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Porcupine Tree - "We Lost the Skyline" (CD/EP)

Porcupine Tree - "We Lost the Skyline" CD/EP cover image

"We Lost the Skyline" track listing:

1. The Sky Moves Sideways
2. Even Less
3. Stars Die
4. Waiting
5. Normal
6. Drown With Me
7. Lazarus
8. Trains

Reviewed by on September 13, 2010

"'We Lost the Skyline' is a raw and brutally honest affair that is something of magic."

Porcupine Tree is a band that, since the mid 90’s, has done no wrong. Sure, everyone has their favorite Porcupine Tree album and the subject of which album is the band’s greatest has sparked endless, heated debates. But since the release of 1996’s “Signify” the U.K. progressive rock act has been refining its sound and discovering who it is. Truly indefinable; Porcupine Tree has a sound that blends rock, metal, psychedelic, orchestral ,and electronica influences together with a unique approach. “We Lost the Skyline” is a semi-acoustic live EP that, for the most part, revisits the band’s earlier years and gives new life to the classic tracks.

Recorded during an intimate in-store performance in Orlando, Florida back in 2007, “We Lost the Skyline” is a raw and brutally honest affair that is something of magic. You rarely get to hear things like this. Porcupine Tree founder, guitarist, and vocalist Steven Wilson is joined by touring guitarist and vocal extraordinaire John Wesley (on backing vocals and electric guitar) for this revealing encounter. Steven Wilson is an absolute musical genius who manages to strip down massively long tracks like “The Sky Moves Sideways,” originally over a half an hour long, into short acoustic passages that still maintain the original intrigue and atmosphere. Not many musicians could accomplish this at such a high level of quality.

“Even Less,” “Stars Die,” and “Drown With Me” are transformed into accessible acoustic compositions without having a negative impact on the original integrity. “Normal” is especially captivating due to the pre-song discussion between Wilson and the extremely small, lively audience, which adds both a sense of humor and warmth to the experience and really makes you feel like you were there.

One flaw with this EP is the combination of the short playing time and the extended moments of intermission banter. While it does work on tracks like “Normal,” and it is nice to hear back stories to the songs, it does take away from the actual length of each track and makes the EP seem so much shorter. Clocking in at just over 33 minutes it feels more like a 20 minute exhibition.

When enjoyed as one continuous listen from start to finish, “We Lost the Skyline” is fantastic and is surprisingly just as good with repeated spins. As individual stand alone tracks only “Lazarus” and “Trains” really fit the mould as there are some aspects to the EP which make it feel incomplete. But for those seeking yet another way to enjoy the wonders of Porcupine Tree those flaws will take a back seat to a great, fun, and adventurous acoustic performance.

Highs: Makes you feel like you were right there, just feet away from Steven Wilson himself.

Lows: The between song talk takes away from the already shortened songs.

Bottom line: Interesting acoustic interpretations of classic Porcupine Tree songs.

Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls
4.5 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)