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Steven Wilson - To the Bone CD (album) cover


Steven Wilson


Crossover Prog

3.61 | 504 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

4 stars Much to my surprise, Steven Wilson pre-released five of the eleven songs from his latest album To The Bone. This appears to have been part of the marketing campaign which seeks to maximise discussion and exposure prior to release. Personally I am not convinced that this has been effective but time will tell.

Sadly there are no songs of the scale and calibre of Luminol or Ancestral from the last two releases and the longest track is just over nine minutes. Unlike the last two albums, this is not a concept album. Wilson describes the album as "progressive pop", something he has never attempted before as he tries to emulate the albums he loved from the 80s which include Peter Gabriel's So and Kate Bush's Hounds Of Love amongst others.

Like other songwriters this year, Wilson has chosen to comment on topical issues such as post truth. However the messages don't come over as strongly as they do on the IT, Roger Waters or The Tangent releases this year.

The album opens with the title track To The Bone. This is a pacey, toe-tapping rocker which is further brightened by an excellent harmonica solo.

Nowhere Now is more melancholic with a minimalistic intro that builds in tempo.

The third track Pariah was an early pre-release. The song is a duet with Ninet Tayeb who sang so wonderfully on HCE. I enjoyed Pariah when I first heard it and I am growing to love it the more I listen to it. It is a beautiful ballad that grows into a wall of sound in its final quarter.

The fourth track, The Same Asylum As Before, was another pre-release and is another rocker with a catchy tune. Wilson initially sings falsetto but then returns to his normal range.

The fifth track, Refuge, was also pre-released and returns to a melancholic theme with an atmospheric introduction that picks up tempo as the drumming develops and intensity builds to a wall of sound like Pariah but returns to a more ambient sound at the close. This track is the highlight of the album. Beautifully crafted.

Permanating is the sixth track and was also pre-released. Wilson describes the song as "what ABBA and the Electric Light Orchestra would sound like if produced by Daft Punk". This is certainly the most up-tempo of all the tracks and is considerably more excitable than say Meantime was when released by Porcupine Tree. Meantime was quite a surprise at the time and this one really did surprise me. Of the pre-releases, I disliked this one the most but now that I hear it on the album I am tolerating it but it will probably be the first to be deleted from the album playlist.

Blank Tapes also features Ninet Tayeb but the song appears less well suited to her vocal range. This is the shortest track on the album at just over two minutes. This is quite a restrained melancholic song but the melody does not stand out for me.

People Who Eat Darkness is another rocker but, as a song, doesn't do a lot for me.

Song Of I was the fifth pre-release from the album. The song uses some interesting pauses to good effect and develops an almost cinematic sound mid-way through.

Detonation is the tenth and longest track at just over nine minutes. This is one of the few tracks where the theme is developed in a way that allows for solos.

The final track is Song Of Unborn which is a more typical Wilson ballad and again uses pauses to interesting effect. A beautiful melody is further enhanced by a choir arrangement in the middle part.

I am one of Steven Wilson's most devoted fans and I admire him for what he is trying to do in progressing his music. Personally I don't feel that he has come anywhere close to the brilliance of Peter Gabriel's So but this is an interesting album with many good songs and I believe is worthy of a four star rating.

CeeJayGee | 4/5 |


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