In sport they say ‘form is temporary, class is permanent.’ It doesn’t just apply to sport, Steven Wilson is not at the peak moment in his life where everything he writes is good, it is merely who he is; a genius song-crafter and weaver of dreams. “Hand. Cannot. Erase.” is his latest offering to the world, and whilst it is definitely different to his previous stuff, the brighter phrasing sounds like a new breed of intelligently produced pop songs.
‘3 Years Older’ hearkens back to the best to the best years of progressive music, the love-child of Yes and Rush is the first welcomed addition to Wilson‘s latest repertoire. Despite Wilson‘s proficiency as a producer he’s surprisingly restrained himself with the added subtleties in the background, instead it sounds the majority of instruments are performed live. ‘Perfect Life’, the single, is where the added electronic come to prominence.
It may not be as dark and disturbing as his previous work but Wilson still has a penchant for making nostalgic melodies, heavy on reflection. The title track flows like a pop song but the added intelligent of it’s makers is clear, catchy but not draining, instead rewarding. ‘Routine’ displays the best place Wilson conveys emotion through his songs, an emotional duet, echoing Pink Floyd but keeping to it’s own revolutionary sound. What has traded place however is the manic progressive, keyboards vs guitars, ludicrousness, think Dream Theater slightly restrained. ‘3 Years’, ‘Home Invasion’, and ‘Ancestral’ are the best examples of this instrumental mania.
The talking point of this album arguably, much like ‘Raider II’ on “Grace for Drowning“, is the mighty ‘Ancestral’. A huge chunk of the album that gives way to this metamorphosing scope of wonder. ‘Ancestral’ progresses well, building up to, another (see ‘Regret #9’), brilliant guitar solo by Guthrie Govan. Again a testament to the song-writing ability of all involved.
“Hand. Cannot. Erase.” is another shining trophy in Steven Wilson‘s already overflowing cabinet, a phrase echoed every time he releases new material. A man who seemingly does not know how to write bad music. Open your mind if you’re new but if you’re an old friend, sit back and trust in your faithful companion.