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Steven Wilson - Hand. Cannot. Erase. CD (album) cover

HAND. CANNOT. ERASE.

Steven Wilson

 

Crossover Prog

4.28 | 1256 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Second Life Syndrome
Prog Reviewer
4 stars Anytime a Steven Wilson album releases, the progressive world goes into a panic. I've lost count of the number of album selfies I've seen in social media since this album released. Well, at least the artwork is stunning and sure to be one of my favorites. Anyways, those that follow me on my prog page The PROG Mind know that I have mixed feelings about this prog legend. Like it or not, Steven Wilson is now a legend, and we honestly might owe him the entirety of the current prog revival. Yet, I don't always connect with his music. After hearing "Hand.Cannot.Erase.", however, I feel I can endorse this new recording from the new face of prog.

This new album is not innovative. It is not some sublime rip-off of 70's prog, like his previous album. No, "Hand.Cannot.Erase." is just Steven Wilson, perhaps even pining about his Porcupine Tree days. You see, this new album avoids the excessive technicality of "The Raven That Refused to Sing" for a straightforward pop rock album that somehow magically winds up being extremely progressive, as opposed to Prog, that is. I've seen some people call this new album "electro rock", though I don''t see the point of the label. There is very little in the way of noticeable electronic sound, so that label seems strange. The album also doesn't seem like a King Crimson or Pink Floyd rip-off, so it's definitely a new sound for Wilson. All in all, "Hand.Cannot.Erase." is very similar to late era Porcupine Tree, only with an elusive pop element that shows itself here and there. I can honestly say that I think this was the best step for Wilson.

Give the PT fans something to chew. Rumors have been flying about a PT reunion, though Wilson denies it. Instead, he's given the fans the next logical PT album, and I salute him for that. The album starts off a bit sluggishly, in my opinion, with good songs like "3 Years Older" and the title track. Honestly, they don't wow me at all, mainly due to the pedestrian feeling they exude. Then the single comes around, "Perfect Life", and the album really takes a turn for the better. I happen to love this single, even though it seems ripped from a Hibernal album, but the album never stops firing on all cylinders from there.

My favorite track, for sure, is "Ancestral", which I deem to be the only 5 star song on the album. Honestly, this track is a monster that builds and builds, adding layers upon layers to the point where only the extremely sensitive will really detect the true genius of the crisscrossing, spiraling movements of guitars and keys. The last two minutes give me goosebumps every time. "Ancestral" is going to be a difficult track to beat this year! The album essentially ends, however, with a great little ballad that will certainly get stuck in your head, and for good reason. "Happy Returns" shows Wilson at his most melodic, and possibly even his catchiest. So, while "Hand.Cannot.Erase." is no masterpiece, it is still a strong showing from an important figure in prog.

Second Life Syndrome | 4/5 |

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