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Steven Wilson - Grace for Drowning CD (album) cover

GRACE FOR DROWNING

Steven Wilson

 

Crossover Prog

4.20 | 1153 ratings

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JackFloyd
3 stars I really respect Steven Wilson, his work as a producer and sound engineer remixing classic albums like Tull's Aqualung and KC's In The Court Of The Crimson King, Red and the (I hope) upcoming Larks' Tongues In Aspic with a 'fan' and even somewhat audiophile approach is something I'm very grateful he has done, specially regarding these records' status among their lovers and the amount of criticism and hatred a perceived failure when acknowledging these works causes most of the time. But as a musician, he has always failed to convince me, no matter how much I tried to give myself time to listen to his works with Porcupine Tree, solo and the side projects.

Grace For Drowning has been much praised almost as soon as it came out, and I acquired my copy of it since that time. From then on, I have been giving many chances, yet, somehow, nothing ever strikes me as something I particularly like a lot, a part here, a song there and that's about it. Sure, everything is very well written, with a lot of care taken and even the production, a thing that has always suffered in the past and carries on suffering even more in the present, is stellar, crystal clear, perfect, however, the whole falls short and I'm left wondering if I'm really engaged in active listening.

Obviously I am, since I can remember it's passages, but during the course of this double album, the only part I really 'get' is Wilson's love for his favourite bands, and this is what spoils it for me: sometimes it sounds he is simply trying to bring Lizard or any other prog record he has a fascination for into the environment he would like to work with, emulating them all the way and forgetting to be himself, whatever his ways are. Another issue, in my view, is Steve Wilson's voice: I complain about it in the same way I complain about the voices of Camel's members, it lacks punch, it lacks dynamics, it lacks intonation, sometimes, dare I say, it sounds even too polite, almost as if he didn't want to offend anybody ear canals. The lyrics don't help as well, sometimes they are too pretensious (as much as I hate to use this word) and sometimes they sound too simplistic, it is as if the middle ground was difficult to reach, this is mostly evident on "Deform To Form A Star".

I'm very much into "Dark Prog", not surprisingly the only passages (not songs, mind you) from Grace For Drowning I really like are to be found within this context, most specially on "The Sectarian", but even then, sometimes it seems to run for too long or ending with no real climax.

Grace For Drowning is a good record, but it didn't deserve the hype it received. Maybe it's because it has so many talented special guests, maybe it's because Wilson is a well-known prog lover and maybe it's because he's really talented, all of the previous is true, yet, Grace For Drowning is not, for me, a masterpiece.

JackFloyd | 3/5 |

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