Porcupine Tree - Nil Recurring EP
Peaceville Records
Atmospheric Progressive Rock
4 songs (28.47)
Release year: 2007
Porcupine Tree, Peaceville Records
Reviewed by Aleksie
Soon after the release of the brilliant Fear Of A Blank Planet, Porcupine Tree put out this nifty EP in its own web shop, eventually leading of course to a more general release. So you’re wondering if they filled an EP with B-grade studio leftovers that they didn’t want to leave waiting for the next whole album? If you ask me, only the latter half of the question would be valid and even then only partially. Half of this disc, the title track and Cheating The Polygraph were recorded at the same time with the material that ended up on Blank Planet (Oct. - Dec. 2006) while Normal and What Happens Now? were recorded in July 2007. For all I know they might have been written at the same time, but the division between these particular songs is quite evident.

Fear Of A Blank Planet was the heaviest album of PT’s career and that vibe is still present on the two tracks recorded during the same sessions. The title track is an instrumental that kicks off with some quirky notes and an even slightly funky beat that slowly morphs into quite the heavy riffage. Appropriately for the off beat vibes of the track, King Crimson’s Robert Fripp provides lead guitar on the track. Mellow sections provide the first ambient elements, which the EP also delves into very noticeably. The ending with some frantic, noisy guitars get chaotic is delightfully headbangable. Cheating The Polygraph also starts with an excellent groove provided by drummer Gavin Harrison. The song is a treasure chest for his fans and skinsmen in general as Harrison does some real simple-seeming yet magically-sounding tricks on the drums. This bad boy gets real heavy in the middle as well, with tasty bass frequencies keeping the package together.

The two songs recorded later provide a slower side of Porcupine Tree, quite clearly feeling that they were not recorded at the same time with the previous album and the two tracks mentioned above. Normal is a mainly acoustic endeavour with some insanely catchy vocal melodies. A one bar-long reference is again made to the band’s biggest “hit”, Trains. The thematics meet again, I presume. The lyrics also make a little nod towards Sentimental off the previous album. You can make your own deductions from these little hints. What Happens Now? is the most evidently ambient-influenced track on the record. Electric violins and hand percussions bring an organic quality to the mix as effect-driven vocals slither in the midst. Quite the interesting track, that works really well despite the general oddness. Partially reminds me even of Ozric Tentacles.

Overall, this EP is some excellent stuff throughout its duration and any fan of the band should lap this stuff up in a heartbeat. The band plays magnificently and main man Steven Wilson is still one of the only singers out there who can pull off a high-pitched, slightly fragile-sounding voice in a way that I openly admit liking. Even fans of unconventional rock music who aren’t familiar with Porcupine Tree can easily get into this disc and I would call it an excellent gateway choice for those wanting to acquaint themselves with the band’s latter, post-Signify-era discography. Highly recommendable.

Killing Songs :
All of 'em, actually.
Aleksie quoted no quote
Other albums by Porcupine Tree that we have reviewed:
Porcupine Tree - Up The Downstair reviewed by Goat and quoted 85 / 100
Porcupine Tree - On The Sunday Of Life reviewed by Goat and quoted 79 / 100
Porcupine Tree - The Incident reviewed by Goat and quoted 79 / 100
Porcupine Tree - Deadwing reviewed by Boris and quoted 89 / 100
Porcupine Tree - Stupid Dream reviewed by Khelek and quoted 94 / 100
To see all 9 reviews click here
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