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Steven Wilson - 4  CD (album) cover

4

Steven Wilson

 

Crossover Prog

3.57 | 447 ratings

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LearsFool
3 stars Heading into this album, I didn't know what to expect. People who read lots of PA reviews of Steven Wilson's various projects will know that I am a longtime fan of the man who was massively disappointed by "Hand. Cannot. Erase.", finding it dull and generic, and with the "Transience" combined starter compilation/limited edition vinylhead-superfan-only release, featuring a weakened cover of "Lazarus", I've been very cautious of his non-Bass Communion work, wondering if he's not just running out of ideas on the solo front but perhaps fishing for sterling. On the other hand, this is an outtakes collection of his, which fellow fans know are veritable treasure chests, with Porcupine Tree's "Recordings", culled from the "Stupid Dream" and "Lightbulb Sun" sessions, a must have, and Continuum's "Recyclings" duology extra treats for big fans of BC and Vidna Obmana's drone collaborations. Being apparently drawn mostly from the HCE sessions gave me particular pause, but I decided to try the release anyways. And why not?

Now, there has been disappointment with part of the album. "My Book of Regrets" was particularly bad, just being an extended version of "Regret #9", already one of HCE's worst tracks. With a title like that, I had been expecting some kind of new track or medley of the Regret tracks, not this disguised bonus track. "Happiness III" is itself a cut that would've fit snugly onto that album, with not much to say about it, though I personally prefer it to all but the first two tracks of HCE.

But then there's the happy surprises. Apparently only one track is sourced from the sessions for "The Raven That Refused To Sing", but "Year of The Plague", "Sunday Rain Sets In", and "Vermillioncore" all sound like they could fit perfectly onto that beautiful piece of popcorn prog, and as a big fan of said album this has me over the moon. The first of these is probably the track actually from the "Raven" sessions, a delicate instrumental with guitar and mellotron. "Sunday Rain" is definitely from the HCE sessions, and it wonderfully marries the styles of "The Raven" and HCE, which I'd say shows what was missing from the latter. And "Vermillioncore" takes "The Raven"'s sounds and marries them with PT style rock-unto-metal progressions, making for a thrilling cut. Finally, the PT cover this time around, "Don't Hate Me", while not quite as good to my ears as the original, compares well, again marrying "Raven" and HCE styles, with Ninet Tayeb beautifully singing the chorus.

On its own, this is another great treasure trove for superfans of Swilson. On top of that, I note that I now know what went wrong with HCE, as well as the fact that album five looks better now, since this is a nice release and Wilson has hinted that this release is in a way related to the upcoming one. Also, I'm totally making a mixtape out of "The Raven" and the three Raven-esque tracks from this compilation.

LearsFool | 3/5 |

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