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Burnt Belief: Etymology

Porcupine Tree man’s sleek, fusion-friendly second album.

The upside to Porcupine Tree’s ongoing hiatus is that bassist Colin Edwin has placed his nimble fingers into lots of musical pies: live work with Henry Fool and Obake; recording projects such as Twinscapes; and here, renewing his partnership with American guitarist Jon Durant.

Their 2012 self-titled debut posited a lithesome fusion-style sound that drew upon electronica, ambient and world music. As good as that was, this follow-up offers more bite and presence. This can be attributed in part to Durant and Edwin’s decision to use real drummers, rather than relying on electronically driven beats, and also to the greater compositional depth and focus here. Forthright playing from Durant encompasses daring Allan Holdsworth-style leaps between chordal twists and turns, as well as breathy trumpet-like wisps across twinkling harmonics and drifting electronic storm clouds. Edwin at times channels an Eberhard Weber-like silkiness via fretless bass, and the thoughtful duet Hover, fuelled by his melodic upright bass, quietly steals the show. Strong tunes coupled with a welcome lack of showy technique provide an unfussy, showboating-free set that rewards repeated listening.

Sid Smith
Sid Smith

Sid's feature articles and reviews have appeared in numerous publications including Prog, Classic Rock, Record Collector, Q, Mojo and Uncut. A full-time freelance writer with hundreds of sleevenotes and essays for both indie and major record labels to his credit, his book, In The Court Of King Crimson, an acclaimed biography of King Crimson, was substantially revised and expanded in 2019 to coincide with the band’s 50th Anniversary. Alongside appearances on radio and TV, he has lectured on jazz and progressive music in the UK and Europe.  

A resident of Whitley Bay in north-east England, he spends far too much time posting photographs of LPs he's listening to on Twitter and Facebook.