PORCUPINE TREE — The Nostalgia Factory (review)

PORCUPINE TREE — The Nostalgia Factory album cover Promos, fans club and other releases (no bootlegs) · 1991 · Non-Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
3/5 ·
"The Nostalgia Factory" (subtitled "...And Other Tips for Amateur Golfers") is the 3rd studio release by UK artist Steven Wilson under the pseudonym of Porcupine Tree. The album was released through Delerium Records in 1991. It was originally released in a limited number of copies on cassette tape and should probably be considered a demo album. Tracks 1 to 7, an edited version of "The Nostalgia Factory" and "This Long Silence", "Nine Cats" and "It Will Rain for a Million Years" were released on "On The Sunday Of Life... (1992)" (the official debut full-length studio album by Porcupine Tree). Tracks 1 to 7 and "It Will Rain for a Million Years" were all also featured on the 1990 "The Love, Death & Mussolini" demo EP (although the latter appear here in a much longer version). The only track from the EP which is not also featured on "The Nostalgia Factory" is "Out".

The short ambient intro "Hymn" seques into the delightfully dark and atmospheric "Footprints", and it´s interesting to hear a song from this early stage of Wilson´s career, which could well have been written much later and included on an album like "Signify (1996)" or maybe even "Stupid Dream (1999)". But the next track "Linton Samuel Dawson" is completely different and takes the listener into psychadelic comedy rock land, with Wilson´s vocals pitched to sound like a mouse singing. It´s a high energy track with a great positive energy, but...it´s not exactly great art. "And The Swallows Dance Above The Sun" opens with a sample and an energetic and busy programmed drum beat, which more or less continues for the duration of the track, with ambient keyboards, soaring lead guitar themes, and Wilson´s melancholic vocals fill the remaining part of the soundscape. Had the drums been played by a human being and had featured an organic tone, that track could have been a little more accomplished. It´s still a pretty great track though.

"The Nostalgia Factory" continues with "Queen Quotes Crowley", which is another ambient psychadelic track featuring omnipresent guitar leads by Wilson, while all sorts of studio experiments with volume and backwards recordings run in the back. "No Luck With Rabbits" is a short ambient transition track to "Begonia Seduction Scene", which is a beautiful track comprising acoustic guitar and some atmospheric lead guitar themes. About midway through the track it gets a little darker and the atmosphere changes towards the ominous. "Colours Dance Angels Kiss" is completely different from the dark and gloomy mood of the preceding track as it´s another comedy rock track in the vein of "Linton Samuel Dawson", although not quite as helium induced. "Prayer" is short ambient track leading into the longer "The Nostalgia Factory" title track. It´s a driving melancholic psychadelic rock song, featuring ambient looped synths, sound experiments, and Wilson´s pitched sedated vocals. It´s a track with a great atmosphere and loads of layers of different sounds. Definitely one of the highlights of this release. "The Long Silence" which follows is another. Had the drums not been programmed on this track it would sounded fully professional. Especially Wilson´s vocals feature a great sound production on "The Long Silence".

"Sinatra Rape Scene" is up next and it´s a short backwards recorded sound piece segueing into "Hokey Cokey", which is an ambient psychadelic rock track which slowly builds, and which features a rather humorous sampled section in the middle. "Landscare" is a slow ominous sounding drone piece sequeing into the short "Delightful Suicide" which is another ambient track featuring a little guitar and keyboards spicing up the track. "Nine Cats" follows and it´s a singer/songwriter type track opening with mostly acoustic guitar and Wilson singing before programmed drums and bass come in and the song becomes a little louder and soft rocking. It´s a nice melancholic pop/rock song and could have been featured on a mid-70 Pink Floyd album. "Split Image" is a sound collage type track building tension towards the closing track "It Will Rain For A Million Years", which is an ambient layered track featuring spoken words and subdued singing, soaring majestic lead guitar motifs, acoustic guitar and layers of keyboards. This version of the track is not the same as the version on "The Love, Death & Mussolini (1990)", as it´s 6 minutes longer than the original 4 minutes long track, making this version a 10 minutes long mammoth.

Upon conclusion "The Nostalgia Factory" is a good quality demo album, and it shows the many different aspects of 1980s/early 1990s Wilson. It can be argued that the demo is a bit redundant today as most of the material is featured on "On The Sunday Of Life... (1992)", but that´s of course not fair, and a demo shouldn´t be judged like that. As it is a 3 star (60%) rating is warranted.
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