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Steven Wilson - 4  CD (album) cover

4

Steven Wilson

 

Crossover Prog

3.54 | 407 ratings

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TheWall7
4 stars Steven Wilson's new EP, "4 1/2", is finally here. Referred to as a 'mini album', this record had to live up to almost impossible expectations set by Wilson's fan base after "Hand. Cannot. Erase", his latest masterpiece. The question is, did it live up? Not exactly, but it it's definitely great in its own right. It's no HCE, and it doesn't try to be.

The album starts out with a piece titled "My Book of Regrets", a classic rock song. Complete with riffs reminiscent of Yes's Roundabout, it's my personal favorite of the album. It's an energetic album starter, playing a similar role to "Three Years Older" from HCE. This track is sure to be recognized as one of Wilson's best.

The next song is titled "Year of The Plague". It originated from recording sessions for "The Raven That Refused to Sing", bringing back the haunting beauty of that record. Wilson originally intended to use this for a movie score, and it certainly sounds like one when you keep that in mind.

The next song, 'Happiness III", is a glorified pop song, and a pretty good one at that. It's probably Steven Wilson at his happiest (no pun intended) and his most... commercial. It's not the kind of pop song you'd expect out of Wilson, who's written many melancholic pop songs with Blackfield and Porcupine Tree; it's more of a radio friendly kind of pop.

What follows is the exact opposite of that. "Sunday Rain Sets In" is a very jazzy song that reprises one of the riffs heard in "My Book Of Regrets". It's a great track on its own, reminiscent of his earlier solo stuff. I think it's the only track that wouldn't have fit in with HCE, maybe along with "Year of The Plague".

The next song, "Vermillioncore", is the heaviest track on the album. It's a piece that would've fit in perfectly with any of the more recent "Porcupine Tree" albums. Minneman's drumming is especially impressive in this track. This would highly appeal to you if you're a fan of Steven's heavier work.

Finally, 4 1/2 closes with Porcupine Tree song "Don't Hate Me". Somehow, a song written for the 1999 album "Stupid Dream" fits perfectly 17 years later. Its lyrics somehow fit perfectly with the HCE narrative. I personally prefer this version to the Porcupine Tree version, largely due to Ninet's stunning voice.

Overall, 4 1/2 may have not been as good as previous Wilson releases, but it wasn't meant to be. As long as you're fine with that, you're treated to an album that's excellent in its own right. It's definitely worth a listen (or 6 in my case), and it's an excellent way to start a year that is likely to offer some incredible prog releases. Do enjoy it!

TheWall7 | 4/5 |

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