Let’s try some non-metal on for size, shall we? If you can’t handle music without the crushing guitars of TRVE METAL, then just circle back here for tomorrow’s post. Because, in this house, we celebrate anything and everything Steven Wilson.
Look, I miss the fuck out of Porcupine Tree. I’m sure I’m not alone. But, I think the window of Wilson circling back to the Tree at this point is ever decreasing (even though Richard Barbieri makes an appearance on one song on the new album). It feels as though he’s really feeling his creative oats out on his own and not being tied down to just the same set of four musicians. He’s also really stretching his legs far away from anything remotely close to resembling metal. There were some of the later Porcupine Tree and early solo releases that could easily be seen as metal. Those days feel a long time ago. I remember getting to see him on the Hand.Cannot.Erase tour and it was right after Prince and David Bowie had passed away. In between songs, he went on a long rant about how courageous he felt both of those guys had been during their careers even when they were at the height of their popularity. He said the biggest thing missing in pop music today was the courage to take chances. It feels as though this album is in line with Wilson making a courageous stand.
This latest album is even a further step into the realm of pop and electronica that Wilson has been edging toward since he started his solo leap. This album feels like the transformation is complete. And that’s not a bag on the album at all. It’s just a bit of an adjustment coming at it from a metal background. The songwriting and lyrical content are still top notch all the way through just as you would expect. Musically, this one is bright and crisp and is heavily driven by keys and programming. There is rarely a guitar to be heard on this one. The lyrical content matches the slick style of the musical presentation in that is is tackling capitalist consumerism and influencer society and the smarmy nature of our popular culture. It’s an indictment, but it’s one you can dance to.
While not my normal cup of tea musically, it’s one that I find I can’t get out of my head. I feel that speaks to the quality of the songwriting. Look, we need to just face it. Wilson is just a fucking musical genius. I will follow this guy wherever he decides to go.
4 flip flops out of 5