Extinction rebellion

Porcupine Tree – Closure/Continuation

When Steven Wilson put the standard bearers for modern prog rock on the back burner in 2010 to embark on a solo career that included two and a half of the finest albums released by anyone over the past 12 years (followed by two that most definitely weren’t), no one could have anticipated that somewhere down the line there would still be life left in Porcupine Tree.

But here at last is album number 11 and if it turns out to be just a valedictory closing of the band’s career, they will have done it on a high point because Closure/Continuation (which suggests that even Wilson himself is unsure of what the future holds) is a storming piece of work that calls on the dynamics of Anaesthetize and much of 2001’s In Absentia along with the creativity of solo high points Hand Cannot Erase and the 41/2 mini album.

It’s contemporary and unpretentious while still being unashamedly prog in the best way thanks in no small part to Gavin Harrison’s breathtaking polyrhythms, none more so than on opener Harridan, honed to even greater precision by his years as part of the three headed beast of frontline drummers in King Crimson.

These songs began life over the hiatus with social get togethers between Wilson and Harrison that turned into jam sessions with Wilson on bass (hence the absence of Colin Edwin from the line-up). Lockdown afforded the time for these jams to be given structure with keyboards player Richard Barbieri stepping back into the fray and Wilson working on guitar parts and melodies as it became increasingly clear to the trio that there was a new Porcupine Tree album here.

The result is nothing less than a triumph.

Even at 54, Wilson is the enfant terrible of a genre whose senior statesmen are now either well into their seventies and creatively spent or, well, dead.

Whether this is closure or the beginning of a new chapter, Closure/Continuation may just have saved this dinosaur genre from extinction. At least for now.

And not for the first time.

RATING: 9/10


Mick Ferris

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