(All Album Reviews by Ursula)
PO90° is more a phenomenon than a band having had a history that could have been thought up by Douglas Adams (got all to do with garden sheds and sudden emigration, don't ask!). That might be one explanation for the versatility in their styles. The other is more complicated.
Firmly rooted in British culture - they even don't stop at M&S - and in British conventional progressive rock, PO90° makes generous use of other band's contemporary, and not so contemporary, musical language to the point where one could be inclined to think: 'Hey, that sounds li...' ,but that is as far as it goes. By juxtaposing the most unlikely styles and genres (think blues, punk, metal, Brit pop, electronic etc.) interwoven into flowing musical arrangements the effect is rather enticing to the degree of delightfulness.
Adding to all this eclectic-ness is the fact that this double album is a compilation comprising songs recorded between 1996 and 2001 and three previously unreleased pieces from 2002. The trouble with compilations is that songs are presented out with their context, be it time-wise or album-wise. That can lead to a 'Ewwh, don't do that again' effect. Though songs triggering this effect were rather rare and repeated listening actually could counteract this. What's more, the 'That's so hot, hot, hot' effect outdoes anything irritating by far.
The liner notes are illuminating, once you've got over that Douglas Adams part:
We were a band who believed passionately that progressive rock music belonged into the modern world, that it could be ripe, challenging, alert and relevant to today's times.
Andy Tillison nailed it there. More than any other album A Can of Worms manages the balancing act between the niche dwelling progressive rock and more popular genres, not redefining prog-rock, like the not wanting to be new prog bands ( Porcupine Tree, Muse or Radiohead ) but rather filling the large gap between the genres linking what appeared otherwise mutually exclusive.
With that many facets, this album is a beautifully shaped, CD collection enhancing gem.