The legend of these British progressive rock pioneers is only beginning to make its presence felt State-side on their Lava records debut, In Absetia, but the sonic impact of Porcupine Tree’s creativity is already ingrained in musical folklore.
Where P-Tree earned their reputation as the next generation of complex excursions of epic proportions on past efforts, this ime around they have opted more for an almost song-orientated structure in the imagery. The textures and layers of sound are the manipulation of the progressive element this time helping to set more in moods and atmospheres as opposed to sheer musicianship. This creates a more accessible sound molded around melodic development.
The mastermind behind the P-Tree experience (and it is just that, a full-on cerebral experience) is producer, writer, arranger and musician extrodinaire Steven Wilson. He brings with him aspects of more than just traditional progressive approaches with the incorporation of folk, fusion and hard rock, hence his production credits with Opeth, as a centerpiece for the sounds he creates.
The songs vibrate with sheer genius in their creation. There is a smoothness in the flow and a continuity of structure which keeps the listener intrigued from start to finish without feeling lost in the sonic adventure.
There is an ever so subtle nod to the past foundations of progressive rock ingenuity while not merely being a retread of those seminal accomplishments. P-Tree stand apart from their contemporaries as well by emphasizing a darker aural ideal rather than the semi-operatic vocal deliveries and over-the-top guitar work which appear to have become almost the standard of the genre.
All in all, there just are not the words to accurately describe what In Absentia entails and no way to do justice to the level of writing and execution in the music embedded on the CD. There is no one way to pigeonhole the sound that is P-Tree and therefor no other way for one to comprehend it than by taking the journey yourself by absorbing the songs themselves.