Steven Wilson
Hand. Cannot. Erase.


4.5
superb

Review

by Mythodea USER (19 Reviews)
February 27th, 2015 | 79 replies


Release Date: 2015 | Tracklist

Review Summary: I took all of it and threw it on a canvas – what do you think?

The artist's goal is to capture, to crystallize, to frame. The artist's motive is always wanting to captivate a certain emotion, a sentiment thin as a fiber, which disappears as soon as one tries to term it. Never achieving it is what keeps the artist going on and striving with the impracticable. With this album Steven Wilson believes he's managed to take a step further in succeeding creating the sound he had in his mind. His vision is as close to becoming reality as it has ever been. And what this album is, varies between primitive human responses in the white noise of modern life and sweet nostalgia of fresher, naif and wonderful times.

The concept surrounds the everyday routine of a woman, secluded by her own will, in a regressive response to the vast chaos of a modern city. Her feelings for communication have been dwarfed by her fear for what lies beyond her doorstep. In this way Steven Wilson tries to pour his own anxieties for the present into her, to reflect his worldview through his female character, who just doesn't want to copy with it all.

The lyrics are quite autobiographic, a facade of the creator, with hints being covered by cryptic words. They achieve in shaping the characters inner world, giving us a complete image of her psyche. The fact that he chose to create a blog as part of his character's life makes apparent how complete he wanted her to be. We travel on a sentimental roller-coaster from her nostalgic fantasies to her present defensive mechanisms, now and then intertwine crafting a heroine authentic and believable, to whom we can all connect with from time to time.

However, Steven Wilson is not a writer and no matter how beautifully, yet simply, written the lyrics are, what truly matters to the majority of the listeners is, what else, the music. After having released two albums heavily - if not exclusively -( though a bold statement to make for an artist with the encyclopedic knowledge of Steven Wilson) inspired from the 70's progressive rock scene, fans were a bit worried that he'd continue in this direction. This is not the case with Hand. Cannot. Erase. , that showcases a mix of different musical styles, often diametrically opposed, such as pop and progressive rock. While composing music for Hand. Cannot. Erase, Steven Wilson was much driven by his love for Kate Bush's music, which is apparent.

Brit-pop, pop, electronic, easy listening and pop rock are married with rock, progressive rock and even metal. One could find songs based on antithetic philosophies. We are at a point where the first seven tracks have that many differences that this could have been a compilation, rather than an autonomous release!

The band supporting Steven Wilson consists of top musicians only. Guthrie Govan's guitar work shines at songs like ''Regret #9'' and ''Routine''. Marco Minnemann's drumming lifts the songs to higher heights and prevents them from being monotonous (an excellent example would be the title track), while Adam Holzman's contributions with keyboards broaden the album's musical horizon, along with the excellent, whilst humble playing of Nick Beggs. For the admirers of Theo Travis's work, there's not much to seek for, as there was not much need for wind instruments, apart from the eerie additions to ''Ancestral''. Special reference has to be made to the female vocalist taking part, the first one to feature a Steven Wilson album, Ninet Tayeb. She steals the show in Routine, adding emotional weight to an already out of this world song. Either she narrates, sings or screams, one can only ask for more. Shamefully, she is not as much used as she had the potential to be.

What will unexpectedly move you is the packaging, designed to represent the whole life of the character. Birth certificate, diary pages, hand written letters, photographs, press cuttings and many more, create a book of a lifetime, leading us to believe, even subconsciously, that this is more than fiction, more than imagination, more than fairytale. This has happened, the heroine could be living next door, or even inside us. We look at the mirror that the artist has put in front of us, and the image is disturbingly familiar. After we realize this, we'll be able to fully appreciate Steven Wilson's latest work and see what makes it exceptional.



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user ratings (1232)
4.1
excellent
other reviews of this album
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Comments:Add a Comment 
Mythodea
February 27th 2015


7457 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

I hope for constructive criticism. Thanks in advance for every advice.

Veldin
February 27th 2015


5322 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Best song, hands down is "Ancestral".

