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John Wesley - Disconnect CD (album) cover


John Wesley


Crossover Prog

3.23 | 44 ratings

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Prog Leviathan
Prog Reviewer
3 stars John Wesley, known mostly to prog fans as a frequent Porcupine Tree collaborator, has created in Disconnect a fine collection of artistic, melancholy, and guitar heavy songs that show off his talents as song writer/singer/guitarist. Highly emotive and electric, Disconnect resonates with angsty melodies and guitar solos; not especially experimental or "prog", but nonetheless soulful and powerful.

In general, we could consider Wesley's songwriting as being a step above pop-rock standards. Songs on Disconnect are typically at the 5 minute mark, with a fair bit of variety. The Porcupine Tree influence is apparent, but this is definitely a Wesley project, and not a Steven Wilson imitation. We're given a range of tempos, dynamics, and moods; sometimes aggressive, other times lush and full.

Thematically Wesley's lyrics on Disconnect are dark, dealing with topics such as the loss of direction in one's life, failing to live up to moral expectations, walking away from those that love us, and nostalgia. Not exactly going to leave you in an upbeat mood, or strike you as being especially well written. The lyrics are fairly conventional; however, Wesley is a great singer, who soulfully sets the mood of the album with his distinct tenor.

Being known for his guitar work with Porcupine Tree, Wesley's playing here may be a key point of interest. In general, he's really good. Disconnect is heavy without being oppressive, electric without being shrill, creative without being pretentious, and emotive without bathos. There is an understatement to the Wesley's playing that gives the songs sort of a hand-crafted feel. On the flip-side, he doesn't dazzle us with virtuosity or complexity. Most of the songs are mid-tempo, and Wesley's soloing has sort of a meandering and bluesy feel. Enjoyable, but not going to grab hold of those coming to the show expecting to be blown away with guitar fireworks. Wesley's backup band compliments the tone of the album well, but the same commentary applies to them as well - there isn't much here that will make prog fans stand up and applaud.

So overall an enjoyable art-rock diversion from a solid singer/songwriter/guitarist. Disconnect will probably appeal to some more than others, especially those who (ironically) connect with the songs' theme of disconnection, though it may find only occasional playing in a prog fan's library.

Songwriting: 3 - Instrumental Performances: 3- Lyrics/Vocals: 3 - Style/Emotion/Replay: 3

Prog Leviathan | 3/5 |


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