Steven Wilson – 4 ½ - Album Review

Steven Wilson – 4 ½ - Album Review

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Steven Wilson – 4 ½ - Album Review

Mr Hyper Productive, aka Steven Wilson, pops out another album ahead of his UK (and rest of the world tour) albeit a selection of songs left over from his previous two solo albums along with something older.

The album is called 4 ½ because it is halfway between the highly praised Hand.Cannot.Erase. and his next album which will be due presumably early 2017. At 37 minutes this isn’t exactly a full album either. Once more Wilson has enlisted the help of Lasse Hoile and Carl Glover to photograph and design the albums cover.

My Book Of Regrets opens proceedings and marries classic prog sounds with Wilson's musical style, the influence of Genesis and Rush clearly present in the music. A wonderful lush Moog solo from Adam Holzman, an equally awesome guitar solo from Dave Kilminster and some stunning bass noodling from Nick Beggs which sounds like it was lifted straight from Chris Squire. It makes you wonder why it never made Hand.Cannot.Erase. Likewise, Happiness III is classic Steven Wilson and lyrics that make perfect sense in the narrative that he was providing on the original album

Many of Wilson’s songs swagger in their melancholy and the instrumental piece Sunday Rain Sets In is no exception with its slow jazzy pace and mournful mellotron. Another instrumental in the shape of Vermillioncore is another prog masterpiece with some belting bass playing from Nick Beggs. The piece just rocks and has an understated Moog solo from Holzman too.

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Closing out 4 1/2 is an old Porcupine Tree song, Don’t Hate Me, probably the best piece on 1998’s Stupid Dream album. It has been sonically brought up to date with Wilson’s solo band and recorded live and subsequently overdubbed. What is interesting is the song is now sung as a duet with Ninet Tayeb and it now makes perfect sense, working beautifully as a song of unreturned love from afar.

My Book Of Regrets, Happiness III and Don’t Hate Me are the missing links in the Hand.Cannot.Erase. story which makes this album an essential purchase. And you wont be surprised to read that this release is available in a variety of formats from 180g black plastic for the vinyl junkies to CD/DVD/Blue-Ray and high quality FLAC, and it is available in various editions and 5.1 mixes too.

If you liked the last album you will not be disappointed – buy it!!

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Words: Anthony Firmin

Images: © Lasse Hoile/Carl Glover/Steven Wilson

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