Porcupine Tree - "Piano Lessons" CD single
(Snapper/K-scope 1999, SMASCD 103)
From Aural Innovations #8 (October 1999)
Well, there's no mistaking that Steven Wilson likes to provide lots of limited editions and such for the avid music collectors of the world, and so there's no surprise that all PT singles feature non-album tracks. In fact, the 7" version of this single includes a different bonus track from the CD-S, ("Oceans Have No Memory.") Chances are you already know the Piano Lessons single, since it actually gained some radio airplay here in the states. Over the past several months, I've been continually warming to the 'Stupid Dream' album, though PL is still not a favorite of mine. I simply don't care much for the underlying bouncy rhythm... it just seems too frivolous. But I admit that the space-slide guitar bits are trés magnifique. (Oh, by the way, Christine Keeler is the Monica Lewinsky of Britain in case you were wondering.) "Ambulance Chasing" is a two-part instrumental piece, and is the main reason for getting yourself this item. It starts out with a strange percussion jam without much direction, but then morphs into a fantastic space-borne jam, first Richard Barbieri's synths shining brightly, and then Wilson's guitar taking off and doing barrell rolls in the sky. "Wake as Gun" was originally recorded during the 'Signify' sessions, previously released only on the 'Insignificance' fan-club-only cassette. It's a nice little acoustic/vocal number that is not unlike "Nine Cats," fairly simple but still memorable for the way it makes the few chord changes there are really stand out. Alright, I was lucky to find this cool import single on sale, but now I've got to find the new "Stranger By the Minute" single with yet more bonus tracks ("Even Less Part 2," or Neu!'s "Hallogallo" on the 7"). Aggh!!
Reviewed by Keith Henderson