Climbing The Charts: Porcupine Tree's Growing Legacy
After a thirteen-year absence, British progressive rock pioneers Porcupine Tree have climbed to the top of the UK charts this week with new album Closure/Continuation, reaching #1 positions on the Vinyl Chart, CD Chart, Physical Chart and Download Chart, plus a triumphant #2 on the UK Albums Chart. At the heart of this success has been a line of audiophile-approved physical editions and variants for sale through the Closure/Continuation TM Store; we take a closer look at the innovative album campaign with some exclusive words from Music For Nations label head Julie Weir.
"Porcupine Tree have always had people who are fans across the board so they wanted to be able to have both offerings for the hi-end audiophile and audio-visual bon viveur, as well as something easily accessible and affordable for a casual listener," Julie reflects on the range of standard and deluxe editions of Closure/Continuation available to fans. "Multiple vinyl formats also reflect the voracious appetite of the PT collector." Such an appetite for the band's music is not limited to the UK; Closure/Continuation hit the #1 Album spot in Germany, The Netherlands and Switzerland, with top ten showings in Finland, Belgium, Italy and Spain.
Comprised of Steven Wilson, Richard Barbieri, and Gavin Harrison, Porcupine Tree last released the Grammy-nominated The Incident in 2009, then went on hiatus following their biggest live show to date at the Royal Albert Hall in October 2010. The band grandly announced their return in November 2021 with the frenetic 8-minute opus 'Harridan', the first taster of Closure/Continuation elegantly encompassing the unique alchemy of these three musicians working together once again. "The combined DNA of the people behind the music meant these tracks were forming what was undeniably, unmistakably, obviously a Porcupine Tree record." reported a statement by the band.
"You’ll hear all of our DNA flowing right through ‘Harridan.'” - Porcupine Tree
After thirteen years away from operating as a unit, it was not just the return to writing music together that the band had to engage with - the brave new world of digital platforms like TikTok means that producing video content is increasingly critical even before release, a process the band were largely unfamiliar with. The Music For Nations team were key in accompanying PT through this new digital landscape and helping to generate some fascinating in-the-studio content culminating in the mini-documentary The Complete AIR Studio Sessions on YouTube.
"This dexterous trio appears delighted to deliver for their core audience to whom what they hope is a new beginning." - Glide Magazine
Reviews of the record have been suitably impressive, with Uncut proclaiming "there’s plenty for prog loyalists to appreciate in the knotty polyrhythms, hopscotching bass and divebombing guitar excursions of tracks such as 'Harridan'”. Clash Magazine consider the record "Boundary Breaking" and Classic Rock regard the release as "an elegant and accomplished treasure from experts in their field."
Even before this hiatus, Porcupine Tree has been an artist noted for their commitment to Super Deluxe album formats, opting to offer DVD-Audio for fans who wanted higher quality audio while providing a lower-priced alternative for those that wanted the basics. It's a fan-centric philosophy that has assured that their hardcore fanbase is motivated to buy directly from the artist. "Selling direct-to-fan is very important to PT as an artist and Music for Nations as a label, so having an entity like Townsend Music supporting the fans is intrinsic to us all. We have a great relationship with the direct-to-fan community and like to think comments, queries and issues are dealt with swiftly and professionally."
"We think the fans are VERY important in general - direct contact is also very important" - Julie Weir
Over on the Closure/Continuation TM Store, the album is available as a seven-track album on Standard CD, Double Vinyl, Exclusive Blue or Silver Vinyl and limited cassette. The Deluxe LP version comes on audiophile-approved crystal clear vinyl as a 3xLP 45rpm box set with two bonus tracks while the Deluxe CD and Blu-ray Box Set comes with three bonus tracks, instrumental versions, and high-resolution 96/24 stereo, and 5.1 and Dolby Atmos versions of the album - all housed, in an exclusive art book.
“Absence does make the heart grow fonder,” Steven Wilson told Music Week in the latest issue, “the legend of the band seems to have grown, to the point that we have more people interested now than at any other time during our previous lifetime.”
"As the band and label, we are massively thankful for your support" - Julie Weir
Julie too has been overwhelmed by the response to the return of Porcupine Tree and the ongoing passion that the fans maintain: "It's an amazing accolade to have had people supporting PT for so long and this is a very special time for all of us" she reflects, "there will always be things happening for the fans moving forward, especially around live gigs." And with that, she has one more favour to ask in return from you, the fans: "If you have stories to share or art ideas, keep us posted as we would love to hear from you... incoming info from all of us very soon." Drop Julie and the MFN team a line via the range of social media accounts linked on the homepage of the Music For Nations Website.