Fear of a Blank Planet, the latest album by Porcupine Tree, was one of the most eagerly awaited new album for me ever since I saw PT live last year when they played some material that would become a part of this album. Over the past one year, I have almost given up on mainstream new music, mostly because of the lack of anything that catches my fancy. I have also been increasingly turned off by the ridiculous lengths the big labels are going to trying to alienate their customers.
Porcupine Tree is more mainstream than ever before, with their new album being on Atlantic Records, but I was still willing to make an exception in this case because I really enjoy PT’s music and I think they deserve the attention that they get. Over the years, Porcupine Tree has moved away from the psychedelic/classic rock genre and have adopted a harder, progressive sound. FOABP continues where Deadwing left off. I have to say that FOABP was a harder sell for me than Deadwing was. The album lacks the elaborate rhythmic sections and instrumentation found in earlier albums and relies heavily on drums and tight riffs. I did not appreciate the album to begin with, but after hearing a few times, I was hooked on to it. It is good to see that PT does not rest on its previous laurels and continues to reinvent and experiment with new sounds. FOABP only has six tracks, which is a bit of a disappointment because it leaves you wanting for more. However, four of the six tracks run over 7 minutes and the album contains an excellent prog-rock anthem that runs over 17 minutes. The overall theme of the album is about alienation of youth, feeling deserted and being under the influence of TV, game consoles and pills. I saw the video for the title track just a few days after the horrible event at Virginia Tech and the similarity was very spooky.
Overall, I really like FOABP and would rate it as one of the best by Porcupine Tree. If you’re new to Porcupine Tree, I would recommend you to try out In Absentia first, but this albums is definitely worth checking out.
Fear Of A Blank Planet, by Porcupine Tree
US Release Date: April 24, 2007