Steven Wilson – The Raven That Refused To Sing (And Other Stories) by Andrew May

Rating: 5/5
Distributor/label: Kscope
Released: 25/02/13

Band line-up:
Steven Wilson – Vocals, Mellotron, Keyboards, Guitar, Bass
Nick Beggs – Bass, Chapman Stick, Backing Vocals
Guthrie Govan – Lead Guitar
Adam Holzman – Fender Rhodes, Hammond Organ, Piano, Minimoog
Marco Minemann – Drums, Percussion
Theo Travis – Flute, Saxophone, Clarinet

Tracklisting:
1. Luminol
2. Drive Home
3. The Holy Drinker
4. The Pin Drop
5. The Watchmaker
6. The Raven that Refused to Sing

Review:
The evolution of music is a wonderful thing. We can all cast our minds back as far as we like to ponder the dawn of certain elements of the music we love today, and we can throw our thoughts forward to imagine what music awaits us in years to come. However, as much as I have done so, I never anticipated hearing anything like what I have heard in the last few days. As an all time Steven Wilson admirer, my excitement for his new release, The Raven that Refused to Sing, was no great surprise.

What I’ve always loved about Steven Wilson is his consistency which has constantly strolled hand in hand throughout music with is diversity. After ten Porcupine Tree albums and several solo projects, he has remained fresh and new, always impressing the listeners worldwide with his ever so slightly dark and secluded persona.

This latest release is no different, but so different. The Raven that Refused to Sing is, in a word, iconic. Whilst continuing Wilson’s theme of making a sublime collection of music, it is like that of which I have never heard before.

The album is based on six very complex ghost – like stories, each told in such poetic grace to embalm the listener in the most beautiful haze for one to lose themselves. The album mixes what we know and love from Wilson, whilst there is minimal ‘heavy’ elements that we’re all used to, the album offers some genuinely eye opening moments, particularly in Luminol and The Holy Drinker. Having said that, the album has focused on beauty and tragedy. Beautifully produced and amazingly performed, this is definitely one to watch out for.

The first track, Luminol, is a jazz infused funky progressive rock masterpiece, which instantly highlights the musicianship from Wilson’s collaborators. Nick Beggs’ (Kajagoogoo) bass skills are unrivalled with some incredible technique, along with Theo Davis providing some ambient and chilling atmospheric sounds by the medium of woodwind and brass.

Despite Luminol’s genius, the best two moments of the album are the softer songs “Drive Home” and “The Watchmaker” weighing in at 7 minutes and 11 minutes respectively, these tales of small – scale tragedy will leave you shivering with an inner light you never knew was possible.

Wilson also makes us of his darker side, accompanied by that ever so familiar zany sounding keyboard that we were so fond of in The Incident album back in 2009.

With Porcupine Tree rendered as “Inactive”, I think Wilson has found his true calling, and in my honest opinion, this album is what he was born to make. I can honestly say this album is nothing short of absolutely phenomenal and will definitely be up there for the best album of 2013.

Would I buy this album? I couldn’t wait that long. I would recommend this album to anyone who has ever been a fan of Wilson’s and is sceptical of the lack of the Porcupine Tree element, I’d recommend this album to any progressive rock fans, young and old. You need this album, truly stunning.

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