Curiously enough I do find the resulting selection on this double cd quite good and accurate, while there would be 2 or 3 tracks I would add it in (like Shoulder to shoulder from Umbranded, for instance). Overall it seems to me that the tracks for this release were thoughtfully chosen no matter the above mentioned subjectivity.
A very important aspect of this release is the possibility it provides us to listen to some of the never previously released tracks that should have been part of a new album (back in 2002). The booklet accompanying the album is very informative on the reasons for this best-of, as it is about the complete history of the band (in stand-by status for quite a while).
The music of the band has always been challenging and very contemporary. A demonstration that the late 90’s and early 00’s progressive rock produced some real gems and innovative and inventive bands. PO90 has always been influenced by Peter Hammil and VDGG, but it did construct a very personal signature on top of those reminiscences, adding them a sort of “alternative” vibe, a heavier approach and a unique atmosphere that amazingly pin-point incorporated the emotional and sometimes aggressive vocal styling mused by Peter Hammil.
In fact one of the most awkward yet brighten characteristic in this band has always been the capacity of Andy Tillison to sing in a emotionally descriptive way, like he is really feeling deep every word of the lyrics (yet again, just like PH). This is a terrific add-on to the instrumental architectures, already very complex and challenging.
While many times it seems like it is the keyboard playing that is driving the music (and many times it is providing that aggressive touch), there is a sense of melody provided by the guitars that can take the music from harmonically odd to simply ear-friendly in a second and then back to semi-chaotic again.
The music is, therefore, a balanced mix between melody and aggressiveness, between pure and nihilistic. And this is something that PO90 has been perfectly capable of capturing and frame into a colorful sonic painting, filled of subversive aspects and details that constantly take the music in apart directions, like in an emotional maze, a mind labyrinth.
I could never give other recommendation than tell you to go buy this record immediately, especially if you are one of those that like this band but don’t own an original recording. And if you never heard this band but are into modern complex prog that has strong connections to the emotional Hamillesque approach, then really…what are you waiting for???