Steven Wilson
Hand. Cannot. Erase.


5.0
classic

Review

by tef USER (16 Reviews)
September 9th, 2015 | 54 replies


Release Date: 2015 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Wilson's second masterpiece in a row. Proving once and for all that he is one of the most important people in popular music of the last 25 years

Steven Wilson operated as creative leader under the Porcupine Tree flag, playing guitar, singing and composing the lion’s share of the material, until that band fell apart after the all too ambitious but ultimately disappointing album “The Incident” (2009). Being a multitalented musician and composer with an interest in music in the broadest the sense of the word, Wilson continued to release albums in several side projects such as No-Man, Bass Communion and Blackfield but he also increased his remix work, securing a solid position as go-to remixer for acts like King Crimson, Jethro Tull and Gentle Giant.

With “Insurgentes” (2008) he also released his first solo album , a bit unfocussed but definitely enjoyable. Follow up double album “Grace For Drowning” (2011) was dark and moody and was meant as part of a trilogy also consisting of Opeth’s “Heritage” and the Wilson/Akerfeldt collaborative album “Storm Corrosion”. “Grace For Drowning” revealed an interesting new direction/influence in Wilson’s music, namely 70’s progressive rock.

2013’s “The Raven That Refused To Sing” was the first Steven Wilson solo album where everything came together. With a new band, a complete focus on his own song material and old timer Alan Parsons behind the mixing desk, Steven Wilson finally produced his masterpiece.

So what should follow? Since you can’t top a masterpiece, it can only get worse, right?
Wrong!

2015’s “Hand. Cannot. Erase.” is even better.
How so?

Steven Wilson finally found an interesting theme for an album around which he can position his songs and lyrics. The latter not being Wilson’s strongest suit had never been a secret and the idea of a concept album was already successfully explored on “TRTRTS” (and to a lesser extend on PT’s “The Incident” and “Fear Of A Blank Planet”).
However, sticking to a strong concept that’s interesting, mind provoking and contemporary throughout a whole album has proven the key for Wilson to let this album flow effortlessly and interestingly, not losing the listener’s interest one second and ultimately leaving the listener in awe, after the last notes die out

The concept of individualism and loneliness in the modern Western world is addressed on this album by the re-enactment of a real life story of a young woman found dead in her apartment in London. She had been lying there for months without anyone reporting her missing.
Wilson chooses to only focus in on parts of the story, leaving room for some imagination for the listener, although deluxe editions of the album include lots of written material to further fill out the story.

Although the seventies are musically never far away on this album, the references are not so evident as on Wilson’s previous release. The whole album, interestingly, sounds like a long walk through the entire musical career of Wilson.
From pop (Happy Returns, Perfect Life) to 70’s rock (Hand Cannot Erase, Transcience), to prog-rock and metal (Three Years Older, Ancestral). There’s even blurts of ambient and electronica but everything fits together perfectly and more importantly it never feels like he’s outdoing it.

Although the music is sometimes challenging, the band performs the songs with such grace and comfort that it never feels like too much or over the top. Instead adjectives like “brilliant”, “amazing” and “ecstatic” are more in place and on this particular album surprisingly also “emotional”, “sensitive” and “true” spring to mind and that’s something of a first for Wilson, who’s music could sometimes come across as clinical or cerebral (like so many prog artists).
The emotional female vocals halfway through “Routine” or the extreme buildup in “Regret #9”, The Floydian “Transcience” and almost pastoral “Ancestral” are all evenly fine examples of how Wilson finally, successfully connects real emotions to brilliant(-ly performed-) music.
The very strong musicianship and superb sound quality of the album are the final ingredients to this magnificent album that keeps on giving and continues to inspire.

“Hand. Cannot. Erase.” is the finest example to date of the fact that Steven Wilson must be regarded as one of the most important people in popular music in the last 20 years.



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user ratings (1233)
4.1
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Comments:Add a Comment 
tef
September 9th 2015


209 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I know; another one!

I do think this is a classic (unlike the other reviewers). Hence, I needed to write this. This is one of the best albums of the last couple of years and stands close to true classics of the bands we all know IMO

MO
September 9th 2015


24015 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

t/t is pretty damn good from this. hit and miss album all around

Underflow
September 9th 2015


5297 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Found this to be his most ambitious and accomplished release so far, tbh.

RadicalEd
September 9th 2015


9546 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

just. what are you listening to.

Sabrutin
September 9th 2015


9638 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I vastly prefer The Raven. The album is emotional and the concept carefully crafted but replay value is lacking.

emester
September 9th 2015


8271 Comments


Summary made burst out in laughter in the quad. People are looking at me now :/

LotusFlower
September 9th 2015


12000 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I fail to see how someone who does literally nothing to expand the genre they play in makes them "the most important" in years.

RadicalEd
September 9th 2015


9546 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Also this review is atrociously fanboyish.

Underflow
September 9th 2015


5297 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I do love this record, but yeah, saying he's the "most important" is a big stretch.

LotusFlower
September 9th 2015


12000 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Steven Wilson is like the musical embodiment of a museum. Like, sure, it's pretty neat-o to see the progression of music all together on display... but it gets really fucking boring after a while of walking around.

MO
September 9th 2015


24015 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

museums are boring? what? hmmmm

LotusFlower
September 9th 2015


12000 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

A boring museum.

Mythodea
September 9th 2015


7457 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

good review, dude, though I prefer TRTRTS. Might need to finally give this a 4.5.



Anyhow, my only complain, you forgot -when talking about PT's, thus ultimately Wilson's, concep t albums- you CAN'T POSSIBLY FORGET DEADWING!!!

Piglet
September 9th 2015


8474 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

i don't have anything against plain old revivalism, but this guy's music has no soul and when it isn't cheesy, its gay and also cheesy

Gmork89
September 9th 2015


8603 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Completely disagree with that, but I have no problem with cheesiness in this kind of music. In fact I welcome it. Don't think I could call it a 5 though either at this point.

tef
September 9th 2015


209 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I said specifically "one of the most important"

If you don't like his music I understand that it's hard to agree

tef
September 9th 2015


209 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Myth; deadwing I did forget. Was my first introduction to PT, and a great one

tef
September 9th 2015


209 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

RadicalED; it's hard for someone so enthusiastic about an artist not to sound fan boyish



tef
September 9th 2015


209 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Piglet; I think this one of the rare prog releases that does posses a bit of soul, this is also what makes it stand out from the soulless but nonetheless fantastic albums by Yes or Rush that are always labeled as "classics"

LotusFlower
September 9th 2015


12000 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

"If you don't like his music I understand that it's hard to agree"



AHahahahahah





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