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Schoolyard Ghosts

Review by Gary Hill

Porcupine Tree’s Steve Wilson is half of this outfit. In many ways the music is similar to the output of that group. There is a certain dark and elegant air about all of Wilson’s projects. There is also a certain attachment to the sedate. All of these things work together to make this an album that is a little on the monolithic side. That said, it’s pretty and packed with so many cool sounds and textures that it only matters so much. In other words, this is a disc that will certainly please Wilson’s fans. Those looking for a first sample of the man would be better advised to check out Blackfield or Porcupine Tree first and make their way gradually to this world. There are two CD’s in this set, but they include the same music. The second disc is 5.1 surround mixed and has some videos included.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2008  Volume 4 at

Track by Track Review
All Sweet Things
This is a delicate and beautiful song that, rightly so, feels quite a bit like Porcupine Tree.
Beautiful Songs You Should Know
The opener was very much keyboard oriented. This is more attached to acoustic guitar. There are some classical strings in the mix and overall this is a pretty and moody ballad. It becomes a lot more lush as it carries on.

Pigeon Drummer
This alternates hard edged King Crimson like jamming with extremely sedate textural verses. It is very dark. There is a wonderful, yet rather creepy, mellow section on this one. It has a very Goth texture and is simply incredible.
Far mellower and more intricate, this is a melancholy but still quite beautiful balladic piece. It shifts to a spacey sort of jam mid track. There is another instrumental section further down the road that’s quite nice and a more melodic moving portion late in the track adds more dimension. At almost thirteen minutes in length this is the longest track on the CD. It’s also my favorite.
Wherever There Is Light
An extremely slow moving piece, this is quite beautiful and somehow has an air of familiarity. It’s also got some hints of country music at times.

Song Of The Surf
This doesn’t vary dramatically from the previous piece. It’s another pretty and sedate balladic number. It does rise up later with some louder sections, though.
More rhythmic than some of the other stuff here, this is mellow and slow moving, nonetheless.
This thing is so slow it almost runs backwards. To me it has a lot in common with ultraslow doom metal – of course minus the metal part.

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