Porcupine Tree, Nils Recurring, a mini 'review'

Nils Recurring is a 4 song mini-cd, made up of music that didn't make the cut for the Fear of A Blank Planet release, but which the band feels was strong enough to release on its own.  After a few listens, these are my admittedly limited comments about the tracks.

'Nils Recurring' is an instrumental that features Robert Fripp as lead guitarist.  Though Fripp is the leader of my favorite band, King Crimson, and he is playing with my second favorite band, Porcupine Tree, this cut doesn't really do much for me.  I mean, it isn't bad, but it isn't really all that interesting.  Fripp does a 'Sailor's Tale' type thing towards the end, sounds like modern King Crimson in most of the rest of it.

'Normal' is awesome.  It is another take at what turned out as 'Sentimental' on FOBP, including the chorus "Sullen and bored the kids stay/And in this way wish away each day."  It has very nice acoustic guitar (though it loses the pretty electric arpeggio) and plays very well.  The lyrics overall don't quite fit the 'teenager' theme, which is probably one of the reasons why it didn't make it (a restraining order isn't something they will have), but overall, this is worth the price by itself.

'Cheating the Polygraph' is okay, but the lyrics referring to suicide bombers on a plane don't do much for me.  Musically, it is okay, nothing really striking.

'What Happens Now?' is apparently the opening number on the current tour (I'm seeing their last show in Atlanta on the 29th) and is a solid piece.  It reminds me of 'Moonloop' type material in spots, with a good driving beat, and a little more hard-core playing towards the end.  It's sort of like a heavy-metal dance track (that probably makes little sense, but it is accurate).

Overall, it's a good piece of work, but not great.  It is interesting that they are playing all the songs (except, unfortunately for 'Normal') on the current tour.  SW has said he considers the EP to be just like a 'normal' release, and so playing the goods on tour (even cutting out two of the songs from FOBP) supports that.

posted on Sunday, October 21, 2007 9:07 PM Print
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