Steven Wilson – 4 ½ (Kscope, 2016)
Steven Wilson is welcoming the New Year with a half album of pieces that serve as an appetizer until he releases his next project.
This recording reflect the various musical influences absorbed by Wilson throughout the years. The album opens with a long piece titled “My Book of Regrets”. It’s a little deceptive as it begins sounding like pop-rock. Thankfully, around three minutes into the track, Wilson kicks in fiery progressive rock with a fabulous instrumental section featuring a fabulous guitar solo by David Kilminster and Adam Holzman’s knockout keyboard work. This is followed by a beautiful laid back dreamy symphonic rock section highlighting Wilson’s vocals and guitar and Nick Beggs notable bass lines.
The second composition on the album is a Year of the Plague (4.15), a charming instrumental recorded during the sessions for “The Raven that refused to Sing”. Wilson plays a wide-range of real and sampled instruments, accompanied by Holzman’s piano.
Track 3, “Happiness III” is a straight ahead classic rock song.
On the mesmerizing instrumental “Sunday Rain Sets In”, track 4, Wilson delivers a masterful mix of guitars, keyboards and that breaks out into powerful instrumental outbursts.
On “Vermillioncore” the band goes into high energy jazz-rock fusion and hard rock mode with some fine space rock moments.
The last track is a new version of the Porcupine Tree song “Don’t Hate Me.” It’s one of the best pieces on the album with captivating interplay between Wilson‘s male vocals and female vocals by Ninet Tayeb. There is also a memorable Fender Rhodes electric piano solo by Adam Holzman and spellbinding ambient keyboard atmospheres.
Buy 4 ½ in North America
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