"The most important band you've never heard of". That's how the press characterized Porcupine Tree in their early days, even describing them as the new Pink Floyd. A title that the band never liked, and besides, they don't want any labels. Because from psychedelic rock to metal, through almost danceable pop, they allow themselves all kinds of inspirations, all kinds of experimentations.
Led by Steven Wilson as charismatic leader, the band is always looking for new chords, new ways to occupy space and to create a sonic canvas that would extend in all musical directions at once. In this cathedral of rock, the resonances are airy, the guitars incisive, the voices high and the bass rumbling. As for the synth, it brings a touch of vintage and definitely electro, which defines the moments of calm before the resumption of this progressive storm that once again raises the adrenaline of the audience.
Because on stage, the band perfectly masters its soaring and overexcited atmosphere. It shakes up the spirits with a melodic power, brought with tact by the voice of its brilliant singer, which shatters our emotions. The whole thing is supported by a visual atmosphere that completely embeds us in their universe.
Today, after more than ten years of absence, Porcupine Tree is back as the phoenix of rock, rising from the hot ashes and the immeasurable void left by legendary artists such as Frank Zappa or the Beatles. And even if the search for the next hit was never their thing, their leader sees himself as the figurehead of symphonic pop and dreams of packed stadiums, vibrating to federative albums that would bend to no constraints.
At the end of the 80s, Steven Wilson created the Porcupine Tree concept on his own, as a joke taken from the Pink Floyd universe. But the joke quickly grew and Porcupine Tree signed a very confidential first album. It wasn't until 1993 that the band really took shape with Colin Edwin on bass guitar, Chris Maitland on drums and Richard Barbieri on keyboards. Two years later, The Sky Moves Sideways was released, the eponymous song lasting 35 minutes and firmly anchoring the band in the progressive rock scene of the time.
In the 1990s and 2000s, the band released album after album, concept after concept, drawing on pop, metal and even more electro sounds. In 2007, they released their biggest commercial success, Fear of a Blanket Planet, which sold 250,000 copies and is considered to be one of their major works, particularly thanks to its 18-minute centrepiece, Anesthetize.
With the Royal Albert Hall in London sold out, no one could have predicted that Steven Wilson and his band would be performing for the last time. In fact, the band never announced that they were breaking up, with each member content to pursue their own personal projects on parallel tracks. And as the years went by, fans began to lose hope that Porcupine Tree would once again shine their light on them with their bright rock.
However, in 2021, it was a surprise. Porcupine Tree announced their single Harridan, which was quickly followed by their eleventh album, Closure/Continuation, a real return to rock and symphonic land sprinkled with a funky bass. No one expected this rebirth, which the band prepared in the shadows. An international tour followed the release, with the band selling out each of its dates, its audience having waited far too long for the reappearance of its idols.
What a joy to be part of the Porcupine Tree revival! It had been more than 10 years since the band last played and I didn't believe in it anymore. But the wait was worth it! It's a three-hour show that Steven Wilson and his companions offered us, a musical and visual experience out of time that proves if it was still necessary that they are completely in control when it comes to progressive rock. I hope the rest of their story will be as beautiful as the first part was!
We are so happy to see the great return of Porcupine Tree. The band, who definitely left their mark on the 90s and 2000s, delivers a new album that is both regressive and terribly modern. After more than 10 years of absence, we find them in a stratospheric concert in Paris and, even if no one can predict the future of the band, we hope that the adventure of Steven Wilson and his band will last for decades!
Whatever Steven Wilson may say, the progressive atmosphere is omnipresent in Porcupine Tree's DNA. But above all, the energy deployed by the trio is breathtaking, right from the bass-drums attack of Harridan: the opening track, sung with a cold voice, and strewn with soaring breaks, owes as much to overdriven fusion as to the most immediate electro-rock. In the aftermath, the melodic brilliance of the very beautiful Of The New Day leaves you breathless. Steven Wilson reminds us here of his ability to write splendid futuristic ballads.