Artist Name: Steven Wilson
Title Name: The Raven that Refused to Sing and Other Stories
Reviewed by: Fabio Marraccini
Once labelled as the salvation of rock and then a few years later ruled out as self-indulgent and over-the-top, progressive rock is not a genre for the masses, save a few hits here and there from the likes of Pink Floyd, Jethro Tull or other seminal bands. In general, it’s music for the mind, for refined tastes, complex and artsy. And if the whole genre went into a coma after being run over by punk and having its remains re-attached to the body of the new wave monster that emerged in the eighties, it re-emerged in the nineties strong and mighty. While dinosaurs of the past either woke up from hibernation, or dropped aside their flirts with pop and went back to their roots, a few new bands emerged: Porcupine Tree probably the most prominent. The man at the helm, Steven Wilson, is a busy body that now greets us with his third solo release.
And this release is what you would expect: a trip down memory lane for some, a trip through a time machine for others, and except for a few cues from the production of the album, you could swear this was done in the seventies. “Luminol” opens the album jazzy style, with dissonant mellotron and odd tempos, poignant flutes and dreamy melodies, and brilliant vocals. Long and varying in complexity, always keeping that jazzy feel, it shows these guys mean business. “Drive Home” follows and again that feeling that something from the seventies hit the turntable by mistake. Who was this by again? Nope, it’s brand new, genuine, doesn’t sound like a rip-off at all, and at the same time nods to all your preferred prog giants. Shining smooth song.
“The Holy Drinker” is next and keyboards lay the foundation to ominous guitar melodies and broken rhythms, almost like a soundtrack for a suspense movie from around 35 years ago. Might be harder to swallow it at first due to its density, but it is worth the effort. “The Pin Drop” brings back the mellower mood, with pop sounding vocals and embracing melodies. “The Watchmaker” starts as a slow, long acoustic voyage that later lands in planet space rock… so absolutely trippy and beautiful. Title track closes the album and again the sensible ears and talents of a musician that knows where the pot of gold is shines through.
A remarkable album, no surprise. Talent and good taste are abundant here. This release would rub shoulders with gems from any of those giants that inhabited the turntables around forty years ago.
Steven Wilson – The Raven that Refused to Sing