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Steven Wilson - The Future Bites CD (album) cover


Steven Wilson


Crossover Prog

3.09 | 171 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars When I get an album and start listening to it, I do not stop to think about what particular sub-genre it might belong to in Prog Archives, or whether, in fact, it should be here in the first place. I am slightly old fashioned in that my first thought is; is this any good? Do I like it? Will I like it moving forward after that initial rush of excitement on the first few listens?

The answer to the (as far as the so-called hardcore fan base is concerned) "sellout" electronica pop/rock album that is The Future Bites is yes. I do like it. It is clever conceptually regarding rampant commercialism and its use of technology (Follower is a very clever commentary, as well as including a fantastic guitar riff). Musically, it is as tight as one would expect from a maestro musician. In terms of its sound, it is as polished as one would expect from the man most in demand for remixes on the planet. And in the 10 or so listens thus far, each time I find myself foot-tapping and head-nodding in appreciation at what I am hearing, most definitively on the quite marvellous 12 Things I Forgot, which, perhaps deliberately, reminds one strongly of my favourite Porcupine Tree track, Lazarus.

Elsewhere, we have a guest slot by Elton John on Personal Shopper, an extremely clever exposť of all those utterly inessential "essential" items of shopping we are so addicted to, showing if nothing else that Sir John has a nice sense of irony about himself. The passage where he reels out the list of items is a dreamy sequence in stark contrast to the relentlessly upbeat opening themes, and this continues before the corporate electronica reasserts itself.

Most of the music here is beat driven and electronically upbeat, and certainly a massive contrast to the relentless, if brilliant, gloom of Hand. Cannot. Erase, although there are a couple of tracks which can be identified as natural progressions from that album in their melancholy, namely Man of the People and Count of Unease.

All in all, I admire this album and the driving force behind it. Wilson is progressing, and taking his musical vision to places he wants them to go, rather than the somewhat obsessive minority who demand a repeat of In Absentia every time he records something.

In closing, I might also add that this album reminds me quite a bit of that period in the early 1980's when every "proper" Genesis fan decried the commerciality of ATTWT and Duke, and wanted Collins strung up after the massive success of Face Value. Let me tell you something. There are a great many people about now who love a lot of the music we hold dear on this site because of the accessibility of those albums, and others such as 90125. They listened, and thought, "this ain't half bad", and explored further.

Steven Wilson is a man who I think is becoming more and more like the man he obviously holds in the highest regard (and it is reciprocated), namely one Robert Fripp, an artist and leader who spent an entire 50+ career reinventing himself and his music.

I for one look forward very much to the next instalment of Wilson's journey, because The Future Bites is an excellent album those with an open mind to class pop/prog/rock will take a great deal of enjoyment from.

And you know what? As much of a masterpiece I regard aforementioned Hand....this one will be on the deck quite a bit more often, even if it is as background whilst I work. Yep. Accessible. Easy to listen to, but still oozing intelligence in every note and word. That will do for me.

lazland | 4/5 |


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