For years now, fans of Porcupine Tree have been begging for a new album. After the release of 2009’s “The Incident,” band leader Steven Wilson embarked on a very successful solo career. It seemed he no longer needed Porcupine Tree, nor was interested in revisiting his past. But after 2 very poppy albums (both were pretty terrible, in my opinion), Wilson surprised everyone by reforming Porcupine Tree, albeit without bassist Colin Edwin. There’s been no explanation for his absence as of yet.
The remaining trio of Wilson, drummer Gavin Harrison and keyboardist Richard Barberi formed an company called “Porcupine Three Limited” earlier in 2021 which led people to speculate the reason for it. Then the band started up all their social media accounts and before long we had a new song “Harridan” released on November 1, 2021. It was official! A second single “Of the New Day” was released on March 8th. And the full album “Closure/Continuation” is coming out on June 24th.
Prior to hearing “Harridan,” I was definitely concerned that Wilson’s song writing might not be up for the task since I hated the songs (not the style) of his last 2 solo albums. But “Harridan” was a Deadwing-era sounding STOMPER! I was very excited and that continued with the more mellow “Of the New Day.” The mix of styles and textures on “Closure/Continuation” not only brings in “Deadwing” and “Fear of a Blank Planet” but many tracks, including “Of the New Day,” would not sound out of place on “Hand.Cannot.Erase.” which has always felt very PT to me. Wilson actually takes over on bass, in addition to guitar and vocals making this very much a “And Then There Were Three” type project.
After the first two tracks, the great songs keep going with “Rats Return.” The song has some of those angular riffs and moody keys that Porcupine Tree were/are known for. GREAT SONG! The range of the album is clear when you compare the next two tracks. “Dignity” is very melodic and would not sound out of place on “HCE” while “Herd Culling” has some of the thickest riffs that PT have done which is reminiscent of “In Absentia” or “Deadwing.”
“Walk The Plank” has that odd etereal sound that was heard in the past on “Gravity Eyelids” or “Sleep Together,” though it’s probably stranger than each one. The nearly ten minute “Chimera’s Wreck” has plenty of everything that makes this band amazing, moody as hell, cool riffs and great playing! Another highlight for me is the instrumental “Population Three” which is a clear reference to their new company.
But the key for ALL of these songs are the reference points (even if I am overdoing that). Rather it’s that these are GREAT songs with a ton of tension, hooks and memorable moments. All of those have been seriously lacking for me with regard to Wilson’s solo career of late.
“Closure/Continuation” is the album Porcupine Tree fans have been waiting for. Period. The only question is, is this a closure or a continuation? If this winds up being the actual end for this band, they have gone out on top. Part of the problem for me was always that “The Incident” was good but not truly great. I felt they needed a masterpiece to end on. This is definitely a masterpiece, I just hope it truly isn’t the last one.
2. Of The New Day
3. Rats Return
5. Herd Culling
6. Walk The Plank
7. Chimera’s Wreck
8. Population Three * †
9. Never Have * †
10.Love In The Past Tense †
* Limited Audiophile Deluxe LP
† Limited Audiophile Deluxe CD
Label: Music For Nations/Megaforce Records
Release Date: June 24, 2022