Steven Wilson
Hand. Cannot. Erase.


4.5
superb

Review

by Underflow USER (26 Reviews)
April 19th, 2015 | 23 replies


Release Date: 2015 | Tracklist

Review Summary: For the first time in years, Wilson seems free of King Crimson prog worship, finally stretching creative muscles in ways that audiences haven’t heard in years.

With each new addition to Wilson’s solo discography, the esteemed British rocker edged closer to the brink of burying himself beneath an inescapable mound of nostalgia. The mysterious ambiance of 08’s “Insurgentes” quickly gave way to better, impeccably crafted records, but each progression sent Wilson further back in time until “The Raven…” threatened to drown him in a sea of mellotron and extended jams. Sure, the seventies may have come and gone, but for Wilson, that time never left. The reverence was beyond obvious, almost as if he’d captured the very essence of the decade into a frame, fixated and possessed all at once. “Hand. Cannot. Erase.,” though, marks another story. That frame, once revered like some religious obelisk, seems cast aside, left to collect dust in some darkened corner. For the first time in years, Wilson seems free of that all-consuming obsession, finally stretching creative muscles in ways that audiences haven’t heard in years. Welcome to 2015, Steve.

This isn’t to suggest that the seventies have been abandoned entirely. Rather, that sonic reverence has been refocused into a more nuanced expression in a larger artistic vision. Throughout “Hand. Cannot. Erase.,” Wilson draws from his entire repertoire, bringing ambient, electronica, pop and metal into the larger schematic of the record’s design. These disparate elements coalesce far more effectively than anyone might have imagined. “Ancestral,” the emotional peak of the album, seamlessly welds each of these varied methods together into a perplexingly logical whole. Stuttered electronic beats punctuate the distanced verses, setting a mood of perfect foreboding before the track, minutes later, erupts in a feverish rush of primal force. Wilson may not pen the most creative metallic riffs, but when timed to such perfection the effect is staggering. None of this craftsmanship would matter, though, without a solid production to bring the intricacies of Wilson’s music to life.

Fortunately, the Britain’s talent for sound engineering isn’t lost on “Hand. Cannot. Erase.” The record’s fourth cut, “Perfect Life,” exemplifies this knack for exceptional production as the mechanical rhythms give way to the track’s first verse and Wilson’s vocals pierce the ambience with chilling effect. It’s a rare moment when the audience not only hears the artist’s voice, but feels it, too – like a palpable presence emerging from the speakers. “Routine,” undoubtedly one of the album’s highlights, wouldn’t carry such weight without the spacious mix allowing the acoustic guitars, violins, keyboard and percussion each its own room to breathe in crowded company. Here, Wilson’s talents as a songwriter and aural mechanic work in tandem to bring the ambitious recording to life.

And, really, if one word could summarize Wilson’s latest offering, ambitious just might be the one. As the album winds through its tale of isolation, loss and love in the metropolitan jungles of fast-lane life, it becomes increasingly obvious that this isn’t just an important album: it’s a critical one. “Hand. Cannot. Erase.” tells a story that’s vital to so many of us. Track after track, it only becomes easier to imagine the frenzied rush through the swarm of silhouettes, blank faces immediately forgotten against the insanity of the bustling streets. It’s rare for a record to even conjure an emotional response like this, and its rarer still for that record to linger afterwards and demand further investment. Unfortunately, given Wilson’s penchant for the underground, mainstream recognition just isn’t in the cards - no matter how deserved it may be. But, we can dream. We can always lose ourselves in that sprawling monstrosity of modern metropolis, captivated, terrified, and dream to disappear.



Recent reviews by this author
Eiffel 65 EuropopThe Rolling Stones Sticky Fingers
Scale the Summit In a World of FearThe Stargazer's Assistant Remoteness Of Light
Elephant9 Silver MountainDream Theater The Astonishing
user ratings (1233)
4.1
excellent
other reviews of this album
1 of


Comments:Add a Comment 
Underflow
April 19th 2015


5297 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Originally published: http://georgiastatesignal.com/steven-wilsons-hand-cannot-erase-is-a-stunning-consolidation-of-the-artists/

Also published at my blog: http://tonescratch.com/2015/03/10/review-steven-wilson-reaches-an-artistic-peak-with-hand-cannot-erase/

Ryus
April 19th 2015


37276 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0

solid review, pretty informative

take a pos

Flugmorph
April 19th 2015


34542 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

great album. between a 4 and 4.5 for me but im zealous



pos btw

Underflow
April 19th 2015


5297 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Thank you. Sad to see you didn't enjoy this at all, Ryus. What didn't you like about it?

Gibleson
April 19th 2015


123 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Great review. Probably one of the best albums Steven Wilson has ever done.

Ryus
April 19th 2015


37276 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0

unmemorable instrumental passages, abysmal lyrics, uninspired songwriting



for me this just did absolutely nothing and i found it extremely uninteresting

JamieTwort
April 19th 2015


26988 Comments


A typical Steven Wilson album then?

Underflow
April 19th 2015


5297 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

@Rys: Ah, fair enough.

@Jamie: Oh, you.

Ryus
April 19th 2015


37276 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0

"A typical Steven Wilson album then?"



haha, haven't heard enough PT/solo material but from what i've heard so far, yes ;]

Mongi123
April 19th 2015


22036 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Really nice review dude. Be sure to put those album titles in italics rather than in quotes though. Pos.

Tunaboy45
April 19th 2015


18437 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Great review man, pos.

KILL
April 19th 2015


81580 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

unmemorable instrumental passages


check ancestral

Ryus
April 19th 2015


37276 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0

ancestral was the only decent song here

KILL
April 19th 2015


81580 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

3 years older aint decent? bro do you even rush

TalonsOfFire
Emeritus
April 19th 2015


20969 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

Good review, have a pos

ChoccyPhilly
April 19th 2015


13634 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Ancestral isn't that good. First 5 ttracks is where it's at.

Summary is spot on by the way, nice

Ryus
April 19th 2015


37276 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0

@kill check my ratings man i rush hard

3 years older is really not too great

SharkTooth
April 19th 2015


14922 Comments


"Fortunately, the Britain’s talent for sound engineering isn’t lost on"

*The Briton's

ChoccyPhilly
April 19th 2015


13634 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Mate, the ending for 3 years older is amazing

Underflow
April 20th 2015


5297 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

@Mongi: This was originally published in a newspaper, and our style sheet calls for quotes around album titles. Sometimes I forget when I post my reviews here, so thanks for that.



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2023 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy