In Vacuum pulls off a neat trick.
While sounding fresh and contemporary, it also weaves in threads of 90s alt-rock, grunge, prog-metal and symphonic rock, with the strains of a Hammond or mellotron never too far away, all while retaining Profuna Ocean’s own strong identity. The Dutch band are nothing if not upfront about their influences – it’s not hard to hear bits of Porcupine Tree or The Pineapple Thief infiltrating many tracks here. In fact, singer Raoul Potters could quite happily stand in for Mr Wilson at a pinch if his performances on the lovely Ghost and funky Hanging In The Balance are anything to go by. The variety here is impressive, as is the band’s use of all the tools at their disposal – shifts in pace, harmony vocals, different guitar sounds, tasteful soloing and deceptively tricky drum parts – in a sensitive and considered fashion. They kick some serious butt on Beautiful Sunrise and in the latter stages of Hanging In The Balance, and just as easily conjure up dreamlike visions on the all-too-brief cinematic title track. Highly recommended for Porcupine Tree fans and those keen on music that doesn’t ape the past but instead cleverly channels it.