No-Man
Returning Jesus


4.0
excellent

Review

by OmairSh USER (18 Reviews)
November 8th, 2014 | 19 replies


Release Date: 2001 | Tracklist

Review Summary: No-Man changes its sound yet again while still retaining the mellow foundation that has become a staple of the group’s music.

It’s safe to assume that a large portion of modern progressive rock fans are aware of Steven Wilson in some capacity. He has received plaudits mainly for his work with Porcupine Tree and his solo records, as well as his production work with bands like Opeth. With all the recognition Steven receives its surprising to see the lack of awareness of his other musical project which began simultaneously with Porcupine Tree, and which is arguably his second strongest venture to date.

No-Man is an interesting musical project that has avoided the pigeon-hole dilemma due to its ever evolving musical direction. The band has blended elements of pop, trip hop, jazz, ambient, rock, and numerous other genres into various concoctions over the years very effectively. This genre mixing continues on Returning Jesus with this album being more minimalistic than the experimental Wild Opera. Some of the genres highlighted here include ambient, art rock, and jazz. While the songs have a structure around which flourishes of melodies are sprinkled on, the music surprisingly feels like it has more freedom than the previous album did. The song lengths vary much more than on Wild Opera, and this helps in keeping the music interesting.

There is a considerable focus given towards atmosphere, and immersing the listeners completely in the musical journey. The band wastes no time in this process and begin the album with one of the most beautiful and haunting moments the members have composed. For the majority of the album the music maintains a very mild tempo and the band rarely gets adventurous with regards to time signature changes or quirky ideas like on previous albums. While this makes the music feel slightly stagnant by the end, the variety of sounds and instruments present, including trumpets, percussions, flutes, and the double bass, should keep listeners intrigued. The guest musicians definitely add another dimension to the music and are even the driving force during some song sections.

Tim Bowness’ vocal style took me a while to digest, but from the beginning I couldn’t deny that they had a certain charm. His voice is instantly recognizable, as are his vocal melodies. The almost haunting music style on Returning Jesus is more suited towards Bowness’ cold and eerie vocals. He has this uncanny ability to add interesting vocal lines where the music doesn’t provide him with much to work with, and no song reflects this better than opener “Only Rain”.

For minimalistic and moody albums, the production normally plays a significant role in successfully conveying the albums’ emotions. The group does a terrific job in bringing the instruments to life with the rich and organic production. The impact of the album is enhanced thanks to the sonic vocabulary that is employed in the music. As expected Steven experiments with some refreshing guitar and keyboard tones that I haven’t heard him use before, and all to great effect.

Returning Jesus marks a more significant change in the group’s sound, with the minimalistic and ambient aspects being almost exclusively explored. The results are successful and would lead to the band further expanding on these styles on successive albums. This album is recommended for fans of Steven’s mellower work.



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Chart.
4.1
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
OmairSh
November 8th 2014


11924 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Only Rain: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jv-VgjIz0CM

Returning Jesus: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i-BKvg3Yi6c

Only Rain is hauntingly gorgeous. Its unfortunate that a lot of PT fan haven't even heard No-Man's music.



Titan
November 8th 2014


5776 Comments


Gorgeous review bro

I'll have to check this out, pos'd

OmairSh
November 8th 2014


11924 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Gracias amigo :-).

Check out Only rain, so good

ExplosiveOranges
November 8th 2014


3884 Comments


An Ommy review? Insta-pos.

Digging: Millicent Waffles - Under Dark Blue Blanket

Onirium
November 8th 2014


2388 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Great review, you didn't fail my expectations :p Re-jammed this and the two following albums last night and out of three I'd say this one is my favorite. It has such a wonderful atmosphere and jazz touch. I definitely agree Only Rain is one of their best songs

Digging: Ulver - Perdition City

OmairSh
November 8th 2014


11924 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

@Explosive: Much obliged, now if only I could write as often as you do :-P

@Onirium: Thanks man, yeah its funny how I got the motivation so quickly. All 3 are great but the
atmosphere on Schoolyard is just too damn good. Only Rain is definitely one of their best songs though.

Onirium
November 8th 2014


2388 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yeah, Schoolyard has such a warm and organic vibe, but Stranger does that kind of atmosphere better for me. All great albums though

Tunaboy45
November 8th 2014


3162 Comments


Can I pos a review twice?

Digging: Electric Wizard - Dopethrone

OmairSh
November 8th 2014


11924 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

No you can't unfortunately but I'll make sure the staff start working on that. Thanks Tuna, much appreciated :-)





Jethro42
November 8th 2014


12624 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Listening to the album atm. Interesting as are most of Wilson's works. As for No-Man, I only know Together We're Sranger, beautiful mellow album.

Great review, Omair!

OmairSh
November 8th 2014


11924 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Thanks Jethro! Yeah the album's definitely interesting, it has some gorgeous tones. Hope you enjoy it.

KILL
November 9th 2014


72280 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

rly good stuff but kinda get bored towards the end

Digging: Throwing Muses - Throwing Muses

OmairSh
November 9th 2014


11924 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Yeah its a bit samey, but has some good atmosphere

sonictheplumber
November 9th 2014


4764 Comments


neva listened

Artuma
November 9th 2014


15993 Comments


noreview-man becomes just no-man

Digging: Taake - Stridens hus

Totengott
November 9th 2014


1624 Comments


Great review, pos.

I need to give this a spin.

Digging: Motorpsycho - Behind the Sun

OmairSh
November 9th 2014


11924 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

@Art: Finally someone solves the mystery

@Tot: Thanks man, it's worth checking out if you're in the right mood

Jethro42
November 9th 2014


12624 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

No weak track. An easy 4 from me.

OmairSh
November 9th 2014


11924 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Glad you like it Jethro



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