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Steven Wilson - 4  CD (album) cover

4

Steven Wilson

 

Crossover Prog

3.55 | 408 ratings

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Porcupineapple
3 stars Having read in a review, how high anyone's expectations should be before listening to any EP from Wilson, I right away told myself that I could not agree more. Why? Well, Nil recurring, for one, is not just the best EP I have ever heard but is also an amazing prog rock journey through everything I enjoy this genre for, even though these are only "leftovers". And let me not even get started on the second cd of The Incident (which is, not admittedly, but also an EP I am sure). So, since Hand cannot erase is so far the peak of Steven Wilson's solo career (anyone cares to disagree please PM me:), it is no surprise that before listening to 4 ½ I had my expectations high as the sky. Unfortunately, it did not deliver.

The opening track, which is probably supposed to sell the album for us, has a decent length that should be enough to surprise the listener, yet it's exactly what it fails to do. It is not a bad song though: it has some catchy moments, a nice flow through melodic parts but also pieces that let these musicians really show their chops, but overall it just does not stand out. And I certainly see how it did not find its place on the LP itself too, for a kick-off of this EP it is not bad though. Year of the plague is ok again, and although it is not more than a fill between the first and the third song, it gets the job done with its catchy melodies thanks to some beautiful violins. Happiness III then is a decent leftover from the pop part of the LP, which means it is catchy as hell, I must admit, even if this is probably not the kind of thing we love Wilson the most for. My problem is that after these songs not much is left on the album, which is worth mentioning, at least in light of how high Wilson's grasp reaches with whatever he does recently. Sunday rain sets in reminds me of the second song of the album but its ideas are much less powerful. Vermillioncore is a bad-ass song, and whilst it comes across great when played live, listening to it on the cd it I have a feeling that Wilson just wanted to reach back to his more progressive side for a second, whilst in fact being rather tired of this genre, which shows in the end result. The main riff relies on the bass player's talent (rightly so) and is a strong one, but it is being repeated throughought the song too much, with not much happening in between. And then as I get to the closing track, I am hoping for something amazing to balance out the minor mistakes of the rest of the album, but instead I get an average and pointless re-working of a Porcupine tree song, which on top of it never even was my favourite. The choice to pick Don't hate me is therefore not obvious, although I have to say that Nina Tayeb's guest vocals certainly jazz it up, but what Steven Wilson is trying to do in between to extend the previous version of the song just lacks its point for me. And unfortunately the live version (when played without Nina and without the trumpets) is even weaker, slowing the whole show down so much that each time I see it live I nearly fall asleep. And looking at how I am not amazed by the other songs also, this closing leaves me disappointed.

But then again, 4 ½ is a decent work, it's just when I look how it comes from one of the most talented progrock musicians of our days, being able to sell even an EP like hot cakes, I am let down. He cannot amaze us with each and every work of his though, so it is an okay listen for the time being, something to hold on to as he is charging his batteries to hopefully blow us away with his fifth album again, out late next year if all goes well.

Porcupineapple | 3/5 |

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