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Steven Wilson - 4  CD (album) cover

4

Steven Wilson

 

Crossover Prog

3.52 | 609 ratings

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Corcoranw687
3 stars I remember cautiously getting excited for this release despite it's short length, which is somewhat comical now as his 2020 full length album appears to have a runtime of 39:42, just 3 minutes longer than this "mini album". However it contains mostly outtakes and a recording of a Porcupine Tree song, and I wasn't sure what to expect. I remember listening and being disappointed, and not giving it much a chance after that. So, with nothing but free time for a few weeks, I am going back to albums I didn't give a chance to. I've heard it said that Wilson's demos are the quality some people release as final products, but this recording is a bit different as we have some live recordings as well. The opening and closing tracks were recorded on tour in 2015 and touched up in studio, and I wouldn't have known the difference.

The best song is opening track 'My Book of Regrets', beginning like a standard pop track as bits of strong musicianship begin to pop out bit by bit. Nick Beggs takes a minute to shine as always, and we have a wild solo from Dave Kilminster, followed by the best riff on the album. The band slows it down here, we get a second guitar solo undoubtedly from Steven this time, before returning to the beginning section. This could be one of my favourites from the entire SW catalogue, truly accessible prog. We follow with a dreary outtake from 'Raven', this would have worked as part of a larger song for sure but I understand why it wasn't included. It reminds me more of 'Grace for Drowning' than 'Raven' as well. 'Happiness III' has an interesting chorus and a brief appearance from Guthrie Govan (his only one on this collection) and a very curious vocal from Wilson in some verses, you'll know it when you hear it. 'Sunday Rain Sets In' is a much better instrumental, going through several moods and sections. Spacey, jazzy and slow in a way that doesn't get boring, featuring Theo Travis' flute in that incredible ambient way, this was a major surprise for me when revisiting. 'Vermillioncore' gives off Porcupine Tree vibes as well, and is more designed for live performance as the visual of Beggs on the Stick and Wilson on bass jamming this out is a sight. Our riff gets some guitar doubling it before a keyboard showcase for much of the third minute. Finally 'Don't Hate Me', an excellent rendition instrumentally, although I find Ninet singing the chorus to be a bit awkward honestly. I never liked the lyrics to this song and is kind of funny to hear someone different sing them. Instrumentally it's superior to the studio recording(not quite the awesome live version with Gavin Harrison however), I love the middle and Theo's solo as always. Adam Holzman also kills it here, a much stronger and jazzier solo(I believe I read once that Richard Barbeiri hates jazz). This was much better than I recall, I bet I was upset and would have given this 2 stars on release but it's 3.5 stars today

Corcoranw687 | 3/5 |

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