Maverick musician Steven Wilson recently released his fifth prog rock album, presenting ten all-new strummed out pop melodies.
Wilson, a native of the United Kingdom is known for his previous work with Porcupine Tree; in this album, however, he easily establishes his presence, proving that he is no one-time hit, but a force to be reckoned with, along the likes of Prince, David Bowie, Tears for Fears, and Peter Gabriel of the genre, among others. A musician and record producer, Wilson is a solo artist, but worked earlier with band Porcupine Tree as founder, lead guitarist, singer and songwriter, while collaborating with several others which include names such as Opeth, King Crimson, Pendulum, XTC, and Marilion. The self-taught artist has earned critical acclaim for his work, having been nominated four times for the Grammy Awards- thrice as part of a band, and once as a soloist. He has also received three awards at the London progressive Music Awards, and was crowned the 'king of prog rock'. Wilson's work trespasses genres, learning from them, and influencing them as well.
His new album, To the Bone, is an experiment of sorts. The line of songs is bound together with typical, hypnotic beats; the title track is a powerful guitar-laden song, and the rest are catchy, yet meaningful numbers. 'Nowhere Now' is a cheesy song with a serious message about the fate of the human race, while 'Pariah' which was performed in collaboration with featured vocalist Ninet Tayeb, is goosebump-giving, waxing eloquent about social media and abandonment, yet talking about starting over as well.
'The Same Asylum as Before' is a fun number, with the guitars stringing on for a single, and the album, at this point depicts the versatility that it was prepared with. 'Refuge' is a dark, psychedelic rock piece, while 'Permanating' is a funky disco number that brings to one's mind ABBA's tunes. 'Blank Tapes', which follows next, is a dreamy song, almost like a sonorous interlude before the album dips into dark places once again, with 'People Who Eat Darkness' and 'Song of I', both of which stay stuck in the mind long after the song is done. 'Detonation', which follows next is a nine-minute-long song, which seems to be a reminder of the time that the artist spent for Porcupine Tree. The list ends with 'Song of Unborn', a heavy, consoling tune about making a mark in one's life.
Steven Wilson has masterfully played around with genres in To the Bone, blurring boundaries between progressive and pop. That may sound self-contradictory, but the final result is a morbid, yet intelligent prog-rock record that almost becomes pop.