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Steven Wilson - The Raven That Refused To Sing (And Other Stories) CD (album) cover


Steven Wilson


Crossover Prog

4.30 | 1868 ratings

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kev rowland
Special Collaborator
Crossover Prog Team
4 stars If I go through my music collection there are numerous albums by Porcupine Tree, No-Man (even a compilation with a song by No Man Is An Island Except The Isle of Man), Blackfield etc., so it can be said with some confidence that I am no stranger to the music of Steven Wilson, and it could even be argued that I am a fan. I also love many of the albums he has been involved with remastering, so why do I feel so strangely indifferent to this? There is no doubt at all that there are some fine moments on here, and it opens with some superb bass from Nick Beggs (who I like to think of as ex-Iona as opposed to ex-Kajagoogoo), yet for all its' complexity and cleverness it somehow leaves me strangely cold.

As I write this it is the number one album of the year to date according to PMA, yet I would much rather play number 2 (Big Big Train), 4 (Comedy of Errors) or 5 (Riverside), but why? I have puzzled over this and the only conclusion I can come to is that for some reason this feels false. It is as if Steven is writing a prog album because he can, and knows all the buttons to press to ensure that it is raved over by fans and critics alike. There are wonderful harmonies, great swathes of keyboards, flute and mellotron, all being brought together to produce some wonderfully complex yet flowing prog but to my ears it all sounds somewhat contrived. Having read numerous reviews I have found it interesting to see that I am not the only who feels this way, although it is obvious that we are very much in the minority.

What really irks me is that although I haven't enjoyed the album nearly as much as I wanted to, I can't bring myself to award it any less than 4 stars as it is such a clever piece of work. If only it contained a prog heart and soul it could have been so much better; although I am fully aware that most progheads will welcome this with open arms I'm just not one of them.

kev rowland | 4/5 |


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