Mythodea
February 27th 2015


7457 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

Every song has something to give. I especially like the duo Home Invasion/Regret #9

smaugman
February 27th 2015


5457 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Looking forward to this. Arriving monday

Mythodea
February 27th 2015


7457 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

Lucky fella! I would buy it but I'm in dire straits currently. I'll definitely buy it sometime, though.

Tunaboy45
February 27th 2015


18472 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

So excited for Monday now

Faraudo
February 27th 2015


4708 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Probably my favorite SW album.

Veldin
February 27th 2015


5322 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Home Invasion/Regret #9 is definitely my second favorite. So damn good.

Mythodea
February 27th 2015


7457 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

I think it sounds a bit like Vangelis at some point, you know, the keyboard sound, and I fell for it like a sucker.

Davil667
February 27th 2015


4051 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Good work Myth! Just two small things I came across, both in paragraph four:



"However, Steven Wilson in not a writer and no matter how beautifully, yet simply, written the lyrics are, what truly matters to the majority of the listeners is, what else, the music."

Should read "Steven Wilson is not a writer", right?



"This is not the case with Hand. Cannot. Erase,"

As the album's title is Hand. Cannot. Erase. I would insert a full stop after Erase even if it's followed by a comma.



I think the structure of paragraph four as a whole is a bit too complex which destroys the flow a bit, but of course that’s just my opinion ;-) Otherwise a very entertaining read. Each sentence clearly shows how deeply you admire Wilson's work. Your passion is what makes this review worthwhile reading for me, therefore a pos. Despite the star-studded cast the album, however, really does nothing for me.



benkim
February 27th 2015


4813 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Review reads stronger than a 4 but it is well written! Cant wait to get this.

LunaticSoul
February 27th 2015


2406 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

Reads like a 4 (in my scale)



btw aside from that mistake pointed out I really really really don't like your last description of the concept.



'..leading us to believe, even subconsciously, that this is more than fiction, more than imagination, more than fairytale. This could have happened, the heroine could be living next door, or even inside us. We look at the mirror that the artist has put in front of us, and the image is disturbingly familiar. After we realize this, we'll be able to fully appreciate Steven Wilson's latest work and see what makes it exceptional.'



It's not fiction, neither imagination nor a fairytale. Heck, she DEFINITELY dies in the end after writing to her brother and never delivers the letter (nor the gifts, which were found packed in the house by the police three years later).



It is "loosely" (still have to read the whole lyrics) based on a true story which is absolutely not a fairytale: it's a nightmare-ish vision of a world where connection is fictious and human sentiments are lost and forgotten.



I imagine you know the story behind it, so why calling it a 'fairytale'?

tef
February 27th 2015


209 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Can't wait to hear this!

I will try reading another review of the album since this one is hardly comprehensible. Mythodea, I get the idea that english is not your native tongue. Maybe you should try writing a bit less ambitious next time 'round so the reader actually understands what you mean. Sentences like "And what this album is, varies between primitive human responses in the white noise of modern life and sweet nostalgia of fresher, naif and wonderful times" or "The concept surrounds the everyday routine of a woman, secluded by her own will, in a regressive response to the vast chaos of a modern city" just sound like utter bs to me. I stopped reading halfway, sorry...



Mythodea
February 27th 2015


7457 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

I know the story behind this album, I also know it's loosely based on a real person. The reader however, may not. That's what I'm trying to explain. I'm saying that, this story, besides its fictional characteristics, is true and only. One must not think this is just a nightmare he had one night, but the ugly truth. Thus, not a fairytale (i.e. fictional) but rather, quite the opposite.



Thank you all for the pos and the good words. Will correct the mistakes asap.

LunaticSoul
February 27th 2015


2406 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

Well, isn't informing the reader one of the main points of a review? :D

KILL
February 27th 2015


81580 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

really good album

bnelso55
February 27th 2015


1447 Comments


Still need to hear this. Is it streaming somewhere?

Titan
February 27th 2015


24966 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

pos'd Myth



im not expecting much though

KILL
February 27th 2015


81580 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

ancestral rules

BigPleb
February 27th 2015


65799 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Interesting. Will jam!



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