Steven Wilson
4 1/2


4.0
excellent

Review

by TalonsOfFire STAFF
January 26th, 2016 | 63 replies


Release Date: 2016 | Tracklist

Review Summary: B-sides that more than measure up to the A-sides.

Steven Wilson never lets up with releasing music, every few years punctuated by a new Porcupine Tree album, or these days a solo record or something from any number of his side projects. Last year’s Hand. Cannot. Erase. proved to be one of his stronger releases in the past decade, showcasing an impressive modern edge and increased electronic influence alongside his established progressive rock sound. Aside from the streamlined compositions and gorgeous production, it also displayed a warm, beautifully nostalgic tone. These refreshing qualities continue within 4 ½, with the first few songs originating from those sessions and ending with a few enjoyable experimentations from older Wilson material.

“My Book of Regrets” opens the record with warm guitar chords and climbing bass lines galore, a powerful and adventurous epic measuring up to the best of H.C.E.. Wilson croons of life in England lining in suite with the previous album’s concept. This reveals the mini-LP to be a companion album of sorts (the title is meant to signify a bridge between H.C.E. and the next studio album). The middle portion of 4 ½ is comprised of moody, nostalgic musings that musically hearken strongly to H.C.E.. "Year of the Plague" and "Sunday" are chock full of wistful string arrangements and contemplative guitar arpeggios. Mellotrons and keys swirl into the mix frequently, culminating the album’s first half into a warmly engaging experience wholly worthwhile to those who connected to the haunting and tragic themes of H.C.E..

The most questionable song found here is the closer “Don’t Hate Me.” An alternate version from the original Porcupine Tree track, it features added vocals by Ninet Tayeb, the singer who appeared on "Routine" from H.C.E.. While an interesting listen, it begs the question as to if it really was called for to alter one of Porcupine Tree’s strongest epics. While the female vocals are spirited in their own right, they don't feel completely necessary alongside the minimally changed arrangements. All in all though, 4 ½ continues what made H.C.E. such a worthwhile and emotional listening experience in the best of ways. Anyone curious to hear more meditations in the vein of H.C.E., as well as experience a couple new experimentations, will find much of value in this brief, miniature LP. So soon after the release of his strongest solo outing, Wilson proves once again that he continues to consistently have plenty to offer those who are willing to immerse themselves into his melancholic, psychedelic musical world.



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3.7
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Comments:Add a Comment 
TalonsOfFire
Staff Reviewer
January 26th 2016


16764 Comments

Album Rating: 4.3

I wrote this last week right before my computer needed repairs, just got it back in the mail 30 minutes ago.

The HCE songs really add to the album, anyone who wants more of that sound should be satisfied with these extras.

Digging: Tame Impala - Currents B-Sides & Remixes

Mongi123
Contributing Reviewer
January 26th 2016


18881 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Hey dude nice review! A few things though:



These refreshing qualities and welcome stylistic change



*changes



Wilson croons of life in England lining in suite with the previous album’s concept, revealing this to be a companion album of sorts (the title is meant to signify a bridge between H.C.E. and the next studio album).



I'd separates the sentences at the revealing part. The "revealing this to be a" part sounds a bit awkward.



The middle portion of 4 ½ is comprised of moody, nostalgic musings that musically hearken strongly to H.C.E., with “Year of the Plague” and “Sunday Rain Sets In” chock full of wistful string arrangements and contemplative guitar arpeggiating.



I'd also separate this into two sentences. Maybe "The middle portion of 4 1/2 is comprised of moody, nostalgic musings that musically hearken strongly to HCE. "Year of the Plague" and "Sunday" are chock full of wistful string arrangements and contemplative guitar arpeggios.



Other than that good work.





Calc
Contributing Reviewer
January 26th 2016


15787 Comments



i've always wondered if I should listen to this guy. I always have a sneaking suspicion it'll bore me to death

EvoHavok
January 26th 2016


7236 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Great read, Talons!

Tunaboy45
January 26th 2016


15609 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

@Calc listen to Stupid Dream and Deadwing if you're looking for a starting point.

Digging: Converge - The Dusk in Us

TalonsOfFire
Staff Reviewer
January 26th 2016


16764 Comments

Album Rating: 4.3

Thanks for the kind words everyone, and errors fixed.

Tunaboy45
January 26th 2016


15609 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Good review as always man, Don't Hate Me is just unnecessary and Ninet's vocals don't fit the song but I thoroughly enjoyed everything else. Book Of Regrets would've fit in well on HCE.

SowingSeason
Moderator
January 26th 2016


25033 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

I think in the summary it should be "B-sides that more than measure up to the A-sides" but sweet review overall. I still can't get into his more recent works, other than Raven, which IMO is a borderline classic (probably would be if its influences weren't entirely derivative).

Digging: Brand New - Science Fiction

Mythodea
January 26th 2016


4168 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

''...vein of H.C.E., as well as experience a couple new experimentations as well...''



You might want to change the last two words. Other than that, I agree, good review.

I must be the only one who is truly satisfied with the new version. I adore it more than the original, I dare say...



TalonsOfFire
Staff Reviewer
January 26th 2016


16764 Comments

Album Rating: 4.3

Thanks, fixed. Don't Hate Me remake is fine, but I prefer the original.

Mythodea
January 26th 2016


4168 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

No prob. I think the new version is just tighter. And I love Ninet. Soo....

Notaflower
January 26th 2016


333 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

not a fan of the sound of this album. sounds too polished, and drums need to chill out alot IMO

smaugman
January 26th 2016


4429 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

what do you mean by that nota

TheSpirit
Contributing Reviewer
January 26th 2016


21997 Comments


he doesn't like the production and the drums are too over-excited

PappyMason
January 26th 2016


5702 Comments


This sounds quite interesting.


that measures up to any within the main release of last year.

You may want to look at this sentence again (2nd line of the 2nd paragraph), it reads pretty clunky to me.

smaugman
January 26th 2016


4429 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

yea i understand what he means by production shit, but i dont just get why he thinks the drums are overexited

Toondude10
January 26th 2016


11599 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

still have no way of listening to this online, what the fuck is wrong with you internet?



good review btw

Digging: Face The King - Once More Is All I Am

Mongi123
Contributing Reviewer
January 26th 2016


18881 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Congrats on that feature!

Zeiu
January 26th 2016


210 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Pretty impressed so far. Really dug the first track, jamming out to the 4th now. This is great, why isn't Steven Wilson on Spotify though?



Also, full album's posted all over youtube.

Underflow
January 26th 2016


3833 Comments


Because he thinks Spotify is ruining the world / music in general.



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