Porcupine Tree: Octane Twisted

Prog heroes add an incidental live album to their canon

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A Porcupine Tree live album comes with certain guarantees: the songs are going to be excellent, the performances will be strong, and Steven Wilson isn’t going to allow anything badly recorded to be released.

Octane Twisted passes muster on all those factors. A performance of stellar last album The Incident (and a few older favourites on disc two) recorded in part at their Royal Albert Hall show in 2010, and mainly at The Riviera in Chicago earlier that year, fans will certainly enjoy this.

But it does have its flaws. While it has an atmosphere of its own, it can’t quite take you out of yourself like the live experience – and the original album – does, as the layering loses some of its subtlety, and some the heavier passages’ weight is sapped. In purely musical terms, the masterful studio recording is a more satisfying experience, and the magic of being in the room with the band playing these songs doesn’t translate perfectly.

Octane Twisted, then, ends up as an interesting companion piece, not a perfect crystallisation of a golden moment.