Of Life..." is an album that´ll challenge most listeners not accustomed to very eclectic album releases or those preferring a body of recorded work in a coherrent style.

Wilson has tweaked the original recordings, made overdubs and remixes, and it´s audible that the sound quality is of a slightly higher quality on the album than the case were on the three demo recordings where the tracks are pulled from. The quality of the material is a bit up and down, but some of the highlights are "Jupiter Island", "The Nostalgia Factory", "Footprints", and "Radioactive Toy". Upon conclusion "On The Sunday Of Life..." isn´t the strongest nor the most promising debut album by Porcupine Tree, and it´s hard to know what to expect from the band on their next release (if we didn´t have the advantage of hindsight). In that respect it´s probably an album which left contemporary listeners a little confused. To me it has been a grower. I started out not appreciating the album much, but repeated spins have revealed at least a handful of good quality tracks and at least as many decent quality ones, and I´d say a 3 star (60%) rating isn´t all wrong.
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siLLy puPPy wrote:
25 days ago
I also love Krautrock and extreme psychedelic trips. My theory is that it's the demo thing but for demos these are pretty cool!
UMUR wrote:
25 days ago
I think most people go for compositional consistency when they listen to an album. Few people are as open minded and have as eclectic tastes as you have Mike :-). Personally I enjoy the post-psychadelic period of PT more than the early releases, but as I said that doesn´t mean I don´t enjoy the early albums too.
siLLy puPPy wrote:
25 days ago
Not sure why you consider it weak. It has the same compositional fortitude as all the early psychedelic albums. In fact it's actually quite sophisticated in the nuances. IMHO i don't think people give this one enough time to sink in. True that the vocals are different than what comes after, but so what. They're not bad, just different.
25 days ago
Comparing to other PT releases this is weak for sure. My least favourite album although it has some nice moments. As for me, OtSoL feels like demos compilation which isn't bad in general. SW vocals on Jupiter Island somehow remind me of Robert Wyatt xD
UMUR wrote:
26 days ago
:-)
siLLy puPPy wrote:
27 days ago
I hadn't heard it in years. Just gave it a spin this morning. In my world this one is just as interesting as anything that came later. Oh well, i'm a freak!
UMUR wrote:
27 days ago
Not exactly my favorite PT album, but yeah it has its moments, and isn´t half bad. As you say it´s a very creative release.
siLLy puPPy wrote:
27 days ago
Not sure why most don't l like this one so much. To me this is one of the most creative albums PT put out. Doesn't sound like anything that came after but for me that's what's great about it.

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