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On The Sunday Of Life:Porcupine Tree

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Artist: Porcupine Tree

Date Released: July, 1991

Label: Delerium

Produced By: Steven Wilson

Tracklisting:

  1. Music For The Head (2:42)
  2. Jupiter Island (6:12)
  3. Third Eye Surfer (2:50)
  4. On The Sunday Of Life... (2:07)
  5. The Nostalgia Factory (7:28)
  6. Space Transmission (2:59)
  7. Message From A Self-Destructing Turnip (0:27)
  8. Radioactive Toy (10:00)
  9. Nine Cats (3:53)
  10. Hymn (1:14)
  11. Footprints (5:56)
  12. Linton Samuel Dawson (3:04)
  13. And The Swallows Dance Above The Sun (4:05)
  14. Queen Quotes Crawley (3:48)
  15. No Luck With Rabbits (0:46)
  16. Begonia Seduction Scene (2:14)
  17. This Long Silence (5:05)
  18. It Will Rain For A Million Years (10:51)

ReviewEdit

I find this official debut from Porcupine Tree seriously underrated. On the Sunday of Life actually compiled material from their early cassettes, Tarquin's Seaweed Farm and The Nostalgia Factory, as well as a re-recording of "Radioactive Toy". When Steven Wilson gaves a copy of his early cassettes to Delerium Records, which just got started, Delerium had the idea of making both full-length cassettes available as two separate double LP sets, but Steven Wilson felt there was not enough good material to warrant that, so he instead picked the cream of the crop and made a double LP of it entitled On the Sunday of Life... Only 500 copies of the LP were made, but sold out so fast that Delerium had to quickly make available on CD.

Steven Wilson started Porcupine Tree as more or less a joke, rather than a proper band. He was also using names like No-Man and (much later) Incredible Expanding Mindfuck (I.E.M.) for other projects to separate himself with Porcupine Tree. Since Porcupine Tree actually started earning some actual success, he eventually formed a real band, to tour and make recording easier.

I was expecting to hate On the Sunday of Life simply because of all the negative reviews it often receives, personally I think this is one of the most grossly underrated albums I have heard in a long time! I am one that was aware of PT way before their most recent days of In Absentia and Deadwing, in fact I knew them way back when they were still recording for Delerium, and I made The Sky Moves Sideways my first purchase way back in 1997, so I guess hearing this very early release isn't such a shock. "Music For the Head" has a rather sinister tone, with some really nice flutework to go with it. "Jupiter Island" is the first actual song on the CD, showing a lot of psychedelic elements. The next couple of pieces are highly experimental pieces, "Third Eye Surfer" and "On the Sunday of Life..." before coming to the next proper piece, "The Nostalgia Factory". I found out, from reading the CD booklet that none other than John Marshall makes an appearance on drums on "Third Eye Surfer". That makes sense, there's that jazzy type of drumming that you expect on a Soft Machine album (he was a member of that band, after all, once Robert Wyatt left that group in '71), the drumming is amazing, and you know that Steven Wilson's pre-programmed drum machine would not be capable of doing such details as John Marshall did on his real drum kit. The next to are yet more experimental pieces with some rather sinister spoken dialog and a countdown with "Space Transmission" and "Message From a Self-Destructing Turnip". Then comes the wonderful "Radioactive Toy". This is simply amazing, and is a blueprint for their next couple of CDs, especially Up the Downstair and The Sky Moves Sideways. I really love the second half, an extended instrumental passage with some great use of wah-wah guitar. This re-recorded version is about twice as long as the original that appeared on Tarquin's Seaweed Farm. I obviously never heard the original as the cassette is hard to come by. "Footprints" is an odd one with lyrical references to "Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds", while making sure you don't mistake the music for Sgt. Pepper. I really get a kick off "Linton Samuel Dawson" with those silly sped-up vocals reminding me of The Chipmunks or Jerry Samuels (Napoleon XIV). By the way, if you want to hear the remaining material from the two cassettes that this CD draws from, you have to get the long out of print Yellow Hedgerow Dreamscape. I hadn't heard that CD, after all it's quite rare. I also notice none of the techno tendencies that you would find on following CDs like Up the Downstair and The Sky Moves Sideways. The whole CD really took me by surprise. I was expecting a dud, but pleasantly surprised. Might not be for everyone, but I think it's great, and yes, it's hard to believe, but it became my favorite PT CD!

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